Due to factors such as intoxication, distractions, human error, poor road conditions, unfavorable weather, speeding, and inadequate driving skills by some road users, auto collisions and road accidents do happen from time to time. And depending on the severity of the accident, they often lead to injuries, vehicle wreckage, and damage to property, among other devastating outcomes. Now, in most states and countries, auto insurance is a mandatory requirement for any car to be legally on the road. In case your car is involved in an accident and causes injury, sustains damage, or causes damage to property, your auto insurance policy covers up to a certain limit in repairs, treatment for injuries caused or sustained, and so forth. On the other hand, if you’re injured in an accident and the other driver was the one at fault, their insurance company could be liable to compensate you for your injury, pain, suffering, and other damages that may result from the particular accident.
That being said, however, the immediate aftermath of being involved in an accident can be overwhelming and confusing. Often times, most victims are not sure of what to do and what not to do after a road accident. As a matter of fact, even those who’ve never been in an accident are also in the dark. This is why many vehicle owners have lots of questions regarding car accidents and their respective insurance claims.
On this note, here are some of the most commonly asked questions about car accident claims.
What steps should I take immediately after a collision?
What you do after a car accident can have an impact on whether or not you get compensated for damages by the respective insurance company or the at-fault driver, either in or out of court. The first and most important thing to do is to get to a safer location away from the road at the scene of the accident and call for help, preferably by dialing 911 or your respective emergency service line. Remember, the auto insurance company will need a medical report before processing your claim, so make sure you seek medical attention from a recognized facility as soon as you can, irrespective of whether you’re injured or you feel fine. It’s also important to stay at the scene (or leave your vehicle) until law enforcement arrives. Also, remember to notify your insurance company as soon as possible after the accident. And be sure to get the contact details, insurance information, and vehicle information of all the parties involved in the accident.
Do I need a lawyer to pursue an accident claim?
Depending on the severity of the accident in terms of damages and injuries, you have two main options when it comes to pursuing an accident claim. You may decide to go it alone and settle with your insurance company or you may decide to get legal assistance. Especially if you sustained some injuries from the accident, however, the claim can be more complicated and your best bet is to work with an experienced accident lawyer. According to Richard P. Console from Console & Associates, getting legal assistance from an experienced accident injury attorney is the best way to ensure you get fair compensation for your injuries after an accident. This is essentially because some insurance companies have a tendency to deny claims based on the most minor of details that you could have missed while working alone as an accident victim.
What exactly do accident injury attorneys do?
The Insurance companies actually also have their own lawyers and expert adjusters whose main task is to fight to minimize the number of claims paid out. When working with a well-qualified attorney, they’ll also assist you in knowing your options, such as whether to sue the at-fault driver under personal injury law in case their auto insurance coverage isn’t enough to give you full and fair compensation. Additionally, a good accident attorney will conduct investigations on your behalf, talk to witnesses, negotiate with your insurance company, and even file the petition in court on time if it comes to that. They’ll do a lot more in an attempt to get you fairly compensated for your pain, suffering, medical fees, treatment costs, lost income, and other damages you may have incurred as a result of the accident. In a nutshell, some things an injury attorney will do to help with your accident claim case include:
- Provide you with legal advice
- Conduct investigations – to gather evidence and build a strong case
- Collect witness statements
- Negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf – to seek settlement
- Compile all reports and documentation needed to pursue your claim
- File lawsuits where need be
- Represent you in court
- Anything else legal to get you a fair compensation
What damages may I receive compensation for?
After the accident or collisions, your accident claim may compensate you for a variety of damages. Basically, under third party motor insurance the accident compensation claim may cover your pain and suffering, any medical costs incurred, lost wages, vehicle damage, and other out-of-pocket expenses you may have incurred while pursuing the claim. In some instances, you may also be reimbursed for any property that might have gotten lost or sustained damage at the time of the accident.
What if the other driver fled the scene?
Hit-and-run accidents are common in many places and you may have been a victim of one. When this happens, it’s important to notify the police immediately. Also, it pays to get as much information as you can about the vehicle that hit, including the make, model, color, registration plate number, and preferably put them down in writing. Once you file a police report, it will be their responsibility to find the hit-and-run culprit as you pursue your accident claim with the help of your accident attorney.
Within how long should I file a claim?
The duration within which to file a claim after an accident may vary depending on the particular jurisdiction in which the accident occurred. In most places, however, this is between one and two years. Be sure to find out what the laws or statute of limitations in your respective jurisdiction says about this. Filing your claim out of the given period can be reason enough for the involved insurance company to deny your claim, which is all the more reason to work with an expert injury attorney.
The last thing you want is to find yourself involved in an accident. However, even the best drivers who oblige with all the traffic laws, unfortunately, end up being accident victims. Knowing what to do in the aftermath of an accident can make a huge difference and get you compensated for your injuries and suffered losses. Hopefully, the few pointers above answer some of the questions you’d have about accident claims.