Filing a Car Accident Claim with the Insurance Company
Have you been in a car accident? You may feel anger toward the other driver. You may feel stress because your car is in the shop. You may feel helpless because the insurance company refuses to pay for the damages to your car.
Please know that you are NOT alone. This article will give you insight into how the insurance companies operate and what you can do to protect yourself.
First, you have to understand that the insurance company is NOT your friend. The insurance company's goal is to retain as much business (policies) per year while paying out the least amount of money per claim. If you were injured, just because they offer "x" amount, does not mean that is a fair and reasonable amount for a settlement. Therefore, RULE #1: Do not take their first offer.
Second, if you have property damage, take your vehicle to the repair shop of your choosing for the repair estimate. You do not have to take your vehicle to a shop "recommended" by the insurance company. Research shops in your area and get recommendations from friends and family.
Third, choose your words carefully when you hear the words, "this conversation may be recorded." Everything you say to the insurance rep can and will be used against you at some point if your claim is not settled.
Fourth, gather all evidence pertaining to your accident. In Virginia, you have up to 2 years from the date of your accident to file a lawsuit for bodily injuries. You have up to 5 years for property damage. I am not recommending that you wait that long but, once you file suit, it could then take months, even years to have your case heard in a court of law. Therefore, preserve your evidence. Take pictures of your vehicle now, before it is repaired. Take pictures of the scene, including skid marks and damages to guardrails, signs, shrubs, etc. If you had bruising, scrapes, or other visible injuries, take pictures before they fully heal.
Fifth, if you are getting nowhere fast with the insurance company, consult with a personal injury attorney. An attorney may aid in settlement. But, often initiating a lawsuit is the only way to get the compensation you deserve.
Schedule your FREE case evaluation today!