What to Do During an Auto Accident Insurance Claim
- DO read my Auto Accident Guide because your personal injury case begins before you leave the scene of the accident.
- DO read your insurance policy as soon as you receive it, or as soon as you can after an accident. If you know what your policy covers, you put yourself in a better position to receive a fair settlement that covers all the losses for which the car insurance company is responsible.
- DO be certain to confirm that you have selected the Full Tort Option.
- DO contact your own insurance carrier as soon as possible after the accident or injury.
- DO respond promptly and honestly to any insurance company’s requests for information. Delaying or denying information may be seen as grounds for refusing your claim.
- DO gather as many details as you can about the accident. For example, taking pictures of any property or vehicle damage and collecting the contact information of witnesses to the accident can be invaluable in car accident settlement negotiation. Also, get the insurance information of any other person or vehicle involved in the accident.
- DO keep records of every communication you have with any insurance company, officer, or agent involved in the claim. Also, keep records of every communication with any other person involved in the claim. Each time you communicate with any of these parties, write down the date and time and summarize the communication. Keep backup copies of all written communication, like letters or emails.
- DO save receipts and bills for all expenses related to your claim. These include bills and receipts for repair work on a damaged vehicle or other property, medical treatment for your injuries, and other losses. If you’re not sure whether an expense is related to your claim, save the receipt or bill just in case.
- DO review your other insurance policies to see if they cover the specific accident you were involved in. Some examples include homeowner’s insurance, workers’ compensation, or disability insurance.
What Not to Do During an Auto Accident Insurance Claim
- DON’T volunteer information to police officers, others involved in the accident, or insurance company agents. Answer questions honestly, but stick to the facts, and never speculate.
- DON’T limit your rights by selecting the Limited Tort Option.
- DON’T admit liability, even if you believe you were at fault for the accident. Fault in a Pennsylvania car, motorcycle or trucking accident is affected by many different factors. If you admit fault, you may jeopardize your chances at a full and fair insurance settlement even if your behavior was not actually the cause of the accident.
- DON’T give any information in writing to your insurance company or any other insurance company before you have had a chance to review your policy, or while you still have questions about your policy or your claim.
- DON’T assume your insurance agent has the last word, especially when it comes to estimating the value of your claim. Do seek an injury attorney’s help to estimate the value of your auto accident claim.
- DON’T sign a release or waiver of any kind. If you’ve been asked to sign a document and you aren’t sure if it contains a release or waiver, consult with an experienced personal injury attorney for help.
- DON’T accept any payment as a full and final payment unless you are certain that the amount fairly compensates you for your losses. This is most easily accomplished by retaining a car accident attorney handling auto accident claims throughout Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County and Philadelphia County
Know Your Rights
Under Pennsylvania law, you may be entitled to monetary damages if you have been injured in a car crash through the negligence or recklessness of another person. Damages may include reimbursement or compensation for:
- Past medical costs
- Future medical costs
- Pain, suffering, and inconvenience
- Lost wages
- Loss of economic opportunity
- Funeral expenses
Many insurance companies will contact you as early as the day after a crash to obtain a recorded statement about your injuries and your accident, but giving a statement might not in your best interest and you are under no legal obligation to provide such a statement. Before speaking with any insurance company representatives, protect yourself by contacting an attorney to discuss your situation. If you have a case, an attorney can help you:
- Recover damages you are entitled to from the negligent driver’s insurance company.
- Pursue uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage and medical payments coverage from your own insurance company.
- Obtain a fair settlement offer for damages through negotiation.
- Collect evidence may need to be presented to protect your claim to appropriate financial compensation for your injuries.
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