Purchasing car insurance is not just a smart way to protect yourself and your vehicle but is also a legal requirement in most states. Although some people manage to get through an entire lifetime without ever making a claim against their car insurance, most people will eventually file a car accident insurance claim.
If you were recently involved in a car accident, you are likely dealing with physical and/or emotional injuries. Trying to navigate the often complex task of filing a claim with your insurance company can add unnecessary stress. Knowing what steps you need to take to successfully file a car accident claim can dramatically reduce your stress and help ensure that your claim is approved and paid in a timely manner.
Steps to Take When Filing a Car Accident Claim
While no two accident claims are exactly the same, there are some common steps required when filing any car accident insurance claim, including:
Prevent further injury. When you are involved in a car accident, the first thing you should do is make sure that you and your loved ones are safe from further injury. If possible, move your vehicle off the roadway or exit the vehicle to ensure that you are not injured in a secondary collision.
Contact the police. Contact the police while you are still at the scene of the accident, even if you believe that you are not seriously injured. Not only should you do so to protect yourself and others from additional injury, but your insurance company will likely request an official police report when you file your claim. If another party was at fault, the police report can also help establish that party’s negligence.
Document the scene. If you are physically able to do so, and it is safe to do so, document the scene of the accident using your cell phone or another electronic device. Obtain names and contact information for other parties involved and any witnesses as well.
Seek medical treatment. Go directly to the hospital or your primary care physician to have a thorough medical evaluation. Some of the most serious injuries, such as a traumatic brain injury or internal injuries, do not exhibit symptoms for hours, even days after the injury occurs, so early detection is important.
Contact your insurance company. Always make sure you and your loved ones are safe first; however, if you are able to contact your insurance company from the scene of the accident, you should do so as well. If you cannot safely do so from the accident scene, contact your insurance agent and file an official claim as soon afterward as possible.
Do not speak to the at-fault party’s insurance company. If another party was at fault in the accident, you may receive a telephone call or letter from the at-fault party’s insurance company shortly after the accident. Do not agree to speak to them about the accident. Keep in mind that it is their job to try and get you to agree to a settlement as soon as possible after the accident and for as little as possible.
Document your injuries and damages. Start compiling documentary evidence of your injuries and any property damage you suffered in the accident as soon as possible. This may include things such as hospital and medical bills, proof of lost wages, and estimates for repairs to your vehicle.
Do I Need a Florida Car Insurance Claim Attorney?
You have probably been paying your car insurance premiums for years with the expectation that should you ever file a claim, that claim will be paid in full and within a reasonable period of time. Unfortunately, that does not always happen. Instead, your claim may be delayed, undervalued, or denied altogether. If your claim has not been paid in full in a timely manner, you may need to contact a Florida car accident insurance claim attorney
You may be concerned about the cost of hiring an attorney when you find yourself battling with an insurance company over the payment of a car accident claim. Do not let that concern stop you from getting the help you need. A Florida car accident insurance claim attorney will only receive a fee if you receive a settlement or award at trial, meaning there is no up-front cost to you.
Where Can I Get Help with My Car Accident Insurance Claim?
If you have a Florida car accident insurance claim and the insurance company is refusing to pay your claim in full, we can help. Call us at 407-500-1000 or submit our online form today. One of our experienced Florida car accident insurance claims attorneys will explain your rights to you and discuss your legal options at no cost.
Imran Malik, rated AV® Preeminent, by Martindale-Hubbell, is the founding member of Malik Law P.A. An AV® Rating signifies that a lawyer has reached the heights of professional excellence. He has practiced law for a number of years, and is recognized for the highest levels of skill and integrity by fellow attorneys in his area of practice. Martindale-Hubbell is the oldest and most trusted lawyer information service in America.