Sign In  |  Register  |  About Los Altos  |  Contact Us

Los Altos, CA
September 01, 2020 1:26pm
7-Day Forecast | Traffic
  • Search Hotels in Los Altos

  • ROOMS:

Filing for an Auto Insurance Accident Claim in 2023 and Beyond

A car crash can not only ruin your day, and it has the potential to ruin your life if your injuries are serious enough. On occasion, car crashes that weren’t your fault can be fatal. Whatever the case, once your condition has been stabilized and the police have been called in, it’s time to contact your insurance agent so you can file a claim.

But be warned, filing a claim isn’t always the easiest process in the world. In fact, it can be downright confusing. Says The Chopin Law Firm, a New Orleans car accident lawyer. Instead of getting frustrated, you must keep in mind that insurance companies are businesses, not charities. 

What this means is when you file your auto accident claim, the insurance company is a business whose aim is to make a profit no matter how serious your injuries are. One common insurance maneuver is to avoid making the proper payouts on as many claims as possible, legitimate or not, in order to make a profit at year’s end.     

Don’t be surprised if you receive an initial settlement from the other driver’s insurance that appears to be way too low. The company might lead you to believe it’s the best they can do, or they might convince you not to hire a car accident attorney since it will be a waste of time and money. But considering your physical and emotionally vulnerable state, your best bet is to hire the most qualified attorney you can find. 

All this said, what goes into filing a car accident claim? How does the process work? How can you get the most cash possible to assist you not only in your recovery but for lost time at work? According to a new report by Forbes Advisor, even good to great drivers are not immune to accidents, as exemplified by a New Jersey woman who, after purchasing a used 2006 Honda Civic, was smashed into by a hit-and-run driver who ran a red light. 

While the woman was lucky to have received only minor physical injuries, she still suffers from the emotional trauma a bad accident can cause. What’s worse is that many months after being involved in a traffic accident that wasn’t her fault, she has yet to receive her insurance settlement. Her frustration is said to be so great that she’s filed a claim against the insurance company that represents the hit-and-run driver.     

This woman is not alone. 

In the U.S. alone, about six million crashes are reported by law enforcement officials every year, or so states the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA. Around three million people are either badly injured or killed in these vehicular crashes. This translates into a huge number of insurance claims and lawsuits every single year. 

When Filing an Insurance Claim Against Another Party

Simply said, if another party crashes into you via their own negligence, you have the right to make a claim against their liability insurance company. This is what’s known as a third-party claim since you are the third party to the insurance company and their client, the negligent driver. 

It’s likely that the claim will be properly processed, but if you’re looking for a quick and easy payment, don’t count on it. The driver’s insurer will almost certainly investigate the accident to determine if their client is truly at fault. 

Tapping Into Your Own Insurance to Remedy the Situation

Says Forbes, if the insurance claims process was simple, we might all call ourselves insurance experts. When another party has caused an accident via their own negligence, it is only natural to feel like they should pay for what they’ve done. But there will be cases where you have no choice but to appeal to your own auto insurance company even if the accident wasn’t your fault. 

Here are the ways in which this can occur: 

–No-Fault States

In U.S. states where no-fault insurance is the law, you will always be required to make your injury claim with your own insurance company first. This is why these states require drivers to retain PIP or personal injury protection insurance. But you will be allowed to sue another driver for negligence if you meet certain qualifications which each state must define by law. 

In most cases, there will need to be a fatality or serious injury before you can legally sue someone for a car crash that occurs in a no-fault state. Also, claims of property damage can almost always be made on the other driver’s liability insurance.  

No-fault law states make available PIP and another type of personal protection coverage referred to as MedPay or medical payments. These are utilized for injury claims both for yourself and your passengers should they have suffered injuries in a crash.  

–Underinsured Drivers

It’s possible the driver who crashed into you does not possess enough insurance to properly cover the injuries he or she caused you or your passengers. It’s possible to sue them for the remainder of what they owe you, but if they don’t possess enough assets or cash, it could be a fool’s errand. 

