Filing a Third-Party Claim After a Car Accident
Getting into a car accident is a nerve wracking experience. If injured, you’re worried about receiving medical care, getting better, and how you are going to pay all of the bills. Even if you feel fine, you may not be sure what to do or whose insurance will cover the damage.
If the car accident was not your fault, the other driver’s auto insurance should cover the physical damage to your car and your medical expenses. However, in order for the insurer to pay for these things, you must file a third-party claim.
Exchange Contact and Insurance Information
Following a car accident, you should always get the other driver’s contact and insurance information, including the policy number, and the license plate number. If you are in a serious crash and taken to the hospital, you should be able to gain this information by getting a copy of the police report.
Write Down What Happened
You should write down your account of the accident right away. Try and be as descriptive as possible – include the time of day, the road conditions, your speed, the movement of the other cars, and any witnesses to the accident.
You will eventually give a statement or a written account regarding the accident to your and the other party’s insurer, but you will not necessarily give this written description to the insurance company. This is for your records and to jog your memory.
Give Notice of the Accident to Your Insurance Provider
It is important to give notice to your insurance provider and the other party’s insurer as soon as possible. Giving notice merely means calling the insurers and informing them that an accident occurred and you will be making the claim. If you do not provide notice, an insurer may be able to use that fact to deny your claim.
It is best if you do not answer questions at this time and instead, schedule your interview for later. This ensures you do not accidentally admit fault for the accident and that you can acquire legal help before the interview.
During this call you can also ask about acquiring a claim form and what documentation the insurer needs to investigate the accident and approve the claim.
File an Accident Claim
After giving informal notice, you must formally file a claim with the insurer in writing. If the insurer does not provide a specific form, you may write a letter. It is recommended you send this letter through certified mail with a return receipt requested so you can be sure it was received.
To prove your claim, you will need show the policyholder was at fault and that your injury was caused by the car accident. This means you need to provide medical records to the insurer, however, you should not provide all your previous medical records.
It is best to have the help of an experienced personal injury attorney when filing a formal third-party claim. A lawyer can help you include the documentation that increases your chance of the claim being approved, and he or she can warn you not to include unnecessary documentation. If you’ve been in an accident in Sonoma County, Mendocino County, or Lake County California and want to learn more about the claims process, contact the Santa Rosa automobile accident attorneys at Beck Law P.C.