When you or someone you care about has been involved in a car accident, you may be wondering how to go about settling a damage or injury claim. If the other driver caused the accident, you will likely be dealing with the other driver’s insurance company. It is important to understand that the insurance company is going to require a lot of information from you, making it imperative to gather as much as possible at the scene of the accident or shortly thereafter.
If you or someone in your car has been seriously injured, you may want to call a family member or friend to help you gather pertinent information. However, if you have not sustained an injury that requires medical attention, you should write down the name and contact information for the other driver, the other driver’s insurance company, any law enforcement officers that attend the scene, and any witnesses to the accident.
Whenever possible, it is a good idea to take, or have someone else take photographs at the scene of the accident. As most people have cell phones with camera capabilities, this is fairly easy to accomplish. These pictures should include the locations of the vehicles, all areas of damage, and the license plates of each vehicle involved.
Another important thing to keep in mind is that insurance companies are NEVER on your side. They are in the insurance business to make money and paying out as little as possible on a claim helps them achieve a profitable bottom line. Insurance company representatives will work diligently to reduce your claim by arguing that the accident was completely or at least partially your fault, or that you haven’t produced adequate documentation to support your claim. They may argue both points.
The claims process can be extremely frustrating, but the more documentation and information you can provide, the more likely you will be to receive fair compensation for your damages. Insurance companies are not required to settle a claim, and they may end up offering a settlement that seems unfair and inadequate, especially if you are seriously injured. The adjuster might simply tell you, “This is the most we are going to offer. If you want more money, then you’ll need to file a lawsuit.”
Property Damage Claims
If you are making a claim for property damage only, it may include damage to your vehicle as well as damage to personal property for miscellaneous items than may have been in the car, such as a computer. You may also be entitled to recoup the cost of a rental car while your vehicle is being repaired or the cost of a taxi or Uber that you hired to get home from the scene of the accident or the police station.
The insurance company will only enter into a settlement agreement if it is in the best interest of the company. Fortunately, if you are armed with adequate documentation, it is usually in the best interest of the company to settle rather than go through the expense of litigation, especially when the outcome is uncertain.
Accidents with Injuries
When a car accident is more serious and includes injuries, the legal issues involved become much more complicated. In addition to property damage, you may be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering, as well as reimbursement for medical expenses and lost wages. Even if you feel you are capable of negotiating a settlement involving property damage, we would strongly recommend speaking with a team of experienced lawyers for Chicago car accident injury insurance claims.
How Our Lawyers Can Help
Being involved in an accident, especially a serious one, is not something anyone does on a regular basis. However, an experienced Chicago car accident lawyer handles hundreds of injury claims, offering a decided advantage when it comes to preparing yours.
At Shea Law Group, we have handled countless car accident injury insurance claims, and we know what it takes to help you achieve the settlement you are entitled to. If you or someone you care about has been involved in a car accident, don’t risk your financial future, reach out to our compassionate legal team at (877)-365-0040 before agreeing to any settlement.