If you've been in a car accident recently, you'll want to do everything in your power to protect your claim. You may think that all you need to do is contact the insurance company of the person who was at-fault. While that is an important step, it's not the only step you'll need to take after an accident. The fact is that some of the things you might fail to do may end up causing you serious problems when it comes time to negotiate a settlement. Here are four important steps that you shouldn't forget about now that you've been in a car accident.
Don't Forget to Call Your Insurance Company
When you're in a car accident, and you weren't the at-fault driver, you may think that you don't have a reason to contact your insurance company. That's not correct. You may be going after the other insurance company, but you'll still need to notify your own. You may need them to help you with your claim against the other driver. Not only that, but if you have rental coverage on your policy, you'll need your insurance company to arrange a rental car for you while your car is being repaired. Not only that, but it can be easier to have your insurance company take care of the repairs and let them go after the other insurance company once everything is squared away.
Don't Overlook the Pictures of Your Car
After an accident, it can be easy to forget about everything besides your injuries, and getting your car repaired. In the chaos, you may forget to take pictures of your car. Unfortunately, that can cause you problems later on. Once you know what tow yard your car was taken to, arrange to have someone go take pictures of it – inside and out. The pictures can help document the severity of the damage and the force of the collision.
Don't Put Off Going to the Doctor
If you haven't gone to the doctor yet, you need to get there. Not only will a complete exam help identify injuries that you didn't know you had, it will also help once you begin the negotiations. You may be in serious pain after the accident, but if you don't go to the doctor, you'll have no way to document that for the insurance company.
Don't Try to Negotiate on Your Own
If you've decided to negotiate with the insurance company on your own, you should rethink that decision, especially if there were significant injuries or your car was totaled. Without legal representation, the insurance company will try to low ball you on the settlement offer, which means you're probably not going to get what you're actually entitled to for your pain and suffering, or for the actual damages you incurred. Talk to an attorney before you begin negotiations with the insurance company.
Contact a firm, like Speers Reuland & Cibulskis, P.C., for more help.