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Dos and Don’ts of Filing a Car, Truck, or Motorcycle Accident Claim
How to Effectively Work with the Insurance Company
If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident of any kind, you’ll want to make sure you maintain open communication with your insurance company. The following are some important tips on what to do, and not to do, throughout the insurance claims process.
- Do call your agent as soon as an accident or injury takes place.
- Do take and keep detailed notes of all conversations with insurance company representatives, including names, phone numbers, and job titles.
- Do consider whether you might have other insurance policies that might cover a claim, such as a homeowner’s policy, an "umbrella" policy, or coverage included with your credit cards.
- Do take pictures, if possible, of damage to your vehicle, the accident scene, and your injuries.
- Do understand the difference between replacement coverage and depreciated or actual cash value. If your policy provides replacement coverage, don't settle a personal property loss for "actual cash value." If you have replacement cost coverage, you may be required to replace the lost items before getting your full reimbursement.
- Do keep all receipts of meals, lodging, and purchases made in connection with time spent pursuing your claim or recovering from your injuries from the time of the covered event until final settlement with your insurance company.
- Don’t give any recorded or written statements to your insurer until you are sure you understand your coverage. Remember, you aren't required to allow the insurance company to record your telephone conversation. If you have doubts, consult an attorney.
- Don’t automatically accept an estimate or appraisal given to you by the insurer.
- Don’t sign any releases or waivers of any kind until you obtain legal advice. Don't accept any check that says "final payment" unless you are ready to do so.
- Don’t ignore time limits set by your policy. Many policies only allow one year from the date of loss to bring legal action. If your claim isn’t settled to your satisfaction after 11 months, consult an attorney immediately. Failure to do so could result in the loss of your right to sue.
If you or a loved one were involved in an automobile, motorcycle, or truck accident, please contact Legally Pink Law today at (888) 979-4941 to schedule a free consultation. You can also fill out our convenient online form and someone from our team will contact you shortly.
Car, motorcycle, and truck accidents account for the majority of personal injury claims in the United States. While minor accidents can be handled directly with your insurer, collisions that cause serious injury and property damage are best handled by an experienced personal injury attorney.
Carolyn Salzmann is one of the top female personal injury attorneys in Orlando, with over a decade of experience, and will be by your side every step of the way.
You are entitled to compensation for the following:
- Past and future medical bills resulting from your injury
- Past and future lost income
- Pain and suffering. This classification of compensation refers to physical pain and emotional suffering. The compensation is based on how your injuries negatively impacted your ability to enjoy your hobbies and other “joys of life” like your job and your family. Usually, this is the largest financial component of a settlement or verdict.
- Injuries resulting in permanent scarring, impairments, and/or other limitations.
In the case of an automobile or motorcycle accident, if the person who is at fault for an accident does not have insurance, then we do three things. First, we run an asset check on the at-fault party to see if he or she has assets that we could possibly seize to cover your damages.
This requires us to file a lawsuit against the individual. Second, we look to see if the defendant's driver owns the vehicle. Sometimes the driver and owner are two different people.
While the driver might not have insurance, the owner may be insured, especially if the vehicle is financed. Third, we do a complete assessment of the client's insurance coverages to see if this individual has Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage.
If that is the case, then we look to the client's insurance coverage to compensate this individual for his or her injuries and damages. This should not cause the client's insurance to go up since he or she is not at fault for the accident.
There are five things you should do immediately after an accident. These include the following steps:
- Call 911 and report the accident. Regardless of the extent of the property damage and how you feel after the collision, you must call 911 and report the accident. If you do not call 911, the insurance company will use this against you when we negotiate the value of your claim.
- Exchange information with all other drivers involved in the accident. Be sure to get the other driver's tag number, license number, and insurance company information. Even if you are waiting for the police to arrive, you still need to start gathering this information. There are unfortunately many situations in which the at-fault driver flees the scene of the accident.
- Investigate. Seek out witnesses and take photos. Even if the other person admits fault, his or her story may change once you file a claim. Witnesses will not wait for the police to arrive, so you need to get their contact information right away. Also, scene and property damage photos can be critical in proving how the accident happened and the forces exerted on your body.
- Seek medical attention. Whether it is at the accident scene or at the hospital, later on, it is essential that you seek medical attention as soon as possible so you fully understand the extent of your injuries. This will also help you ensure that your injuries are well-documented. The insurance company will use any delay in medical treatment against you.
- Do not discuss your injuries with the insurance company. Report the facts of the accident (what happened) to your insurance company, but do not discuss your injuries. Because adrenaline is flowing through your body, you may not immediately feel the full extent of your injuries. Statements such as "I'm not injured" or "I'm OK" can and will be used against you by the insurance company.
Yes, but it will be difficult to do on your own. Consult an attorney to help you determine your options, especially if there were injuries involved.
- Make sure your injuries are documented in medical records as soon as possible. The insurance company will deny your injury claim unless each injury is documented in hospital records on the date of the accident or within 24 hours of the injury.
- See your primary care physician as soon as possible. Your doctor will document your injuries and prescribe a course of treatment, and the doctor’s chart notes will help us prove the extent of your injuries.
- Contact a lawyer to help you prove fault (liability) and the extent of the injuries and harm that you experienced due to the accident. Lawyers should have the resources necessary to get the most value for your case. The sooner you contact a lawyer, the sooner you get to relax and heal while we do the work of getting the money you deserve.