Have you been injured in a car accident? Check out these commonly asked questions after a car accident, then call our office today for a free consultation.
Who Fixes Your Car After an Auto Accident?
One question I repeatedly hear from clients is, “What happens to the property damage for an automobile accident? Who pays for the damage to my car? How quickly can I get that done?” Those answers really depend on your preferences. If you have collision coverage on your own insurance policy when you’re involved in a motor vehicle accident and your car is damaged, you will contact your insurance company and let them know about the accident. Most likely, your policy includes a deductible and the amount of that deductible might determine whether or not you want to process your property damage claim through your own insurance company. If your deductible is high – like $500 or $1,000 – you may be discouraged from processing the property damage through your own insurance policy.
You also have the option of using the other party’s insurance coverage to pay for your property damage – provided they’re at fault for causing the accident. Often, however, the problem with using the other party’s coverage is the time and negotiation involved. When people use the offending party’s insurance coverage, they may not feel that they’re getting paid a satisfactory amount for their vehicle. Also, it may take a little time for that insurance company to determine who was at fault for the accident. The delays involved in processing your property damage claim using somebody else’s insurance coverage might be a deterrent. You might just get your vehicle repaired more quickly – and with less hassle – by processing your claim through your own insurance company. Both options are available to you, and the decision as to whether one option is preferable to the other in your circumstances rests with you.
How Can I Ensure Nothing is Overlooked When Accident Investigations Occur?
When we receive a call from a person who was involved in a collision or some other accident, our first questions are, “Did you get photographs? Is the scene the way it was? What happened to the vehicles? Where are the vehicles?” We want to obtain pictures of the vehicles right away, and we want to make sure the vehicles’ black boxes are preserved. The best time for us to get involved with an investigation is immediately; we want to see things in exactly the condition they were at the time of the accident. We can only see the condition of the location of the accident if someone takes photographs.
When it comes to automobile claims, memories can become unreliable. People who may have witnessed an accident may provide one version of events a day after the accident, but make an entirely different claim several months later. In these cases, the devil is in the details, and every aspect of the case must be solid before litigation can begin. The investigation stage is critical, and that makes it imperative for people to contact their attorneys as soon as they are able.
How Do I Protect Myself from Inadequate Car Insurance Coverage?
We should all have supplemental underinsurance coverage on our policies, and I can demonstrate my reasoning by example. I have a case right now in which a young lady was injured pretty badly when another woman went through a stop sign. We later learned that the other vehicle had only the minimal coverage required in New York – $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident. The question is, “If that were to happen to you, what would you do?” If you take a judgment against that person, they will simply file bankruptcy or whatever, so where can we go with that?
What you can do right now is this. Look at your policies and make sure you have supplemental coverage – which you can purchase through your own insurance company – to protect you if you ever find yourself in that situation. That supplemental coverage can have the same limits as your own coverage that protects you if you’re at fault in an accident. I tell all my clients, “You should have a minimum of $500,000 in regular liability coverage because, that way, you can also have $500,000 in supplemental coverage.”
Let’s apply this rationale to the above scenario. Suppose we got $25,000 from that other driver. You would then fall back on your own policy for the difference between the $25,000 you got, and the $500,000 that you carry on your own policy, giving you access to $475,000 through your own policy just because you’re protected by having the needed coverage. This extra coverage costs only pennies on the dollar, but I see policies that don’t have it – or don’t have enough of it – all the time. You really must make sure to take advantage of this inexpensive way to protect yourself.
If Your Insurance Company Offers You A Settlement, Should You Take It Or Consult With An Attorney?
The other day, I was contacted by a client who had been injured in an auto accident and had been contacted by the insurance carrier for the person who struck them. That insurance representative had made a settlement offer and they wanted to know – before they signed – “Should I take it?” Of course, I told them they shouldn’t. I always recommend that injured persons get an attorney involved early on because they are best prepared to negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf and accurately assess the value of your claim as well as the nature and extent of your injuries. Chances are, if that insurance representative is making an offer to you, there’s more money available, and they will potentially have to pay off down the line once you’ve enlisted counsel to best advocate for your interests.
Were you or a loved one recently involved in an auto accident and have questions after a car accident? You may be entitled to much more than they are offering. Contact the experienced Hamburg car accident lawyers at Chiacchia & Fleming, LLP for a free consultation. We treat your case and your injuries seriously and do everything in our power to bring you relief. Let our experience work for you.
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