When to File a Car Accident Claim
Accidents happen. While unfortunate, there are still resolutions available to help you recover. When this happens, many often wonder, “when is the best time to file an accident claim?” This can be a daunting and intimidating process, but understanding the details of the process can help make it less overwhelming. Knowing when to file a claim is essential to ensure you’re fairly compensated for any damage or injuries you may have sustained.
In California, drivers must file a car accident claim with their insurance company within two years of the date of the accident. This is true regardless of who is at fault. With so many drivers in the state, California legislature heavily advocates individuals to pursue their rights in an accident case.
With the right information and guidance, you can make the right decisions when filing a car accident claim. It’s essential to be aware of your rights as a car accident victim and to understand the process of filing the claim. This article will cover when to file a claim, what to consider and how to ensure you’re properly compensated.
What is a Car Accident Claim?
In short, a car accident claim is a formal request for compensation from the insurance company after being involved in a car accident. After the accident, it’s important to document every detail and take immediate action to protect your rights.
If you were injured, or your car is damaged, you can file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. This process allows you to receive compensation for your medical bills, car repair costs and any other losses that resulted from the accident. The support of an experienced personal injury attorney may also help speed up your accident claims process. When going about the claim process, it’s important to acknowledge the below three main steps:
1) Report the accident to the police
2) File a car insurance claim with the other driver’s insurance company; and
3) File a third-party claim with your own insurance company
After a car accident, following these steps is important, as filing a claim with the responsible party’s insurance company immediately. This ensures you’re protected and can receive the compensation you deserve. The sooner you file a claim and report the accident to your insurance company, the more likely they will consider your losses when setting your premiums next year. By utilizing the support of a leading car accident lawyer, you can assure the claims process is being handled with the utmost care. This means your personal injury Attorney will guide you throughout every step of the process, as well as advocate for your rights when representing you to the insurers and opposing party.
When is the Right Time to File a Car Accident Claim?
Enduring an accident takes away from your time at work and often brings on new expenses, like paying for a rental car, medical bills or rideshares. When you’ve become physically injured or your car is damaged, filing a claim as soon as possible is vital. By working with your Attorney to file the claim immediately after your accident, you immediately begin to recover your losses. In California, the claimant has 2 years from the date of the accident to file the claim. This is important especially for those who have sustained injuries after the scene of the accident. This includes common pains or whiplash from the impact, which isn’t often felt at the time due to the rush of adrenaline individuals feel. An experienced accident lawyer will explain your rights and options to you, as well as help speak to insurers on your behalf.
What to Consider When Filing a Car Accident Claim
The sooner the claim is filed, the more likely the insurance company will consider your losses. This is particularly important if you’re injured and need to file a third-party claim with your insurance company. To ensure you have the proper evidence and documentation, work with your Attorney to gather all the necessary paperwork. Your Attorney and their accident law firm will reach out to the police department where the accident occurred, your employer, your insurer and to the hospital or ambulance for records pertaining to the accident.
When going about the investigation process, it’s also important to acquire the names of those involved, contact information, witness information and the other party’s insurance information. This will help support your claim when negotiating recovery options with the other party’s insurance. Evidence gathered can include:
• Pictures and videos of the accident scene
• Pictures and videos of the property damage
• Documentation of your medical bills
• Witness information
• Contact information from the other party
• The other party’s insurance policy/card
• Police report(s) from the accident scene
By having the above evidence at hand, insurance companies will take your claim seriously and work with your Attorney on the best possible resolution for your recovery.
How to Make Sure You’re Properly Compensated
Some individuals go about the car accident claims process alone. When they take this risk, they aren’t aware that they may be able to receive a higher compensation by working with a car accident lawyer. For example, an individual who claims without an Attorney may agree to the insurer’s first proposed settlement, which is often low. When utilizing the skills of an Attorney, your representative will work alongside with your insurer and the opposing insurer to get you the best possible results. This includes going over every detail of your case, giving all the needed evidence and information, as well as speaking on your behalf and heavily negotiating your rights to the insurers.
What Happens After Filing a Car Accident Claim?
After filing the claim with your Attorney and the insurer, next begins the decision-making process. The insurance adjuster will speak with all parties involved in the accident, inspect the damage done to vehicles and gather any other evidence that pertains to the accident. After the adjuster has completed their investigation, they will determine how much the accident is worth and how much they can compensate. When working with a lawyer in this case, you’re really hiring hours of knowledge, diligence and the experience of a dedicated individual who will truly defend and fight for your rights.
For any additional information required by the adjuster, your legal team or Attorney will be sure to consistently communicate every needed request. This includes having your representative submit your claim, communicate with the insurers and adjusters, as well as submit your evidence and accident information.
Once a decision has been made, an Offer Letter will be distributed. This offer will state how much the adjuster will compensate for your losses. Once the offer is received, California law allows the individual 21 days to respond. Within these 21 days, the claimant can:
1) Accept the offer
2) Reject the offer; or
3) Make a counteroffer
Overall, California legislature has made the accident-claims process readily available for those seeking proper justice. While a claimant has the opportunity to seek out recovery options on their own, it’s advisable to align your interests with a reputable and hardworking California personal injury Attorney. In some cases, these personal injury law firms may not charge anything upfront. This means the claimant can work alongside their trusted Attorney and pay for their services once their case is settled. When such an opportunity is present, why wouldn’t a claimant want to work with a personal injury Lawyer? The hours of dedication each Attorney has faced in law school, in court and in the office, truly pays off when seeing their clients victoriously win their case.
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