After you report an accident, the car insurance company will assign your claim to an adjuster who will investigate the accident and your injuries. The insurance company will then decide who it thinks is at fault. If your portion of the fault is 50 percent or less, the insurance company will offer to pay you for your injuries and the damage to your car. You can accept the offer or try to negotiate for more money.
It is important to understand that the insurance company may offer you less than your claim is worth, to make a bigger profit for itself. If you are not happy with the insurance company’s offer, you do have options. Car accident attorneys in Atlanta, Georgia can help you decide what to do.
What happens when I make a claim?
If you are in an accident, you should report the accident to your own insurance company as soon as you are able. The person you talk to will ask you some questions about the accident, such as when, where and what happened, and the other cars or drivers were involved. Answer these questions with facts and try to avoid guessing at how the accident happened or who might have been at fault. Never take the blame or apologize.
Your insurance company will assign an adjuster who will look into the facts of the accident, reviewing the police report, vehicle damage, witness statements and other information to determine who was at fault. The other driver’s insurance company will do the same.
What should I say to the other driver’s insurance company?
A representative from the other driver’s insurance company will probably call and ask to record a statement from you. You are NOT required to give the other insurance company a recorded statement, and in fact it is almost always a bad idea. Insurance company employees are trained to ask questions that will get you to say things that will hurt your claim – such as admitting that an accident might have been your fault, or saying that you feel fine when really you do not. Once it is on tape, it is hard to show that you didn’t really mean what you said.
The best thing to do is to say that you need to talk to your lawyer before you can give a recorded statement. Then set up a consultation and discuss the matter with a good car accident lawyer.
Will the other driver’s insurance company pay my claim?
It should, if the other driver is “at fault” in the accident. Here are some things to know:
- You can be partly at fault and still recover money from the other driver’s insurance, as long as you were less than 50 percent at fault. The amount will be reduced, however, if you are partly to blame.
- If the other driver doesn’t have insurance, or if your injuries will cost more than the other driver’s insurance coverage, your own uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage may pay.
- Many car accident claims are resolved within a few weeks, but if you have been in a serious or complex accident, it can take longer.
Should I accept an offer or negotiate with the insurance company?
The insurance company has probably offered you less than your claim is worth, but it can be hard to tell when your doctors haven’t told you how much more treatment you will need or when you can expect to go back to work. You may feel pressured to take the offer, especially if your money is running low. But when you accept an insurance check, you also give up your right to negotiate for more money.
The best way to know what to do is to talk to a car accident lawyer. A car accident lawyer has the experience to evaluate an insurance offer. An accident lawyer can investigate your accident, get you a full medical evaluation, and estimate how much money you will really need. And an accident lawyer knows how to go head to head with an insurance company and negotiate an amount that will truly pay the cost of your accident.
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