How to File an Insurance Claim After a Car Accident
Posted on Sunday, January 1st, 2023 at 7:54 pm
The sooner you file an insurance claim, the sooner you will get compensation from the insurance company. However, many factors go into how you should file an insurance claim after an event, including who was at fault for the collision. When you are involved in a collision, you should file a police report before you file an insurance claim because the insurance company may request it.
What Is an Insurance Claim?
An insurance claim is a request to an insurance company for compensation to cover the losses you sustained in a car crash covered by the insurance policy. When filing an insurance claim, you will likely be asked questions about the collision and requested to provide documentation, including:
- Name and phone number of each party involved
- Insurance policy numbers of each party involved in the event
- Information about the vehicles involved
- Photos of the scene, injuries, and property damage
- Name and phone number of any witnesses of the crash
- Medical records, if available
- Police reports
Are Police Reports Required for an Insurance Claim?
Not all collisions in Washington require a police report. However, an insurance company may request one. If you were in a car crash that resulted in an injury, death, or at least $1,000 in property damage, you are required under Washington law to report the collision to the Washington State Patrol. The crash can be reported by a police officer who was present at the scene and indicated they would submit a collision report, or you can report it yourself through Washington State Patrol’s online portal.
When to File an Insurance Claim
Insurance claims are not limited to significant accidents resulting in severe injuries or thousands of dollars of property damage. You should file an insurance claim whenever you are in a collision that results in any injury or damage.
When a collision needs to be reported depends on the insurance policy that covers the collision. For example, some policies require collisions to be reported within 30 days, while others may allow up to 180 days or some other period of time. Failing to file your insurance claim within the required timeframe could result in you being barred from receiving compensation. As a result, once you’ve been in a crash, you should file a claim with the insurance company as soon as possible.
Which Insurance Company?
In Washington, the person who negligently caused the collision is responsible for any losses resulting from it. As a result, if you caused the collision, you should file an insurance claim with your car insurance company. You can file a claim by calling your insurance company, or if your company allows you to file claims online, you can file your claim through your online portal.
If someone else is responsible for the collision, you will file the claim with their insurance company. If you have the at-fault driver’s insurance information, you can call their insurance company to file a claim.
However, you should contact an attorney to deal with insurance companies on your behalf. The insurance adjuster assigned to your claim will be trying to save their company as much money as possible, so having an experienced car accident attorney on your team can make a difference in the compensation you receive when settling an insurance claim.
Additionally, an attorney will represent you in court if a lawsuit is required to get you the compensation you deserve.
Determining Who Is Responsible for a Collision
In Washington, the party whose negligence caused the collision is responsible for compensating the injured party for their losses. Acts of negligence can include:
- Texting and driving
- Not following traffic signs or signals
Multiple parties could be at fault for a car crash if they behaved negligently and contributed to it. The percentage of fault assigned to each party can affect the compensation an injured party receives in a personal injury lawsuit.
For example, in a personal injury lawsuit, if the judge or jury finds that you were ten percent at fault for the crash, the compensation you receive from the other party will be reduced by ten percent, meaning that if you are awarded $100,000 and found to be ten percent at fault, you will only receive $90,000.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer for Help
Car accidents can severely impact your mental and physical health, but you do not have to go through the process of pursuing money for your losses alone. A skilled and knowledgeable Lakewood car accident attorney of The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs can help you get the compensation you deserve. At The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs, we have experience representing victims of car crashes and are ready to use that experience to deal with insurance companies on your behalf.
If you were injured in a car crash that wasn’t your fault, call us today at (253) 588-6696 or contact us online to discuss your legal options.