If you have experienced a car accident, whether you were at fault or not, you will want to notify your automobile insurance company because your insurance policy requires you to do so, and to protect yourself in case the other driver blames you for the accident. If the other driver was at fault, you will also want to file a claim with that party’s automobile liability insurance carrier.
Another reason to file an insurance claim is in case you need to avail yourself of your uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage to help pay for some of your losses. A California car accident attorney can provide guidance about how to file a car accident claim with an insurance company and they can handle the claim process on your behalf.
Information the Insurance Company Will Want
The automobile liability insurance carrier will need as much information about the accident and the parties involved, for example:
- The names and contact information of everyone involved in the collision
- The location and approximate time of day of the accident
- The name of the officer who came to the scene and their affiliation, like the county sheriff’s office or their branch of law enforcement
- The police report number the officer gave to you at the scene
- The make and model of each car involved
- The insurance company, agent, and policy number for each driver
Often, people do not have all of these details initially. You do not need to worry if you do not know all of this information right away. Provide as much data as you can from the listed items, and your insurance company can usually get the rest of the accident information.
Just be sure not to admit fault or make self-deprecating comments when talking to your insurer. Anything you say to them could get used against you by them to deny your claim.
After the Initial Notification Call to Your Insurance Company
Things can get adversarial quickly after a crash, so it is a smart idea to put your claim in the hands of a lawyer at this point. An attorney can protect you from tactics designed to trip you up, like the claims adjuster making a lowball offer or asking you to give a recorded statement.
You will need to get prompt medical treatment for your wounds and have the damage to your vehicle inspected by an approved shop. More and more insurance companies are now offering virtual inspections utilizing an app on the insured person’s cell phone.
Next Steps in the Process
Your insurance company will let you know their procedure for getting your car repaired. You might want to talk with your lawyer if you question the fairness of the repair arrangements.
Your attorney will have you sign medical records authorizations for your treating healthcare providers to obtain a copy of their documents. These records will be vital evidence for proving that your injuries were the result of the accident, as well as to show the severity of your wounds. Employment records will be essential for establishing the amount of your lost wages claim if you missed work without pay while recuperating. A California personal injury attorney can evaluate this information and make a demand to the insurance company of the at-fault driver. Also, we can negotiate on your behalf to try to reach a settlement of your claim. You can contact us today for a free consultation.