Ask anyone what they wish never to encounter? The answer will be definitely, a car accident. It does not matter if you are just learning to drive a car or have a long experience. It can happen to anyone. It can lead to serious physical and emotional distress. The car gets damaged as well.
When one encounters such moments, they do not know what and how to react.
So, here is a little guide to what to do immediately after an accident:
- Check for the injuries: Ensure that you and your co-passengers are fine. If another vehicle is involved, check with them too. If someone needs immediate first-aid, provide them with that. There are cases when car accidents are hit and run cases. If you happen to spot one, reach out to help. You may serve as a piece of crucial evidence in their favor.
- Call the police and ambulance: Dial to police and ambulance as soon as possible. You may not have an evident physical injury but may have some internal trauma. So, it is best to get medical help. Also, the report from the police is an important part of the investigation. It will help you with insurance claims too.
- Get information from other parties: If the other driver is not insane, he/she will stay till you get police and medical help. In most cases, they too need their help. Meanwhile, you collect their information regarding insurance. Ask for their contact number and keep them in the loop while you claim the insurance.
When you do these steps in the aftermath of the accident, the next step is going for the insurance claim. We suggest that you get yourself a lawyer first. They will guide you about the car insurance claim stages. They will also give their expert advice. It will save you lots of time and effort.
The main problem with most victims is their total unawareness of the claim process. They think that it easy and will be done within a few days. The process is easy if you furnish all the information. Here is the tricky part; most drivers do not know which formation is relevant. They do not what are the stages of the insurance claim.
Here we have compiled a list of steps that most insurance companies follow. We would like to draw your attention to the part that each company has a different approach. Broadly, they follow the same steps.
The car accident claim stages are:
- Get an attorney and collect information:
The claim process begins with a pre-litigation phase. You need to hire an attorney who has experience in dealing with such cases. Collect all the evidence regarding the accident. Discuss with your attorney about the insurance claim and how to make it strong. Get an expert evaluation done for your body in case of physical injury.
Contact doctors and also the paramedics who arrived at the scene of the accident. Get your car assessed for damage in a reputed garage. You can file an insurance claim for emotional trauma as well. So, be sure to take help from a psychologist. Your attorney’s role is very important in this phase. Apart from these evaluations, he/she will also collect evidence from the accident spot. It can be information about the other driver, weather conditions, etc.
- Filing the claim:
With the information, your attorney collects; you need to file the claim with your insurance company. The insurance company usually assigns adjuster for each case. Adjuster sees your case and offers an out of the court deal. In most cases, they offer a fair deal to the victim. Getting involved in court cases is expensive for both parties. So, the insurance company does its best to stay away from it. However, if they fail to offer you a fair deal, you are always open to approach the court.
- The court case:
If you and your lawyer feel that the adjuster has not offered a fair deal, you should file a lawsuit in the court. Once that is done, you and the insurance company are two parties. You should abide by the court procedures. Have all the documents, photographs reports, and evidence in place. If anyone needs to be attested, get it done. You might be referred t the bench trial or a jury trial. Initially, such cases are referred to as bench trials.
Here is the tricky part. Lawsuits are unpredictable. You can have all the right papers and yet lose because the judge feels so. In most of the cases, mediation is done. It saves both the parties from lengthy case hearings. However, if you still feel cheated, you can go for the trial.
- Trial phase:
Car accidents happen most of the time. Around 3 million people are injured in car accidents every year in the USA. Of these, only 2% are jury trials. This is because trial cases are lengthy. Usually, they last for a year. This prompts both parties to make an out of the court settlement. If the insurance firm does not offer good compensation, it becomes imperative to approach the jury trial. It may involve extreme physical injury or loss of life. Sometimes, it involves car manufacturers too. Technical defaults can lead to severe accidents. If the jury pleads a party guilty, they have to pay compensation to the victim.
Whether you or your loved one have been in a car accident, it becomes important to seek justice. The whole process can be tiring and exhaustive. You need to keep yourself together. It becomes important to maintain mental and emotional stability especially if you have lost a loved one. Do not let go of your insurance claim. Get a good lawyer who has experience in this field. Collect your documents and evidence. Always try to get the best deal possible. Having prior knowledge of the car accident claim stages is always helpful.