Making Insurance Claim for An Accident

When you are in an automobile accident you are very vulnerable due to both your emotional and physical state. Knowing how to proceed in making claims against either the other person’s insurance company or your own is necessary for your well being. The goal in resolving your claims is to make you whole again or putting you back to your condition prior to the accident.

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Step 1: File a Claim

An automobile insurance claim is a request made to an insurance company for compensation. If the one that caused the accident had insurance, you would make the claims to that insurance company. If that person did not have any insurance then you would make a claim under your own insurance company assuming you had that type of coverage. These types of insurance claims will cover proven damages  after an automobile accident. Items such as property damage repair, medical bills, wage loss, and pain and suffering are just a few of those covered damages. 
The first step is to file a claim with the police. Having the officer take down pertinent details of the accident and putting them in a police report protects you later on if the other person challenges the facts. Moreover, in all likelihood you will be shaken up after an automobile accident and will not be in the best position to assess what happened. If the other party becomes difficult at the scene, a police officer can make sure you are safe. They can also make arrangements for an ambulance or any emergency services you may need. They can also handle any hazardous conditions such as leaking fuel or oil. 
To assist you, many states including Ohio have laws for the reporting of accidents. Always contact your insurance agent to understand the procedure you must follow. If you are not sure, you can also contact your state insurance commissioner’s office for assistance. 

Step 2: Document Everything

Collect information about your automobile accident. Keep a list. This will help you in filing the claim. You will have to document the details of the accident and give them to the insurance company. As soon as it is safe to do so, contact your insurance company to report the claim. In fact, many insurance policies require that you advise them of an accident. The insurance company can walk you through the steps and let you know if they need any other additional evidence. For example, if your automobile is not operable, your insurance company can advise you as to transportation, towing options, and rental benefits. They can also expedite the repair of the vehicle. 

Step 3: Evidence Damages

As to the repairs, you will get an adjuster assigned to your case. They will assist you with the body shop or with other insurance companies in the repair. Your adjuster may suggest a garage for repair as the garage may offer guarantees on the repairs. The adjuster can also recommend and set up a car rental provided you have an insurance endorsement  for rental vehicles. A partial loss occurs when your vehicle retains some value after an accident. You may suffer a greater financial loss and be eligible for additional compensation. if so, you might consider a “diminished value claim.” To make that type of a claim, you will need to check your state of residence for coverage. If you have a total loss, ask your adjuster about gap insurance. This type of insurance is added to your policy when you purchase your initial coverage. It will cover not only the cost of the vehicle but any outstanding bank loans. 
As to personal injuries, there are three main areas that must be covered; actual bodily harm, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. Actual body harm focuses on all physical injuries. Compensation  would cover all related medical bills, anticipated future medical bills, surgeries, home care, physical therapy and anything that will assist you in returning to your prior accident status. Pain and suffering deals with the emotional impact  you experience after an accident. This includes both the physical pain as well as the mental suffering. Often a mental health professional is used to assist in this type of a claim. In pursuing this claim, you must document all activities  you previously enjoyed. Emotional distress is the feelings you experience on a daily basis. Anger, depression, and hopelessness are just a few of the emotions you can experience after an accident. Professional help allows you to not only recover but to medically document this type of injury.

Step 4: Make a Demand

After the careful collection and review of the evidence, medical records, bills and other relevant documents, it’s time to make a formal demand to the insurance company. While we often get asked “what is my case worth”, the answer is that it varies widely depending on a variety of factors. The demand stage is one of the places where car accident negotiation experience is vital. Remember that just because a lawyer has experience doesn’t mean he or she has experience with Personal Injury cases. Personal Injury law is a complex patchwork of insurance law, contract law, business law and more. As a result, not just any lawyer is accustomed to handling the intricacies of such cases. When you meet with your lawyer for the first time, it is a good idea to find out what their experience is with your specific type of case. If you get the impression that they are unfamiliar with the issues you are having – you should keep looking.
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Christopher A. Sawan


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