When you become the unfortunate victim of an auto accident and it is time for you to file a claim with your car insurance provider, it is important to document the auto accident to make sure you get a fair assessment, and most importantly, you receive a fair insurance payout.
Hands down, the most effective approach is to simply collect evidence to prove you were not at fault and that what you say is true.
How to Document an Auto Accident
Always Take Notes
It can be nerve-wracking to be in an accident, however it’s paramount to take notes and begin gathering evidence. Notes will help clarify the evidence and additionally give your claims adjuster assistance when reviewing your case.
In many cases, there could be upwards of a few months to a year, or more between the time of an accident and the final step where you receive a settlement for your claim. By taking notes, you don’t forget key elements to your case including what occurred, who drove where, driving speed, what led to the accident, road conditions and more.
Take Photos of the Accident
There’s no better evidence than what you can see in front of you so it’s no secret that photos can greatly strengthen your claim. Use a camera or smartphone to capture pictures and/or video of the scene.
Be sure to capture key elements such as your car’s exterior damage and that of the other vehicle involved, the position of the vehicles at the place of the crash, license plates, interior damage and any debris or skid marks that are related to the accident should be photographed. Such evidence has been known to make or break a settlement claim.
Keep All Your Documentation
Always collect and keep all of your documentation so that you may deliver copies of it to your car insurance claims adjuster. These documents, including estimates, receipts and quotes for thing such as car repairs, rental cars, alternate forms of transportation and bills for towing your car after the accident can be used to investigate your claim more efficiently.
Get the Fair Market Value After an Accident
Did you know if the amount of damage to your car equals more than that of which your car is valued, it is considered a total loss? When a total loss occurs, your insurance company will most likely only cover the fair market value of your car as it is quoted in the Kelly Blue Book.
If you feel this is not fair, provide recent photos of your car prior to the accident that proves it’s additional worth. Also include a list of the maintenance, repairs or upgrades you’ve had in the past.
Make a Claim and Finalize the Settlement
When you finally get to submit your claim to the car insurance company, make sure you have all of the documents mentioned above, as well as a copy of the police report. From there, you’ll wait until you are contacted by a claims adjuster who may ask additional questions regarding your accident.
Remember always to keep a copy of all your documentations for your personal records in case you need to refer back to them. Once you receive a fair settlement from your car insurance company, you will usually receive a check.
Please note, and this is paramount, that your settlement states it is for property damage only. Always avoid signing documentation indicating general release as this could void your car insurance company of having to pay for additional claims like those related to a bodily injury.
If you have been in an auto accident and you or a loved one was hurt the insurance company isn’t providing you the settlement you deserve, call the Maloney Law Group. Our team of attorneys have more than 30 years of combined experience dealing with personal injury claims and can help. Call to get your consultation.