If you are in a car accident, it’s not only smart to file an insurance claim. It’s the law. Driving without insurance is illegal per California Vehicle Code Section 16029. But just how do you go about making a car accident claim?
An insurance claim is filed before any legal action is taken. If there’s a dispute later, a car accident attorney in Los Angeles can help you file a lawsuit. For the time being:
Gather Important Information
At the scene of the accident, gather the name and contact information of the other driver. You’ll also need details on their insurance company, since most likely you’ll be working with their insurer rather than the driver themselves. Also, speak to anyone who may have seen the accident and how it happened.
Identifying information and reports from law enforcement officers at the scene should be obtained. Photographs of the accident scene are useful as well. Use your cellphone to take pictures that reveal the locations of vehicles involved, their license plates, and the types of damage that occurred.
If you’ve been injured, seek medical attention right away and keep all medical bills and other records.
Contact Your Insurance Company
It is in your best interest not to wait. Once you’re in touch with an insurance agent, they’ll help you through the claims process. Typically, you will need to provide a lot of information. The insurance company will want to know every detail about the accident, so be prepared to provide them with the following information:
- Time and date of the accident
- Photos of the scene
- Copy of the police report
- Names/addresses of all involved
- Their insurance information
- Witness account information
Disputes are not uncommon following car accidents. The other driver’s insurance company may call asking for your version of the events. Whether you choose to speak with them depends on your circumstances. In general, avoid speaking to them directly if anyone involved in the accident might file a claim for serious injuries. If you have an adjuster or car accident attorney who can speak on your behalf, that’s usually the better way to go.
However, if the other driver was clearly at fault, or has not been communicative or truthful with their own insurer, you should talk to their company. Your information can prove who was at fault and improve your chances of receiving a settlement check. Nonetheless, the ideal situation is for your insurance representative or attorney to communicate with the other driver’s insurer.
Making the Claim
Insurance companies typically rely on a claims adjuster to assess the damage and how much it will cost to repair a vehicle. Disagreements often arise between insurance companies and auto body shops. Determining what should be repaired can therefore be a challenging step.
Remember, insurers are always looking to pay out as little as possible. If you do talk to the other driver’s insurance company, don’t tell them how you feel (your injuries may be worse than originally thought), answer only the questions asked, and don’t volunteer information or agree to be recorded. It’s also fine to have your own insurance company’s adjuster on the line during the call; or better yet, have legal representation.
Call the Law Offices of Jacob Emrani
Providing the top car accident attorney services in California, our Orange County and Los Angeles personal injury attorney is always on your side. We have secured many multi-million-dollar settlements for auto accident clients. Call Jacob at 888-952-2952 today for assistance with your car accident claim.