Here, we’ll discuss how to file an insurance claim after a car accident. For help filing your claim, contact our auto accident injury attorneys.
Driving requires you to be constantly aware of your surroundings. Mishaps can happen in the blink of an eye and lead to serious damage. Therefore, car insurance is designed to protect you in case of an accident. Ideally, the auto insurance policy of the other party should cover your losses, but you can always turn to your underinsured motorist coverage for help if needed, Whether an incident occurred due to human error, external factors, or due to another driver’s reckless behavior, your personal injury protection policy will benefit you wherever needed.
But ideally, you’d want to reach out to qualified auto accident injury attorneys and file a liability claim against the responsible party. You might be a careful driver with an excellent track record, but that doesn’t guarantee that any other driver around you won’t be at fault at one point in your life. All we can do is take the necessary precautions and be prepared to file a third-party insurance claim if the worst comes to face. If you’re involved in an accident that occurred due to someone’s negligence, their insurance should cover it.
Filing an Insurance Claim
Since Louisiana follows the at-fault insurance laws for personal injury cases (allowing you to file a third party claim or a collision claim for medical payments coverage and more), you have the option to file an insurance claim against the other party involved in the accident. A typical car insurance policy concern two parties:
- The insurance holder, the first party
- Your insurance company, the second party
However, when a third party is involved and another driver was the cause of the accident, you can file a claim against their insurance. When you’re responsible for the accident, your insurance company has to cover the expense. But when you’re filing a claim against someone else, their insurance company will cover all the damages, including any medical costs, cost of repairs (even for a rental vehicle), loss of income, and so on, via comprehensive coverage.
Filing a claim against another driver means using their liability insurance (as per policy limit) to pay for any personal injury you sustained, the damage that occurred to your vehicle, and other such losses. Let’s see how you can go ahead with your claim process if you’re ever caught in such a situation:
Information Required for the Auto Insurance Claim
People might get confused when they have to file an insurance claim with the auto insurance company, but it’s easier than you think. It’s not a complicated process and only has a few steps. At the time of an accident, you should stay calm and call the authorities. If you or anyone around got injured, call for a medical emergency ASAP.
You might feel overwhelmed, but if you weren’t at fault, you have to stay focused because the other parties might try to shift the blame on you. Don’t admit fault to anyone and wait for the police to arrive. Later on, you can file your claim (as per insurance regulations) using:
- Insurance policy numbers
- Contact information of anyone involved
- Pictures of the accident, cars, skid marks, etc.
- Details of the incident such as location, time, etc.
As Louisiana follows a fault-based policy for any car accidents, the person responsible for the accident has to cover all the costs mentioned in the bodily injury liability claim. When the police file a report, get a copy of it, as you’ll need it later to file the insurance claim.
How to File an Insurance Claim
First of all, you have to get all the concerning parties informed about the accident. It doesn’t matter if you weren’t responsible for the damage, you still need to get in touch with your insurance provider.
When the other driver is at fault, your insurance company will work with the driver’s insurance company to figure out the liability costs. You can use the information you gathered and file a claim either yourself or through your insurance company.
Louisiana is a state that follows fault-based laws, so if you decide to file an insurance claim, the other driver’s insurance company has to reimburse you for all the damages, such as medical expenses, vehicle repairs, collision deductible, body shop costs, and additional costs mentioned in the injury claim. When the company has investigated your claim, they will offer you a settlement and you can decide if it’s enough for your damages or not.
However, you should be prepared to prove that the other driver was at fault because the insurer will run a thorough investigation. You have up to a year to file any car accident claims under Louisiana’s court system (this time period is defined by the statute of limitations). This means that you must make sure you have the exact details of the accident so you can prove what happened at the time of the incident.
Also, if the coverage limits of the insurance policy of the other party fall short, you can file an underinsured motorist claim and seek reimbursement for your damages via your own underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage.
Suppose the other party’s insurance company is being difficult or does not want to cover your expenses. In that case, you may want to call some auto accident injury attorneys for legal advice on how to proceed.
