With so many car accidents occurring each year, it is important to know exactly what to do after an accident occurs. This helpful guide will see you through the after-accident process and ensure that you follow proper protocol prior to a crash as well as get your auto accident claim filed quickly and accurately. Let’s get started…
Car Accident Claims: What Do I Do First?
Before you call your insurance company or even the police for that matter, the first thing you should do is check to be sure that everyone is OK both in your car and any other vehicles that may be involved. After this, you should call the police if any of the following occurs: an accident that results in death or injury or if there is at least $500 in damages to any vehicles or other properties. If an officer does need to come out to access the situation, they will begin by investigating the incident and filing a report. You can find a nifty list of contacts by county via your local county website but it may be more helpful to have this information stored in your phone or your car’s glove compartment just in case you ever need it.
Filing an Accident Report
There is no law that says that you need to keep one in your car, however, you may wish to keep a copy in your glove box to save time. This will remind you to keep track of any critical information and fill it out for later on. This will come in handy for both filing a report and for contacting your insurance company. It can be difficult to remember all the details if you are not swift to write them down and this can solve the problem.
What You’ll Need for the Report
You will need the following information for both yourself and the other party:
• Contact information that includes a full name, address and phone number of everyone involved — even passengers
• License number and birthday of the drivers that are involved in the crash
• The make, model and year of all automobiles in the accident
• License plate number, registration and name of the state in which the vehicle is registered
• Damage to vehicles and any estimated repair prices
• Insurance company contact information
• Property damage other than any derived from the vehicle itself
With this in mind, your accident report will also ask for very specific info such as where the accident occurred, what the weather was during this time, the conditions of the road and any traffic control signs you noticed…
Filing Car Accident Claims with Your Insurance Company
The first thing to know is that if you drive then you will likely, at some point, be involved in an accident or incident that damages your car. Collisions, however, are not the only reason you may need to file a claim. You may also need to file a claim if your car has been vandalized, stolen or damaged by another source such as a fire or weather source. For reference, your insurance company’s phone number is located on your insurance card, usually on the front. If you have misplaced your card, you can also find this number by looking online or in your printed policy document. Some insurance companies even have a web form to file claims online.
What You Will Need to File a Claim
When you call the insurance company, it is a good idea to have the following information ready:
• Your name and policy number
• The beginning date and end date of your insurance policy
• The time and date of the accident
• Contact information for any passengers, drivers or witnesses
• The plate numbers and license numbers of all drivers involved in the incident
Depending upon the company and the unique circumstances, the insurance company may ask for a sworn statement that gives the specifics of the accident and how it occurred. You should also submit any notes pertaining to any harm that may have been derived from the accident as well as any photos you took of any damage that you noticed.
What Happens Next?
Once you file a claim, it should play out something like this… your case will be assigned to an agent who will work with you on your claim. This will be your primary contact from this point forward. You may need to meet with the claims adjuster or speak with them on the phone to answer any questions that they may have. Next, you will likely have your car examined by a professional decided upon by your insurance company. Depending upon the findings, you will be issued any payments that are owned to you and your case will then be closed out.
While insurance claims normally go over smoothly, sometimes there can be roadblocks that can prevent the insurance company from delivering payment on your claim. If NYC car accident insurance claims are not met as expected, you may need a little help proving your case and getting the reimbursement that you deserve. This is where a good NYC car accident lawyer who specializes in car accidents and insurance claims can help. With the experience and time it takes to get your claims met, you can focus on getting back to life as usual while your lawyer focuses on getting your claim approved.