How Do I Claim If Someone Hits My Car?
Every year, police receive six million car accident reports in the US. These crashes are a daily occurrence, often leaving cars totaled and people injured. Because of that, there’s a huge number of related insurance claims and lawsuits year after year.
These statistics show that your chances of getting into a minor car accident are high no matter how careful you are. If that happens and the other party is at fault, you’ll probably want to claim compensation. But how exactly do you do that? The process may not be entirely clear, so we’ll do our best to explain what it entails.
Gather the Evidence at the Scene
Once you file a claim against another driver and their insurance company, the investigation into who was truly to blame will begin. To gain an edge over the other party, you should start collecting evidence as soon as the accident occurs. First, of course, move your car to a safer spot and check whether there are any injuries. But once that’s done and you’ve called the police, it’s time to take action.
Your cell phone is your most valuable tool. Use it to take as many photos as possible — of the damage, the road, license plates, road signs, and other contributing factors. Also, make sure to write down the names and phone numbers of any witnesses on the scene. You might need them to come and testify later during the proceedings.
Finally, when the police arrive, note down the officers’ names and badge numbers. Once they finish writing their report, ask them for a copy and check for accuracy.
Contact Your Insurer to File a Claim
Even if you decide to sue the other driver and their insurance company pays for settlement, you should still contact your own insurer. Most insurers provide a car accident checklist in their mobile apps, making filing a claim much easier. If you would rather not use that, though, call the company, let them know about the accident, and they will tell you what steps to take next.
You don’t have to call the insurer right after the accident, but make sure to do so within their time limit. Many insurance companies have 30-day deadlines for filing claims, so don’t wait too long. The sooner you finish that, the better.
Take the Case to Court
Usually, you and the at-fault party won’t need to go to court — their insurance will attempt to resolve the case through settlement. That often happens when evidence of fault is entirely clear or when the other driver realizes it’s not in their interest to involve courts and lawyers. This is also a way to protect their assets after the car accident. In such a case, their insurance company will process the claim and cover your injuries and damage.
But sometimes, the other party denies their fault or claims that you are responsible for the accident. When that happens, you’ll have to take the case to court, where the dispute will be resolved.
The first thing you need to do is hire the best accident attorney in Des Moines to give you legal advice and represent you. At this stage, the evidence you’ve collected and the witnesses you’ve talked to will become crucial, so make sure to show your lawyer everything you have.
If the likely settlement is small (around $3,000 or less), you can take the other party to a small claims court. These courts have reasonable filing fees and a short wait time for a hearing. Thanks to that, you have a higher chance of settling the case quickly and with minimum costs possible.
In the chaos and confusion that occurs after a car accident, you might not be sure what steps to take to get your reimbursement from the at-fault party. It’s important to stay cool-headed and remember the advice you read here. If your insurance company provided you with a car accident checklist, consult it and follow its instructions carefully. Usually, it serves as an excellent guide.
And once you get to the filing a lawsuit stage, Tom Fowler Law Firm can help. With our experience and legal advice, you’ll be sure to win your case and get the settlement you want. Call us today to learn more about car accident claims and get our services in court.