You are a cautious driver who is always responsible behind the wheel. Unfortunately, all of the precautions that you take may not be enough to avoid an accident. Statistics show that the average driver in the United States will be involved in a crash and will file an insurance claim every 17.9 years. With over two million people suffering injuries in car accidents every year, it’s essential for every driver to know how to respond if he or she is involved in a collision.
From knowing what to do at the scene of an accident to how to interact properly with insurance companies afterward, a little preparation and knowledge of how the system operates can mean the difference between receiving fair compensation and having your claim denied. With the average car accident insurance claim (covering all parties involved) costing almost $24,000, you can’t afford to be ill-prepared in the event of an accident.
Many people have never been involved in a car accident and have no idea how to deal with insurance companies after an accident. A motorist’s inexperience combined with the insurance company’s focus on maximizing profits often leaves accident victims without the compensation they need to pay for necessary medical expenses or repair bills after an accident. That’s why it is crucial to hire an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible after a crash to let them handle every interaction with your insurance company and the other party’s provider.
What should I do at the scene?
Your health and safety should be your priority in the moments following an accident. If you are able, call the police and emergency services immediately to report the accident. You should give assistance to anyone else injured in the accident. If anyone needs emergency medical attention, ask the dispatcher to send an ambulance. If the accident did not involve injuries, you should move your vehicle off the road if possible. Do not stand in an active lane of traffic. Indiana law requires that motorists exchange driver’s license and insurance information. Write down the contact details and statements of witnesses to the accident. These statements can corroborate your claim that the other driver was at fault. Take as many photos of the accident area and damage to your vehicle. It’s best to document the scene to strengthen your claim.
How do I report an accident?
Timing is everything when dealing with insurance companies. Don’t waste a moment before calling your insurance company and reporting the accident. Beware of the other driver trying to convince you not to get the insurance companies involved, especially if the collision was their fault.
The at-fault driver may offer to pay your repair bills out of pocket if you don’t call the police. But that driver can change his or her mind after leaving the scene. Without a police report documenting the crash, you will have a hard time proving the other driver was at fault and getting their insurance to pay for your damages. Without an accident report, it will be your word against that of the other driver.
What do I say to the insurance adjuster?
If you remember only one thing when dealing with insurance companies, keep in mind that insurance adjusters are not on your side—regardless of how friendly they seem. An insurance company’s goal is to pay as little as possible. Insurance adjusters may try to trick you into admitting the accident was partially your fault. You need to be careful.
We recommend you speak with an attorney first and let them handle interactions with the insurer. If you are contacted by your insurance company before you hire legal counsel, inform them of the accident but do not go into details of what happened and never volunteer additional information.
Avoid any statements where you admit partial fault. Don’t apologize, and don’t admit that you aren’t hurt. While you may not be experiencing any symptoms of injuries immediately after the accident, you may in the following days or weeks.
Do I have to talk with the other driver’s insurance company?
In most cases, the other driver’s insurance company will try to contact you following an accident to ask you questions and get your side of the story. While you should always report the accident to your insurance company, you are not legally required to speak with the other driver’s insurance company. This is especially important if anyone involved has suffered severe injuries from the accident.
If the accident involved injuries and someone else was at fault, you should always consult with a personal injury attorney before speaking with the other driver’s insurance. Your attorney can provide guidance about how to respond.
Should I agree to let my statement or conversation be recorded?
An insurer may want to record your statement or have you sign a written statement. We strongly suggest that you do not sign anything or agree to a recorded statement until you have consulted with a legal representative. That way, you don’t accidentally say something or disclose information that could reduce the value of your claim. After consulting with a lawyer, we can proceed to provide an official statement.
The insurance company offered me a settlement. Should I agree to it?
The aftermath of an accident can be chaotic and stressful, especially if you’ve suffered serious injuries. Some insurance companies will try to pressure you to accept a settlement as quickly as possible. Quick settlement offers are typically a fraction of the fair value of an injury claim and could leave you with thousands of dollars of medical debt. Do not sign anything or accept a settlement until you have consulted with an attorney and he or she has examined your case and determined the extent of your present and future losses.
The aftermath of a serious injury accident can be an incredibly stressful time in your life. Dealing with insurance companies along with your injuries and other property damage can leave you feeling anxious and completely overwhelmed. Let an experienced Indianapolis car accident attorney at Craig, Kelley & Faultless LLC handle all the details of your case and every interaction with the insurance company. Call us at (888) 937-3862 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation today.