Thousands of people are involved in auto accidents every year – some of them are minor fender benders, while others include massive property damage and injuries, or in worst cases, death. Irrespective of the extent of the accident, most of them often end up in one party claiming injuries and damages with an insurance provider.
Although accidents vary, there are common steps that accident victims can take to ensure they are getting the most out of the process, in terms of settlement for their damages. In this article, we shall highlight the steps to build a personal injury claim after a road accident.
Immediately after the accident
What you do following the accident can either make or break your case – you want to make the most out of the few minutes you have before the accident scene is cleared. So, the first thing is to ensure that you, as well as others who are involved in the accident, are safe. If you or anyone is injured, call for medical help. But if you don’t need to get medical attention immediately, you can schedule for an appointment as soon as possible for assessment. You should also call the police for two reasons – it is a requirement by the law, and their report can be instrumental to your claim. This report ascertains which driver is legally at fault.
On top of that, note down the name, address, licenses, and insurance details of other drivers involved in the crash, as well as the contact details of the witnesses. If possible, take pictures of the accident scene including traffic signals, cars involved, skid marks, debris, and anything else that may serve as evidence. Don’t forget to note the road and weather conditions at the time of the accident. Last, but not least, do not say anything that might implicate you. Words like “sorry” or “forgive me” can be used against you later on.
Dealing with insurance companies
Once you obtain medical attention, your next step should be to get in touch with your insurer to report the accident. The company will issue a claim number and a claims adjuster to take care of your case. If your claim includes car damage, the insurer may dispatch an expert to access the extent of damage and establish whether the vehicle can be repaired. Based on your cover, your insurer may have a rental car offered to you. In some cases, you may need to report the crash to the other driver’s insurer. In this case, you should be careful when speaking to them because the company is representing the interest of the other driver and not your own.
Consider working with a lawyer
Insurance companies can be a tough nut to crack – remember; they are in it for business. It is even harder after an accident since there’s a lot of paperwork and negotiations that go into the process. A qualified personal injury lawyer Los Angeles can lift some burden off of your shoulder by doing the legwork for you. Besides, they have the experience to help you navigate through the entire thing and help you achieve the best possible outcome from your case.