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If you have ever been involved in a car accident, you know that it is very important to understand what your car insurance policy covers, what your rights and responsibilities to your insurance carrier are, how the car accident insurance claim process works, and how you can collect the maximum settlement in your car accident property damage and bodily injury claims. Here you will find detailed information about the car accident insurance claim process.

What to do after a car accident

Being involved in a car accident can be a nerve-wracking experience. It is very important to know what to do after a car accident in order to protect you and your passengers, get your car repaired, receive proper medical care for any injuries caused by the accident, and settle your property damage and bodily injury claims fairly with the insurance company, as well as being reimbursed for your pain, suffering, loss of earnings, and out-of-pocket expenses.


Reporting your accident & filing an insurance claim

Typically, if you are involved in a car accident, you should report it to the police, the insurance company, and the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). When reporting the accident to the insurance company, there are several important factors to consider, all of which can have an effect on the outcome of your claim. You may consider consulting an attorney before filing a claim with the insurance company.


Determining liability in a car accident

Keep in mind that car accident fault / liability is decided by the insurance company adjusters. When filing a claim, you are building a case for yourself, just like the other party is building a case against you. You should obtain all the evidence available that will help you prove that the accident was not your fault. Examples of such evidence are police reports, witness statements, photos of the scene and damage done to the cars, and all relevant paperwork.


Fixing your car / Property damage claim

After a car accident, your vehicle needs to be inspected by the insurance company. It is usually most beneficial to have the car towed to a body shop you are planning to use for repairs. The insurance company adjuster will inspect the car at the shop and write up a repair estimate. Sometimes they can issue the check to the shop on the spot, so your can start being repaired right away. Depending on the insurance policy, you may be eligible for a rental car coverage while your own vehicle is being repaired, or loss of use reimbursement.


Medical treatment / Bodily injury claim

If you are injured in a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you can file a bodily injury claim against the responsible party. Even when there are no broken bones, or cuts, being in a car accident often results in soft tissue injuries. After an initial examination at the emergency room or by your regular physician, you may want to seek treatment from a chiropractor or a doctor who specializes in treating soft tissue injuries caused by car accidents.


Claim investigation and disputes

It is not uncommon for parties to disagree on who’s fault the accident was, and who should be responsible for the damages. If the party you feel is at fault is not accepting liability, and you are not familiar with the claim investigation / dispute process, you may want to contact an attorney for advice. If you choose to prove your case on your own, you should be aware of how the investigation process works, what rights and responsibilities you have, and which factors may help or hurt your case.

Legal representation / Do you need a lawyer?

More often than not, it may be highly advisable to seek legal representation when dealing with the aftermath of a car accident. Insurance companies train their adjusters to close claims as cheaply as possible, which means you have to not only know your rights, but often have to fight with the adjuster to get the type of settlement you deserve. For the average consumer, it is recommended to consult an attorney, especially when dealing with serious bodily injury.