When a person is injured in an accident, they often have to deal with a lot of pain and high medical bills. They will also have to contact their insurance company to report the crash. There are a few important steps involved in the claims process that you should be aware of.
What to do After an Accident
If you are injured in an accident, be sure to call the police and stay at the scene until an officer arrives. Get the names of any witnesses and take pictures if it is possible. Make sure to request a copy of the accident report. Most personal injury attorneys will tell you to never admit to guilt at the scene, even if you think you caused the accident. Collisions happen very quickly and there may be certain circumstances of which you are unaware.
Calling the Insurance Company
California is a tort state, which means that the insurance company of the at-fault driver is responsible for paying any accident-related bills. You should call your own insurance company to report an accident. They will ask you a series of questions about the crash. Be sure to give them the other driverís insurance information.
What Happens Next
After you make the initial phone call, the insurance company will have 15 days to acknowledge the claim. They are likely to call you back to ask more questions about the accident. They will ask you to provide documentation of all the bills you have acquired that are associated with the collision. Be sure to save all medical bills and bills for any medication you have taken both prescription and over the counter. Make sure to have your employer give you a letter detailing all of the hours of work you have missed due to your accident.
The insurance company will then investigate the claim. They will look at the police report and call the doctorís offices and hospitals you have visited to confirm the validity of your injuries. In cases where your medical bills are very high, they may even have a private investigator follow you to make sure that your injuries are as debilitating as your medical records would indicate. The company will have 40 days to make you a settlement offer. The insurance company is staffed with employees whose job it is to keep your money in-house, and there is a good chance they will try to lowball you when they make you an initial settlement offer. Once you and the insurance company have agreed upon a settlement amount, the insurance company will have 30 days to pay your claim.
Why you Should Hire an Attorney
Before you accept an offer, it is a good idea to talk to Injury Trial Lawyers APC. A lawyer will have years of experience in negotiating with insurance companies. Not only will they work to get your medical and car repair bills paid, but they may also be able to get you money for pain and suffering. They will understand the laws in California and will work hard to get you the compensation you deserve.