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The Do's and Don'ts of Car Accident Claims

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), roughly six million motorists in the United States are involved in traffic accidents each year. Most of these accidents result in the involved parties filing a claim with their auto insurance company in pursuit of compensation for their bodily injuries, lost wages, vehicle damages, and other types of losses. If you have been involved in a car accident, your communication with your insurance company will play a major role in both the value of your potential settlement and your potential liability for your collision.

During a car accident insurance claim, it is important you DO the following:

  • Do read your insurance policy thoroughly both prior to your collision and as soon as you can after. Understanding exactly what your policy does and does not cover can put you in a better position to negotiate for a fair settlement that covers all of your compensable losses.
  • Do get in touch with your insurance provider as soon as possible and inform them of your Collison.
  • Do take detailed notes of any correspondence between you and your insurance company related to your claim.
  • Do respond to your insurance company’s communications promptly and honestly. Delaying or omitting pertinent information in your responses may be grounds for a denial of your claim.
  • Do collect as much evidence as you can about your collision. This includes taking detailed photographs of the damage to your vehicle, damage to the other involved vehicles, damage to public property, tire tracks, and recording the contact information of all involved parties and witnesses. Most importantly, be sure to get the insurance information of any other person or vehicle involved in the crash.
  • Do save all receipts, bills, and invoices related to any expenses you have incurred as a result of your accident. This includes bills for vehicle repairs, medical treatments, and any other relevant losses. If you are unsure if a particular expense can be included in your claim, save the receipt anyway.

Likewise, it is equally important that you DO NOT do any of the following:

  • Don’t discuss the accident with anyone other than your insurance provider or your attorney.
  • Don’t apologize for the collision. Even simple statements such as “I’m sorry” or “I didn’t see you” can be misconstrued as admissions of fault and jeopardize your claim.
  • Don’t admit liability. If you admit fault, you may lose your right to receive a fair settlement for your losses.
  • Don’t speculate or volunteer any information to police, the other involved drivers, or your insurance company. Be honest, but be sure to stick to the facts.
  • Don’t automatically accept any estimates your insurers may present to you.
  • Don’t ignore deadlines established in your policy.
  • Don’t sign any sort of release waiver without first seeking legal advice. While your financial situation after a major loss may make it seem like it is necessary to accept a settlement as soon as possible, in most cases, initial offers are often far less than what you actually deserve.
  • Don’t submit any written communication to your insurance company before thoroughly reading your policy.
  • Don’t accept any checks that say “final payment” unless you are sure that they fully compensate you for all of your losses.
  • Don’t assume that your insurance company is always right or that they have the final word, particularly in regards to the value of your claim. You have the right to seek your own estimates and retain the services of an attorney to ensure you receive your entitled compensation.

If you have been injured in a car accident, Hutton & Hutton Law Firm, LLC is here to help. Our team of Wichita personal injury lawyers have recovered more than $400 million on behalf of our injured clients and can provide the powerful support you need. To find out more about how we can assist you, call (316) 313-4137 or schedule a complimentary consultation today to review your legal options.

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