When you are involved in a car accident, there are several things you need to do to make a claim for compensation. Here's a few of the things you should do right away following an accident.
First, make sure you call your car insurance agent. If you can, call before you go to the doctor or head home. If you're injured or unable to contact the agent, speak with them at your earliest convenience. You also need to understand your insurance coverage, so make sure you know what part of your coverage is going to be in effect before you call. You may not be covered in some instances if you caused an accident that falls under the "exclusions" policy.
You should also always take photos of the accident. You need photos of your injuries, the damage to your vehicle, skid marks, the scene and anything else that proves or shows who is at fault for the accident. Be honest with your insurer; with images, you will be better able to explain the accident and what took place. Remember to keep all receipts for medical bills, treatments, repairs or other costs, as these may be covered by your insurance policy.
When you're negotiating with your insurance company over a claim, don't automatically accept the first sum of money that you are offered. The appraisal may be lower than what you truly deserve, and that could leave you making up the difference when it comes to bills or other costs. Get legal advice before you sign any major legal documents; you want to be sure that you've received everything to which you're entitled. Additionally, you may be able to seek compensation from the other party's insurance that would exceed your own coverage limits.
Source: FindLaw, "Car Insurance Claims: Dos and Don'ts" Oct. 23, 2014