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how to file a car accident claimIf you are injured in a collision, and another motorist is at fault, you have a right to file a car accident claim against the at-fault driver’s auto liability insurance and pursue compensation for your medical bills and other losses. However, navigating the injury claims process with another driver’s insurance company can be frustrating and difficult — particularly if you have serious injuries. The insurer may try to minimize your injuries, blame you for the crash, or offer a settlement that doesn’t cover your hospital bills or other expenses.

At Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A. in Raleigh, NC, our experienced car accident lawyers help people who have been seriously injured in motor vehicle accidents. Our car accident attorneys investigate to determine fault, calculate losses, and seek fair compensation for our clients. We negotiate with insurers to obtain settlements or pursue personal injury lawsuits when insurance companies refuse to settle insurance claims.

If you have suffered a serious car accident injury and have questions about your legal options and how to file a car accident claim, a knowledgeable car accident attorney can provide guidance based on experience, and it won’t cost you a cent to speak to an attorney. Contact Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks to review your automobile accident and discuss how to move forward.

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Take Action at the Scene of a Car Accident

State law requires you to stop after an auto accident in North Carolina and help anyone who has been injured. You should call 911 to report the car accident and request an ambulance if anyone needs emergency treatment. Don’t let another driver talk you out of calling the police and reporting the accident.

If you are physically to do so, you should try to take photos at the crash scene and document what happened to prepare for a potential insurance claim.

If it is possible and safe to do so, you should:

  • Exchange information with the other driver(s), including full name, contact information, insurance details, and vehicle information. If the other driver is hostile or uncooperative, wait for the police to gather this information and share it with you.
  • If there are witnesses to the accident, ask for their contact information.
  • Take accident scene photos or video of the scene, including vehicle damage, your injuries, road signs or signals, and anything that may have contributed to the accident.
  • Cooperate with police. Ask when the crash report will be available and how to obtain a copy.
  • See a doctor within 24 hours if you do not go to the emergency room in an ambulance. This ensures that you receive proper medical care and that your car accident injuries are documented. Follow all doctors’ orders for medical care. Delays in seeking treatment or gaps in treatment can make it harder to pursue your injury claim.

Steps for Filing an Insurance Claim

You should contact your own insurance company within 24 hours of an accident to report it.

You should consult a Raleigh car accident lawyer before providing a recorded statement to an insurance adjuster.

Your insurer’s website may provide an interactive form to file your claim. There may be an app or an 800 number to phone and file a claim. Generally speaking, you should:

  1. Provide accident information. When you file a car accident claim, the insurance company will need information you gathered at the accident scene, including:
    • Name, address, phone number, and insurance policy numbers for each driver
    • Location, date, and time of accident
    • Weather conditions
    • Photos of the damaged vehicles
    • Copy of the police report, if available.
  2. Review your policy. With the insurance representative on the phone and with your policy documents in hand, make sure you understand your insurance:
    • Coverage, the maximum amount your insurance policy provides for bodily injury and/or property damage, as well as the coverage provided by the liability insurance of others involved.
    • Deductible, the amount you must pay toward repairs to your vehicle before receiving an insurance payment.
    • OEM parts policy. It’s better to have “original equipment manufacturer” parts used to repair your car instead of less expensive “after-market” parts, but some insurers write policies to exclude the use of OEM parts.
    • Deadlines, such as the time limit for filing a claim, submitting bills, resolving claim disputes, or submitting additional information. Ask when you can expect the insurance company to contact you.
  3. Pay medical bills.  If you have health insurance, you should submit your medical bills for the costs of treating your car accident injuries to your own health insurance company, regardless of who caused the car accident. If you have serious injuries and are pursuing a car accident injury claim against the other at-fault driver, you will need to wait until you have completed medical treatment before settling the injury claim. The at-fault driver’s auto insurer will not issue a check until your claim is fully settled, which may take a number of months. An experienced car accident lawyer will advise you against settling a car accident case too quickly. If you do, you may be struck with doctor and hospital bills for treatment you didn’t anticipate. An attorney can advise you about reimbursing your health insurance carrier from the auto insurance payout.
  4. Ask about a rental car. Your policy may provide transportation expense coverage to reimburse you for the cost of renting a car from a rental car company. If your car is wrecked and you will need a rental car, confirm your policy’s coverage limits and how you’ll be reimbursed before renting a car.
  5. Get repair estimates. Your insurer may tell you to get as many as three repair estimates. The repair shop will submit their estimates to the insurance company.
  6. Have your car repaired. If your claim is approved, your insurer will issue a payment (minus your deductible) to you or to the repair shop. When repairing a crashed vehicle, you have the right to choose the repair shop and to have original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts used to repair your car instead of less expensive after-market parts. If your car is damaged beyond repair, your insurer will issue a check for the value of the vehicle, minus your deductible, to you.

If the other driver was at fault for the accident, you will need to report the car crash to the other driver’s insurance company. You should still report it to your insurance company as well, in case you need to file a claim with your own car insurance because the at-fault driver was uninsured or their insurer denies liability.

If the at-fault driver’s insurer denies their policyholder’s liability, you should consult a reputable car accident attorney about the steps you can take and whether you are entitled to seek compensation.

Younce Vtipil Baznik & Banks personal injury law team

Contact Our Car Accident Lawyers for a Free Consultation

Let our Raleigh car accident lawyers at Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A., review the facts of the auto accident that injured you and provide free legal guidance. We offer a free consultation to review your car accident. If we can help you pursue a claim, we will not charge a legal fee for our services unless we recover compensation for you. Contact us online or at 919-661-9000 today.

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