Another option is to consider turning to your own underinsured motorist coverage. It just might cover at least some medical bills when the other driver doesn’t have enough insurance to cover anything at all.  

Ignoring the Other Driver’s Insurance 

It’s also possible to stick with using your own insurance for auto damage instead of dealing with the other driver’s insurance company. If you have purchased collision insurance, you can use it for vehicular damage that was caused by another party. 

But there’s a downside to this option. The insurance check will be reduced by the amount of your collision deductible. However, your insurance company reserves the right to go after the other driver’s insurance company for the cost of the deductible.  

If you’ve retained rental reimbursement coverage, you can utilize that for a rental vehicle while your car is in the shop for repairs under the auspices of a collision claim. 

–Being Issued the Car Loan Balance 

If it so happens your car was totaled in an accident, it’s expected that insurance will compensate you for the full value of your vehicle soon after the accident occurred. This should happen whether you’ve decided to make a claim by using your own collision insurance or the other driver’s insurance. 

Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean the insurance problem is automatically solved. It’s possible you could own more on the car lease or loan than the car was worth. This is usually the case when, for instance, you financed almost all of the car’s cost or you possess a vehicle that loses its value quickly as soon as you drive it off the lot. But by having gap insurance, it’s possible to provide the difference between the insurance payout and the balance on the loan or lease. 

–Engage in a Lawsuit

One method for getting the compensation you deserve is by hiring a lawyer to sue the other driver. It will be up to your counsel to establish that the other driver was at fault, especially if they point the finger right back at you. This is where items of evidence such as photos taken at the scene, police reports, and witness statements will help establish the other driver’s guilt. 

If the anticipated settlement for the vehicular accident is small or $3,000 or less, and the case is provable, you can take the other driver to small claims court. Each U.S. state differs somewhat, but almost all possess some version of a small claims court. The filing fees for going to small claims court are said to be reasonable, and your case should be heard within a month or two at most. 

It’s possible for your lawyer to subpoena witnesses, which can include the insurer’s claims adjuster, the other driver, and anyone who was involved in the accident, including witnesses. You need to bring along all the pertinent information you can, including certified estimates for the cost of repairs. 

The good thing about going to small claims court is that it will force the other driver’s insurance company to send a lawyer to court, plus any witnesses required to defend their case or to dispute the amount requested in the lawsuit. In the final analysis, this could lead to settlement talks. 

The Scene of the Accident

Safeguarding your right to sue the other driver is said to begin at the scene of the accident. It’s said to be good practice to have in your possession an accident checklist to assist you with gathering the proper information. 

The first important step is to make sure you are physically okay and safe. If you’ve just been in an accident, take a step back and breathe. Make sure you and your passengers are not injured. Remember that even soft tissue injuries like bruises are enough to raise the stakes on a potential insurance claim. 

Next, you want to call the police by dialing 911, then exchange information with the other driver. You need to take as many photos as you can using your cell phone. Take photos of the damage to your vehicle, all license plates involved, road conditions such as rain, snow, or ice, plus other factors like road signs and nearby intersections. Also, make sure to get photos of the other driver’s insurance cards.  

If you’re the victim of an accident, you need to do everything in your power to see that you’re not only compensated for your injuries but also for the damage to your car. This not only means filing a claim with your insurance company and the other driver’s insurance company, it means hiring the most reputable lawyer you can find. 

Read more investing news on to the PressReach RSS feeds:

Follow PressReach on Twitter
Follow PressReach on TikTok
Follow PressReach on Instagram
Subscribe to us on Youtube

Data & News supplied by
Stock quotes supplied by Barchart
Quotes delayed at least 20 minutes.
By accessing this page, you agree to the following
Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions.
Copyright © 2010-2020 & California Media Partners, LLC. All rights reserved.