Five Tips For Filing Your Car Accident Claim

Posted on: 18 July 2017


After you are involved in a car accident, one of the first things you need to do is file a claim with your insurance company. Though you would hope this would be a simple process, that's not always the case. It's important to follow the tips below to ensure that your claim is filed successfully -- and you can get the money you deserve in a timely manner. 

File as soon as possible.

After the accident, you're bound to feel a bit frazzled and frustrated. However, it's not wise to put off filing your claim "until you feel better" or "until the dust settles." The longer you wait, the harder time you'll have recalling certain details about the collision. Work on your claim as soon as you are physically able. If your arms or hands are sore, you can have a spouse or friend help you fill out the various forms.

Many companies now allow you to file a claim over the phone. A representative will ask various questions, and you will just answer them. They may then mail you out a paper form you need to complete with additional information.

If you're missing information, file anyways.

Sometimes people who are in car accidents put off filing their claims because they don't have every piece of information that the claim form calls for. However, this can be a mistake. If too much time passes, the insurance company may have a harder time getting in touch with the other driver, witnesses, and other involved parties.

If you're filling out an insurance claim report and come across information you simply do not have and cannot find out, just leave that line blank. The insurance company may not need it -- or if they do, they might give you a call, and you can put more work into finding the information at that point. For now, just make sure the claim is fully filed so you've gotten the ball rolling. Payout dates are often based on the day the initial claim is filed, so this will help you get your payout sooner.

Include photographs, if you have them.

Insurance claim forms sometimes ask you to draw a sketch of how the accident occurred. You'll also have to describe, in words, how the collision happened. It's important that you include the sketch and description, but remember that a picture is worth a thousand words. If you have photos of the accident, include copies of them with your claim paperwork. They'll serve as additional proof if there is any question as to the amount of damage your car sustained or where the accident happened.

Be honest.

You may be tempted to exaggerate the amount of damage your body or the car sustained. You may also be tempted to lie about the speed you were traveling or your level of distraction during the accident. However, lying on your insurance claim is never a good idea. If the insurance company finds that one part of your claim is a lie, they may deny the whole thing and possibly even charge you with insurance fraud -- which is worse that getting a little less compensation than you requested.

If your claim is denied, hire an attorney.

Many car accident claims are approved after a few days or weeks. If your claim is denied and you truly feel like you deserve compensation, don't hesitate to hire a car accident attorney. They can help you collect the additional evidence you need to successfully appeal the claim. Depending on the situation, they may need to sue your insurance company in order to get you the funds you deserve. In either case, it is far easier to take this route with the guidance of an experienced attorney at firms like Daniels Long & Pinsel.