Car accidents happen when we least expect it. When you find yourself facing the damage from a car accident, there are steps to take to get your life back to normal. If you have a personal injury claim with your car accident, you not only need to file an insurance claim, but you need to find a good personal injury lawyer. I am writing a guide including tips to help you get started when filing an auto insurance claim so you can save time.
Seven Tips to Cover When Filing an Auto Insurance Claim
Estimates. If you are not in the hospital the next day you need to run around and get two estimates for the damage to your car. If you are in the hospital when you are released you will need to get two estimates for your car. If your car was totaled do not call the salvage yard to come and get your car for $100. You need to wait for the insurance company to have the salvage yard come to get your car. The insurance company actually owns your totaled car if they are giving you money to replace your car. I almost had the salvage yard haul my totaled car away. The day before they were scheduled to come to get my car I called the other parties insurance company and they told me they do that. I called the salvage yard and cancelled my appointment. You can photograph your car while you are waiting. You may need photos to give to your lawyer. The photos of your car may be shown to a jury if you go to trial.
Photos. If you are injured you need to start taking photographs of all of your injuries immediately. You do not need to see a professional photographer. You can have a family member or a friend take pictures of your injury or injuries. Do not take photos of you smiling. You are supposed to be injured. Someone in pain will not be smiling. Your personal injury photos may be shown to a jury if you have to go to trial to recover for damages. You do not want any jury member to see you smiling when you are saying you are in pain.
Police Report. If the police came to the accident scene they will write up an accident report. You may need to get a copy of the police report. The police officer told me the accident report would be ready in 48 hours and I would have to pay for it. I kept calling the police station to see if the police report was ready. I was told I could go online and print a copy. I did not need to go down to the police station and pay for a police report. Make your phone calls. Do your research.
Receipts. In order to recover for all of your damages you will need to make copies of all of your receipts for your medical bills, prescriptions and car repairs. There may be other receipts. Make sure you keep a copy of every receipt for yourself just in case you need any of them in the future. Communicate with your insurance company and your lawyer. They will tell you exactly what receipts you need to mail to the insurance company and the law firm. Once you have a lawyer they will deal with the insurance company. Just because you have a lawyer does not mean you get to sit back. You will be the runner in your own lawsuit. I have always had to do a lot of work when I have an auto insurance claim and a personal injury lawsuit. I would suggest you keep a journal of everything. When I say everything I mean how you feel, what happened or is happening. Your journal may be submitted to a jury if your case goes to trial. I heard you can claim mileage for your car. I have never been able to claim any mileage for my car.
Medical Appointments. Do not miss any of your scheduled medical appointments. It is very important that you follow through with every scheduled medical appointment all the way to the end. You do not want any lawyer to be able to tell the jury that you failed to go to your scheduled medical appointments. Missing scheduled medical appointments before you complete treatment will work against you when you try to recover for any damages.
Finding a Lawyer. I have never found this to be easy. I live in Green Bay and I have never been able to get a Green Bay lawyer to represent me. I have always been told it is not worth their time. You may have to search other cities in your state to find a lawyer to take your personal injury claim. If you are filing a personal injury claim with the government you usually have 90 days from the date of the accident to file a claim. You have to work fast when filing a personal injury claim with the government. Even if you are not done with treatment for your injury you have to find a lawyer before 90 days when filing a personal injury claim against the government. If you are filing a personal injury claim against anyone else you need to start looking for a lawyer but nothing will be done until your doctor releases you and says you are done with treatment.
Deposition. If you go to trial you will have to sit for a deposition. Make sure you have one story and you stick with it. Try to give short answers like yes or no. I was told I was talking too much at my first deposition. I was just trying to be helpful. You do not want to be helpful at your deposition. Stick with yes or no answers when you can. If you do not remember say you do not remember. Do not let any lawyer put words in your mouth. I have had lawyers put words in my mouth and get me to answer the way they wanted me to answer which was not what I wanted to say. Lawyers can really get you screwed up. Get a good night sleep before your deposition so you can walk into it with a clear head.
You may not come away from any of this feeling better about it. What you are doing by filing an auto insurance claim and collecting money for damages is making sure that you make it better for someone else. I have never felt better about filing an auto insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit. Try to hold your head high you are making changes for the better.