In Parts 1 and 2 we talked about what to do immediately after your car accident and about your medical care following the crash. Hopefully the stress is beginning to dissipate. So let’s move on to Part 3 – Insurance.
Let’s face it – car accidents happen quickly and there are a lot of tasks for you to deal with in the aftermath. Now that some of it is behind you, it’s time to take a deep breath and calmly deal with your accident claim.
Right out of the gate, try to be as organized and prepared as possible before you meet with your attorney. Being calm and well prepared will pay off in the end. If you were not at fault and the other party is being cited for the accident, be sure to talk with your attorney before you make any statements to insurance adjusters. Remember, insurance adjusters work for the insurance company and their main objective is to pay you as little as possible. This is even true for your insurance adjusters who work for your insurance company.
Here are some tips that will help you and your attorney.
- Request a copy of the police report. Both you and your attorney should review it.
- Document the details of the car accident as soon as possible after the accident. Be thorough and don’t leave out any details.
- Obtain a copy of your medical records from the emergency room or Doctor that has been treating you as a result of the accident.
- Review your medical insurance policy, and be sure to give your attorney a copy of your health insurance card.
- Create an accident file. Put all documents, receipts, reports, estimates, etc. in this one file so that you have everything you need, when you need it.
- Create a calendar journal of everyone you have spoken with and every event. Be sure to keep it in the proper time and date order so that it shows a sequence of conversations or events.
- Document every expense from the smallest drug store item, to time missed from work, and medical expenses. Include every related expense.
- Review your auto insurance and know what your limits and covered items are.
- Know the value of your car.
- Get at least two auto repair estimates.
- Relay any settlement offers to your attorney.
- Let your lawyer negotiate!
Your attorney is looking out for your best interest – the insurance company probably isn’t. As tempting as it may be to just “get it all over with”, if your attorney feels it is justified to negotiate, let them. Agreeing to a settlement without thinking it through is always a source of regret.
Next, we’ll wrap up this series with what not to do after a car accident.