Filing an Auto Accident Claim
After being in an accident, it is easy to feel lost and confused. Many times the trauma from a car accident can be severe and knowing the right steps to take is not always as easy as it seems. If you have been in a car accident, it is time to contact the right auto accident injury attorney to help you get the compensation you deserve.
While some individuals choose to handle their auto accident claim on their own, auto accident lawyers are a good choice to work with. They can answer your questions, finish your claim, and represent you every step of the process. Do not try to handle all of this on your own. Contact a Philadelphia personal injury lawyer today to get started.
After the Accident
Even though it may be the other driver who caused the accident, you will likely not deal with them directly when you settle your claim later on. It is more likely that you will work directly with the insurance company or a lawyer for the other person. Since you may have very little contact with the other driver once you leave the scene of an accident, it is important to collect the right information right away. Some of the information you should collect include the contact information and name of the following:
- The other person who was driving
- The insurance company they use
- Anyone who may have witnessed the car accident.
- Any law enforcement that comes to the scene.
If you are able to, you should take some pictures while at the scene. Your camera on your cell phone will be fine for this because it is just a way to gather up information and be prepared. While you are at the scene of the accident, try to take pictures of:
- Where the vehicles are located
- Where the damage occurred on both vehicles
- The license plates of any vehicle involved in the crash.
This is information that the insurance company will need before working with you on. Acclaim. Always keep in mind that the insurance company for the other driver does not want to pay out a large sum of money at all and they will not be on your side. It is likely that at some point in the process the insurance company will try to say the accident was partially or completely your fault or that you do not have enough documentation to support your claims.
The more documentation and information you have about the scene, including a police report (which is why you also need to contact 911 as soon as possible after the accident), the harder it is for the insurance company to fight your claim and the easier it is for you to get the compensation you deserve.
If the insurance company is still fighting with you about the claim, our personal injury lawyers are happy to step in and start representing you.
Get medical attention if you need it during this time.
If you have any pain or discomfort or feel like something else is wrong, you should seek medical attention quickly during this time. The longer you wait to receive attention for your injuries, the worse they can get and the harder it is to request damages for these injuries. Visit the ER or your doctor and get a written report about the injuries and whether they are sustained due to the accident. This paper trail will make it easier to claim those damages later on.
How to Determine Fault After a Car Accident
There are several ways to determine fault after an auto accident. The first is to rely on the police report of the accident and go from there. Law enforcement should be called to the scene as quickly as possible after the accident. They will gather up the information of both parties, ask questions, interview witnesses, and get all the information they can to file their report. Make sure you get a copy of this report when it is done for your records and to use in your claim.
Gather your own evidence as well. A police report may come up with a different result than you, placing the blame in the wrong place or saying they can’t figure out who caused the accident. When you have some of your own evidence, you can use this to prove the other driver caused the accident, making your settlement easier.
Are There Damages I Can Collect After an Auto Accident?
Depending on the severity of the accident and how much damage occurs, it is possible to make a claim for different types of damages along the way. The type of damages you can claim, and the amount, will depend on your situation. Our team of car accident attorneys can discuss your case and help you know what to reasonably expect when it comes to damages.
If you plan to make a claim only for property damage, which in this case is often concerning the damage to your care, there are some options available. Some of the types of damages that you may collect on after an auto accident include:
Damage to your vehicle
Damage to personal property: This can include compensation for some of the items that are in the car. If you had a bike on the carrier or a computer in the vehicle that were also damaged, you can ask for damages for these as well. Car rental: If you need to use a rental car while your vehicle is getting repaired, you can ask for reimbursement for this.
Any expenses you pay out of pocket: If you need to pay for anything out of pocket, such as getting a taxi to help you get home after visiting the hospital or from the accident, you can ask for these as well.
When working with the insurance company, they are likely to only extend an offer based on the documentation and information that you provide. So, if you do not provide them with the out of pocket expenses or you fail to send over a medical bill, then they will assume these do not exist and will not compensate you for that amount at all.
All insurance companies will try to improve their bottom line and limit how much they have to pay out. This is why most insurance companies will only enter into a settlement agreement if it is in their best interest to do so. They may try a few other techniques to limit how much they owe in the hopes of avoiding litigation.
An insurance company does not want to pay out a large sum of money and they know litigation is expensive. While they may try to offer you a lower amount as a settlement, hoping that you will have no interest in going to court either, this is not in your best interest.
Our personal injury attorneys can help leverage the idea of litigation to give you more compensation. In most cases, insurance companies will work with you to avoid litigation and court time so you can get the compensation you deserve without having to go to court.
What About Injuries During the Accident?
While most car accidents are simple fender benders that do not cause serious injuries, there are times when injuries can be severe after an accident. Once serious injuries become involved, the legal issues turn more complicated as well.
When this happens, in addition to the damages that are listed above, you could also reserve reimbursement for medical expenses and lost wages. In some areas, you may be able to claim compensation for pain and suffering that occurs with the accident.
To have any chance of claiming these after the accident, you need to visit the doctor as soon as possible after the accident. This not only ensures that you receive medical attention before the injury gets worse, but also makes a paper trail that can be used later for your compensation. If there are any injuries or you need to take time off work after the accident, our team can step in and make sure that you get enough compensation to handle these unexpected things in your life.
Depending on the severity of the accident, you may be able to get compensation not only for the immediate medical bills you receive, but also any long-term issues that you need medical professionals for. If you need to take extended time off work to heal, need physical therapy, need surgery, or some other issue comes up due to the accident, our team can help you get compensation so you do not have to handle these bills on your own.
Should I File a Claim on My Own?
It is generally not a good idea to file a claim on your own when it comes to personal injury claims. Some insurance companies will not even work with you without a lawyer representative to help you through the case. And the few that will work with you often do so because they know they are more likely to get off with a lower settlement offer.
Insurance companies care about their bottom line. They will fight to try and disprove any evidence that their client was the one to blame for the accident in the first place in the hopes of discrediting you and not having to pay out at all. Those who do offer a settlement amount right away will work to give a lowball offer that will not cover the amount that you owe.
If the insurance company refuses to work directly with you at all, it is time to contact a car accident attorney right away. Our professionals can represent you, no matter what stage of the process you are currently in. we can come back to the table with better negotiations, do the research to prove the other party is at fault, and represent you each step of the process.
In some cases, the insurance company may offer you a settlement right away. Many individuals who are in a personal injury case will jump on that first offer. This gives them a chance to get the money right away, without a fight, and they assume that this is the best they can do, or at least better than nothing.
The thing to remember here is that the insurance company wants you to take the lower amount. In these cases, they often know their client is the one who caused the accident and they hope you will take the lower settlement to save them money. You accepting just means the insurance company can write off the accident and help their bottom line.
Get a Second Opinion on The Settlement Offer
Even if an insurance company has offered you a settlement, stop by our offices so we can take a look at your case and discuss your options. It is likely that the insurance company will owe you a lot more if you file a claim and we can help you get this done.
Our team has the experience to handle your personal injury claim and we can walk you through the whole process as well. Do not handle your personal injury claim on your own. Contact the right car accident attorney to help you get the compensation you deserve.