Tips For Settling A Motor Vehicle Accident Claim
After the radiator steam has settled on your damaged car, you'll need to shift focus towards filing an accident claim. This requires switching to the mindset of an investigative reporter and gathering as much information as possible.
The more information you know and provide, the tougher it becomes for the presiding insurance company to minimize your compensation.
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1) Gather All Motor Vehicle Accident Claim Information
Auto insurance companies require a lot of information for auto claims; therefore, one of the best ways you can settle your car accident claim is to make sure you gather, hang onto, and later submit everything your claims adjuster will need.
This information includes:
- The names, contact numbers, and insurance information (policy numbers, expiration dates, providers) of all involved parties.
- Witness names and numbers, if applicable. This will help in determining fault should there be a dispute.
- The name and badge number of the police officer who gathered information for the police report.
- The police report number. This will assist the insurance company you filed the accident claim with track down the report.
- The vehicle information of every vehicle involved in the crash. This includes the car's year, make, model, license plate number, and vehicle identification number.
- The exact location of the accident. Be as detailed as possible in describing the accident scene. Include the type of road (one lane, two lanes, four lanes), weather conditions, street signs, signals, and lane striping (double, passing, yellow, white).
- The date and time of the car accident.
- Record how many passengers were involved in each vehicle. Also make note of gender, ethnicity, and approximate height.
- Describe, as best you can, the car's damage. Be sure to include if the vehicle already had existing damage.
- Photos of the accident. The more the better. Take pictures from different angles, mixing close-ups with long distance shots.
2) Work With Auto Body and Repair Shops
In addition to collecting all the accident-related information you can, you'll also want to:
- Obtain multiple estimates from various auto body shops. This will give you a good idea on whether or not the claims adjuster is trying to shortchange you on your compensation.
- Research the cost of car body parts. This will also protect you against a low settlement.
- Let your claims adjuster know the name, number, and address of the repair shop you plan to use.
3) Know When to Hire an Attorney
Sometimes, you just can't do it alone. Maybe you're having trouble with your insurance company or claims adjuster, or maybe the car accident and subsequent bodily or property damage is too extensive to handle on your own.
In situations like these, it's best to hire an attorney who's experienced with settling motor vehicle accident claims.