While you can reduce the risk of a car accident by following the rules of the road and avoiding unsafe driving behaviors, you cannot control how other people drive. The costs associated with the resulting property damage and injuries can accumulate quickly. However, you may not be responsible for these costs, particularly when the car accident is caused by the other driver. A successful personal injury claim can ensure that you are financially compensated for the damages associated with the accident.
Knowing what steps to take immediately following the crash can make the incident much less overwhelming. If you were injured in a car accident and intend to file a personal injury claim, you should take the following steps:
- Call 911. Call the police immediately if there are injuries and/or significant property damage. When the police officer arrives at the scene, they will fill out a police report. Obtain a copy of the police report, as this will provide valuable evidence that will help with the claims process.
- Collect as much evidence as possible. If you are physically able to do so, take pictures of the accident scene, including the damage to your vehicle, your injuries, skid marks on the road, and any debris on the road. If there are witnesses, ask if they would be willing to provide a statement. Make sure that you exchange information with the other driver, including your contact information, driver’s license numbers, license plate numbers, and insurance information.
- Contact your insurance company. It is important that you call your insurance company as soon as possible, even if you are not entirely sure who caused the accident. Your insurance agent will be able to explain what your policy covers and the compensation to which you are entitled. While you are discussing your case with your insurance agent, you should ask the following questions:
- Do I file a claim with my insurance company or the other driver’s insurance company?
- How long do I have to file a claim?
- What information do I need to provide when filing a claim?
- Wait to hear from the insurance adjuster. If the insurance adjuster contacts you for additional information, only provide the facts, and do not say anything that could be misinterpreted as an admission of fault. Once the adjuster has reviewed all of the facts, they will provide an initial estimate for the cost of repairs. Your insurance company will take this estimate into consideration when determining how much they may pay towards your vehicle’s repair costs.
- Have your vehicle repaired. You can choose the repair shop that you want to handle the repairs. Your insurance may either pay for the repairs directly or reimburse you after you have paid the bill. If you need a rental vehicle while your car is being fixed, your insurance company may cover the cost of the rental.
It is also recommended that you contact an experienced car accident lawyer who can assist you with every step of the claims process, address all of your questions and concerns, and negotiate the best possible settlement outcome for your case.
When Is It Necessary to File an Insurance Claim?
If you were involved in a minor fender-bender that caused minimal damage to your vehicle, and you did not suffer any injuries, you may want to consider whether it is worth your time and effort to file a claim. The general rule of thumb to keep in mind is that if the costs of your damages are less than your deductible, it may not be worth the small payout that you may or may not receive. However, there are scenarios where it is recommended that you file a personal injury claim, including the following:
- There are injuries involved. If you, another passenger in your vehicle, or the other driver suffered any injuries in the accident, a personal injury claim should be filed.
- It is unclear who is responsible for the accident. If you believe that the other driver caused the accident, but they claimed that you were at fault, you may need to file a personal injury claim.
- Your vehicle is totaled or you cannot afford to pay for the damages. If your vehicle was severely damaged, or completely totaled, it can cost thousands of dollars to repair or replace the vehicle. When you file a personal injury claim, you may be reimbursed for these costs.
Dayton Car Accident Lawyers at Wright & Schulte LLC Assist Clients With the Personal Injury Claims Process
If you were involved in a car accident and have questions about the claims process, do not hesitate to contact our Dayton car accident lawyers at Wright & Schulte LLC. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 937-222-7477 or contact us online. Located in Dayton, Ohio, we serve clients in Cincinnati, Columbus, Cleveland, Centerville, Toledo, Youngstown, and Miamisburg.