When to File an Insurance Claim
If your vehicle had a collision with another vehicle, you must gather all required information and file a claim. Any sort of accident can be overwhelming for all parties involved, and some people might want to negotiate to pay the amount out of their pocket. But you don’t know the true extent of the damages that occurred, so filing a claim is the safest option.
It allows the authorities to investigate what happened and find out who was at fault. Your insurance policy is made to cover any damages that occurred to the car or someone’s property.
However, in some cases, it wouldn’t be wise to file a claim, and that’s when you only caused damage to your vehicle. You might be able to get your car repaired in less amount compared to your insurance deductible.
Even if you wish to negotiate off the record, it can cause problems for you later because the other party might legally bind you later. You should always try to be on the safe side and also be fully prepared in any case. You must have access to the accident report, evidence showing financial responsibility on the part of the other driver, and so on, so if you do feel the need to take things to court, you’ll be prepared.
If you’re not primarily responsible for the crash, you should not have to worry about sustaining the economic losses associated with medical care, advanced medical treatment, and so on. The other party should have to worry about that. However, you must first prove the other party was at fault.
So how do we prove fault in a car accident?
Deciding Who’s At Fault
Louisiana law states that a driver must report any accident that involved injury or death of any person and if there was any property damage to the personal property (and additional damages). The first responders and police will arrive at the scene and take down your statement. They can decide who was at fault by examining the accident detail and getting testimonies from any concerned parties.
The police have to file a report for any incident occurring within the city limits. However, if you know that you didn’t do anything wrong, you can use a copy of the police report to make your claim. All the information and pictures of the accident will help strengthen your claim (for the covered accident) and bring justice to the driver responsible.
The insurance companies will decide who is going to pay for any damages that occurred. Make sure you understand the value of all your costs so that you don’t accept a lowball offer that won’t cover all your bills. Auto accident injury attorneys can help you determine fair compensation for your specific situation.
Reporting Car Accidents in Louisiana
After reporting the accident to the police, you might need to inform Louisiana’s DMV because you need as much information as you can get for your insurance claim. Your driver’s license might get suspended if you don’t notify the authorities of an accident.
After the police report, the concerning insurance company will send out an insurance adjuster to investigate the incident. They run a thorough check and talk to all the witnesses after examining the vehicles that were involved.
As you know, in the state of Louisiana, car insurance plays a key role, and all drivers must be aware of the laws and regulations. The state will back you and make sure that the person who’s at fault is covering any medical expenses and vehicle damages.
Once the insurer has provided you with an estimated settlement amount, you need to send your vehicle to get repaired. You can either go to the repair shop the insurer suggested or choose one of your own. However, if the total repair amount exceeds the settlement offer, you might have to pay the difference yourself. This is a common situation, and it’s one of the reasons many people choose to work with auto accident injury attorneys. An attorney can help ensure you are adequately compensated for the expenses incurred due to your accident.
Although the police report should be filed immediately after an accident, filing and settling an auto liability insurance claim is a lengthy process (so many formalities are tied with the auto policies). If the claim is simple, the investigation might be wrapped up in a few hours. However, sometimes an insurance claim can take weeks or months to get settled. In worst-case scenarios, your claim might go to court, where a Louisiana judge will decide the consequences.
Reach Out to Our Auto Accident Injury Attorneys
There’s no reason to panic during an accident because staying focused will help you get out of the situation faster and resolve the issues. Call the authorities right away and check if anyone got injured. If you know you’re a cautious driver and didn’t cause the accident, you must not apologize to any party as this can be used against you later.
At Wright & Gray, we understand the emotional and physical toll a car accident can have on the people involved. We have a team of experienced auto accident injury attorneys who value your well-being and will get you the help you deserve.
Every vehicle collision insurance company has different policies, and we can take care of all procedures for you. All you need to do is provide your statement to the police and make sure you get all the information from the other party. Our goal is to make sure you get reimbursed for any damages that occurred as a result of the accident, including medical bills, property damage, and your pain and suffering.
No one wants an accident to occur, but they do happen and it’s better to be prepared beforehand. The team at Wright & Gray is determined to get your life back on track after an accident. Get in touch with us now!