For a successful auto claim, it’s a good idea to consult an experienced attorney. With the right advocates on your side, you ensure a successful car accident claim that covers your needs.
While many people consider themselves to be safe drivers, accidents happen. Unfortunately, motor vehicle accidents and other personal injury incidents require that you deal with an insurance company. As you try to recover from the collision, they immediately begin to hurl questions at you.
Whether it’s from your own insurance company or that of a negligent driver, they quickly begin to poke holes. Worse yet, they might try to blame you for an accident that was someone else’s fault. The last thing you need is for someone to devalue your insurance claim for any reason.
With this in mind, it is essential for you to understand what to do after a car accident. Moreover, it’s important to recognize there are actions you can take to maximize your settlement. This includes working with an experienced auto accident attorney in Houston, TX.
Below, we offer a few tips to help you ensure a successful auto claim. For the best results, schedule a free case evaluation with a personal injury firm today.
Tips to Ensure a Successful Auto Claim
After a car collision, it’s essential that you take the necessary steps to preserve and gather evidence. This helps to ensure you put the accident behind you and file a successful claim. Check out these tips to help position yourself for a stronger insurance claim.
Contact Your Insurance Company
As soon as you are able to, contact your insurance company. No matter who is at fault for the accident, it’s critical that you let the insurance company know about the incident.
Moreover, this applies to seemingly minor accidents.
Document the Scene and Gather Evidence
Next, work with the law enforcement officials at the scene. They take notes and file a police report. This report is crucial to a successful auto claim because it serves as the foundation for what happened. Additionally, many insurance companies look to this for accurate information.
Also, it’s a good idea to gather information for yourself. This helps you file your own insurance claim but adds to the evidence your lawyer uses to build your case.
Evidence includes any and all of the following.
- Photos of the scene, including damage to vehicles as well as the location, road conditions, weather, and more
- Documentation of any injuries you and others sustained in the accident
- Contact information and notes from anyone who witnessed the accident
For a successful claim, it’s good to gather as much detailed information as possible.
Maintain Records and Organize Your Documentation
Just as it is important to document the information from the accident, it is crucial to organize and maintain your documentation. When you do, it makes everything more accessible and easy to retrieve. Here are a few examples of documents to maintain.
- Police reports
- Medical records
- Insurance information
- Contact information for witnesses
- Notes from meetings with your attorney
- Photos in a folder
- Records of relevant expenses – invoices, receipts, and more
Whether you store physical copies in folders or digital copies in a Google Drive, having everything in one place helps you file a successful auto claim.
Calculate a Fair Settlement
Generally speaking, the first offer you receive from your insurance company is going to be a lowball offer. In most cases, the company knows what it should pay out. However, they want to see whether people blindly accept this first offer.
No one wants to be in an uncomfortable situation after a car accident. The best tactic for you to know what a fair settlement looks like is to talk to an attorney. Before they reach out with a lowball settlement, an attorney can help you evaluate applicable damages.
Oftentimes, victims have access to potential damages they aren’t yet aware of. When you have an advocate on your side, you have someone with experience in the particulars of this process.
Draft a Detailed Demand Letter to Send to the Insurance Company
Once you calculate your settlement, you have a better idea of what your compensation should look like. Then, it’s time to send a demand letter. A demand letter is exactly what it sounds like.
Your letter outlines your medical expenses as well as your out-of-pocket expenses that relate to the incident. Additionally, it’s a good idea to add in any lost wages you experience as a result of the accident.
As stated earlier, insurance companies often offer a lower amount than what you request. Whether you accept the offer is up to you. However, it’s important to understand that once you accept a settlement, you have no option for further action related to the accident.
That means you cannot request more if it turns out that your medical expenses exceed the settlement.
Instead, you have the option to negotiate for a better claim. If you do so, it’s a good idea to work with a car accident lawyer. Personal injury attorneys have experience with this type of negotiation. Moreover, they can help you file a lawsuit in the event the company refuses to cooperate.
Work with an Experienced Auto Accident Lawyer
After a motor vehicle collision, it’s generally a good idea to contact an experienced attorney to ensure you file a successful auto claim. When people choose to handle these claims on their own, they tend to miss aspects. Even when they file a successful auto claim, they might not receive the full compensation they deserve.
With an attorney on your side, you improve your odds of attaining a higher settlement reward. Moreover, your attorney works with you to leverage the evidence of your claim to maximize your compensation for a successful auto claim that lasts.
Why Do Insurance Companies Deny Claims?
When people expect to file a successful auto claim, they sometimes receive a denial from the company. The people who investigate insurance claims, the adjusters, often reference the following reasons when they deny a claim (or pay a reduced settlement).
If you broke the law when your accident occurred, the insurance company might deny your claim. Here are a few examples.
- Driving without a valid license
- Operating a vehicle without auto insurance
- They believe the accident was avoidable
- Drunk driving or driving under the influence
If your claim exceeds the limits of your coverage, it can leave you responsible for the rest of the amount. The coverage your policy provides determines whether an insurer covers the claim. However, there’s not much to do when your claim exceeds the limit. If someone else’s negligence caused the accident, though, you may have the option to pursue compensation through their insurance company.
When an insurance company believes the accident was avoidable on your part or that your claim is fraudulent, they deny the claim. Here are a few things that insurance companies look out for.
- If someone doesn’t immediately report the accident to the police or insurance company
- When you don’t seek medical attention after the accident (leading them to believe the injuries are from a different incident)
- If you offer false information when you purchased the policy
The Insurance Company Isn’t On Your Side
After a car accident, many people who hope to file a successful auto claim believe the insurance company is on their side. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Often, claims adjusters act friendly and express concern.
However, they know this helps them extract more information from you. Something as simple as responding to “How are you?” with “I’m fine” is enough for them to assume your medical treatment is relatively simple.
As they gather information, they focus on the profit of the company. Often, this means they reduce your settlement offer or deny your claim altogether.
Partner with an Attorney for a Successful Auto Claim
For years, our law firm has worked with injured Texans. We strive to help them get back on their feet after a collision upends their life. When you or a loved one has trouble with a claim, schedule a free case evaluation with our team.
Our car accident lawyers are your advocates to help you fight for a successful auto claim. As you focus on recovery, we work to maximize your settlement. Call us today to see how we can help you.