Car accidents are a traumatic experience that can easily overwhelm the best of us. It is all too common for people to make mistakes both in handling themselves at the scene of the accident and in the aftermath of it. This can seriously harm your legal rights and potential recovery. This checklist, from DUI Attorney Seattle and Criminal Defense Lawyer, provides you with a guide to help avoid the pitfalls and get you on the right track.
- 1. File accident report. File a state vehicle accident report even if the police did not respond to the accident. The report can help insurance companies speed up the claims process.
- Determine who will pay for the damages. While the other driver(s) may initially agree to pay for the damage on the day of the accident, without getting your respective insurance companies involved, they may backtrack when they see the repair bills and deem them too high. At this point it might be too late for your insurance company to amass the evidence necessary for your claim.
- Inform your insurance company as soon as possible of accident. Even if the drivers initially agree not to involve their insurance companies, you should inform your insurance company of the accident right away. The other drivers might change their minds later and claim injuries and damages that were not apparent at the scene of the accident. Most policies contain time limits on notifying the insurer of the accident. Make sure not to run afoul of this deadline or you will face serious consequences. Insurance companies also have deadlines for submitting claims. If you plan on filing a claim, make sure you file it in a timely manner.
- Save receipts. Save receipts and bills for any and all expenses relating to your insurance claim including bills for repair work on the damaged car, any medical costs incurred for injuries sustained in the accident, etc.
- Do not accept your insurance agent’s initial offer as the last word. Insurance companies are notorious for giving lower estimates of losses than the actual loss. Do not accept their estimates without preparing an estimate of your own. If your insurance company is acting particularly egregiously, get an attorney involved. The attorneys at the Jones Firm are ready to represent your interests after an accident, including when it comes to dealing with your own insurance company.
- Do not sign any releases or waivers. Consult an attorney for help before signing any documents, including releases and waivers. You might be signing away rights you had no intention of waiving. The Jones Firm will clearly explain to you any risks involved in signing such documents and make sure that you are acting to protect your own interests.
Being in an auto accident is stressful enough without the headache of dealing with unscrupulous parties or intransigent insurance companies. Hopefully, these tips will spare you needless aggravation in navigating the often-confusing world of accident claims and accident-related lawsuits. Need help contact Seattle DUI Lawyer. Learn more about Negligent Driving 1 here.