Insurance Claim Do’s and Don’ts
In 2000, there were a total of 17,663 crashes caused by drivers with aggressive driving behaviors.
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To learn more about the legal aspects of motor vehicle accidents, please review the general information below. To find out how our law firm can assist you, please visit our auto accident practice page.
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Insurance Claim Do’s and Don’ts
When you need to make an auto insurance claim, you should proceed with care from the outset. Your actions now may have a significant influence on the amount of compensation you receive. Contact David G. Smith in Oakland, CA, to schedule a consultation with a personal injury attorney to learn more.
Do consult an attorney for legal advice.
Do review your insurance policies to find out what is covered and what is excluded.
Do notify your insurance company right away after you are in a car accident, your car is stolen or damaged, or another such covered event takes place.
Do take pictures of your vehicle, the accident site and your injuries if you can.
Do take notes when you speak with your insurance company. Make a record of the names, job titles and phone numbers of the representatives with whom you communicate, as well as the time and date of the calls. If you can, get the names of their supervisors, too. Note what you discussed and what you or the representative promised to do.
Do tell your insurance company the truth. Not only does this save everyone time and effort, but also, questions of legal liability can be complex. If you fail to be forthcoming with your insurance company, this could invalidate or reduce your coverage.
Do investigate whether you have additional insurance coverage. Depending on the circumstances, supplemental coverage may come from another auto insurance policy, a homeowner’s policy or umbrella coverage.
Do keep the receipts for money you have spent on car rental, medical bills and purchases made in connection with the motor vehicle accident.
Do make sure you are aware of the difference between the replacement value of your car and what you actually owe on the car. If the car is totaled, most car insurance will cover only the cash value of your car at the time of the accident. You may owe more than that, however, on the loan or the lease of the car. “Gap coverage” makes up for this difference. Additional coverage is usually necessary for things like a special sound system in your car.
Don’t accept the insurance company’s estimate of your losses and damages until you have a chance to fully explore the matter yourself. An attorney’s help can be invaluable in determining whether the insurance company’s estimate is fair.
Don’t give the insurance company a recorded or written statement until you have determined how you wish to proceed. It is important to be aware of the extent of your insurance coverage and your rights.
Don’t sign a release or waiver until you have gotten reliable legal advice. You may feel pressure to sign from your insurance company, but it is your right to explore your options. Just make sure that you take appropriate action within the time limit stated in your insurance policy.
Don’t accept a check from your insurance company or the other driver’s insurer, especially one that says “final payment”, unless you have obtained legal advice and carefully weighed your options. Doing so could jeopardize your right to seek additional payment in the future for medical expenses related to the accident.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
Your insurance company is legally obligated to follow through on the terms of its contract with you. You have the right to make sure that happens, and a lawyer can offer you the support, guidance and advocacy you need. Contact David G. Smith in Oakland, CA, to schedule a consultation with a personal injury attorney to discuss your situation.
DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.