Car owners generally must carry auto insurance and that makes accident claim resolution simple, in theory. We don’t go to court over every fender bender.
But your insurer makes the most money when it doesn’t have to pay out for accidents. So sometimes the guys you hired to be on your side are keeping their own interests in mind and you need to apply pressure. Let’s look at two times you should turn to an attorney for help, either because insurance thwarts your reimbursement or because the extent of injury demands a lawsuit.
Making a Claim
For your common everyday fender bender, making a claim is relatively uncomplicated. You should try to take pictures of the damage and definitely review your coverage before discussing it with an insurance agent. When you have documented the accident and reviewed your policy, call the insurance company and get the ball rolling on your claim.
Do not delay. Insurance claims usually have deadlines. The standard limitation is one year from the date of an incident but that can vary. Again check your coverage to ensure you don’t miss the window. If you dawdle, wait until the deadline, and are denied, you may have no recourse.
If you have spent about nine months fighting your insurer for reimbursement and suspect your claim is being thwarted, that’s when you talk to a lawyer about suing your insurer. But that’s not the only time.
Even if your insurer is great and you manage to negotiate a settlement that’s not terrible, if your accident was severe and damages extensive, you should consider a lawsuit. Serious injuries can lead to years worth of medical bills or even death. Accidents like that are best handled by an injury attorney.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident, consult with a lawyer. Even if you would prefer not to sue, it cannot hurt to get an assessment from an expert who has your interests in mind. Many personal injury attorneys consult for free or a minimal fee and will be happy to assess your case.
- Injured in a car accident? Get your claim reviewed by an attorney for free. (Consumer Injury)
- Liability for Injury: Insurance Options (FindLaw’s Learn About the Law)
- Insurance Claims: After an Accident (FindLaw’s Learn About the Law)
- Automobile Insurance Policy Coverage (FindLaw’s Learn About the Law)