Until it happens to you, it's not easy to know how you'll respond after a car accident. Even if you think that you know exactly what you'd do, in the moments or days following an accident, you may have difficulty knowing how to navigate the process.
Dealing with a car accident insurance claim is usually easier and more effective with the guidance of an experienced attorney to keep your rights and interests protected. However, there are many things you can do to avoid mistakes when dealing another driver, law enforcement or an insurance provider.
First steps are important
As soon as you can, you should call your insurance agent and inform them of the accident. But, before you contact your agent, you should look over your policy's coverage and exclusions to make sure you understand them.
The more documentation you have of the accident and any damage that resulted, the better. This includes pictures of the scene, and notes on any conversations with law enforcement and insurance representatives.
The more detailed information you have about these conversations, the easier it generally is to contest some aspect of the accident later on.
Keep your rights and privileges safe
Although your insurer does offer coverage to keep you protected, they are not always acting in your best interests. In some cases, your insurer (or, more likely, the other driver's insurer) may try to offer less coverage or compensation for injuries and damage than you deserve.
In these cases, it is almost always best to consider enlisting the help of an experienced attorney to advocate for you and keep your rights protected.
Unlike an insurer, which usually pays out as little as it can justify in any circumstance, an attorney truly works for you.
Of course, protecting your rights and interests begins with you. After an accident, be mindful of avoiding making any statement of guilt to any other drivers or law enforcement.
Often, remarks you make in passing can come back to haunt you, so when in doubt, be truthful but brief.
Get the help you need to resolve the accident
You may believe that you should handle your insurance claim on your own, in your spare time. However, this leaves you vulnerable to missing many benefits or accepting less than you deserve from an insurer.
With proper guidance from an experienced attorney, you may obtain a much better settlement from your insurer than you might on your own.