Once you are in an accident, you will have to decide whether you intend to file an auto insurance claim. If you decide that it is time to file a claim, then you will have to decide who you wish to file a claim against. California is an at fault state, which means you can file a claim with your insurance company, the other driver’s company or commence a lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
Before Filing an Auto Insurance Claim
There are a lot of things to consider when filing an auto insurance claim. That is why so many drivers who have been involved in an accident schedule a consultation with a lawyer. In addition to seeking treatment for personal injuries, issues pertaining to liability (who is at fault or partly at fault), property damage, expenses, missing time from work, expenses and medical bills must all be taken into consideration as well.
Deciding What Type of Claims to File and Who to File Against
Before getting started, there is a lot to think about. When filing an auto insurance claim it is important to remember that you can make a claim for property damage (damage to your car or other property) and personal injuries. Since the State of California is an at-fault state, you can go against your own company, the other driver’s insurance company or commence a lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
Filing an Auto Insurance Claim
Before you get started, you should consider contacting an attorney who can walk you through the process of filing a claim against your insurance company or the other driver’s insurance company. Although you do not need to retain an attorney to file a claim, having an attorney there from the very beginning takes the hassles out of filing an automobile insurance claim.
Provide Timely Notice to Insurance Companies
No matter what you ultimately decide to do, once you have been in an accident the time to provide notice, file claims and commence a lawsuit begin to run. Most insurance companies require that notice be provided within a certain amount of time. Not every insurance company has the same procedures. No matter who you intend to file a claim against, you should pay close attention to deadlines and procedures.
If you intend to file a lawsuit against the other driver, then you have to pay close attention to the statute of limitations. If you fail to commence a lawsuit by this deadline, your case may be dismissed in court. Take the time to ask an attorney about any applicable statute of limitations and deadlines.
Complex Legal Issues Can Arise Surrounding Liability in California
Deciding who to file a claim against can become a problem whether there are two or more vehicles involved in an accident. Figuring out who was at fault or if you were partly at fault in an accident can take time and often requires judicial intervention. That is why so many people who have been in an accident take time to consult with an attorney.
Policy Limits and Insurance Policies
When deciding who to file a claim against, you also have to take the individual insurance policies into consideration. Before filing a claim, it is important to find out more about the policy limits and the available coverage under each policy. While going after the policy with the higher limits may seem like the best option, a licensed attorney may suggest going after the policy with the lower policy limits for some other reason.
Seeking Treatment For Your Injuries
When initiating a claim against an insurance company, you need to be prepared to provide information about your injuries. The adjuster handling the case will ask you for details about the accident and if you sustained any injuries. The adjuster will also ask you to provide information about your doctors and medical providers as well. It is important to make sure all the details about your medical injuries are documented.
You May be Asked to Attend an Independent Medical Evaluation
If you make a claim for personal injuries, you may be asked to go in for an independent medical evaluation (IME). An independent medical evaluation is a thorough medical examination conducted by an independent medical provider that you haven’t ever seen. Your attorney can answer your questions about IME’s as well.
Clearly, there are many things to consider before filing a claim with an insurance company. Whether you have filed a claim or are just getting started, take the the time to consult with a licensed attorney who can answer any questions you may have about how do I go about filing an auto insurance claim.