Lawyers can be unnecessarily expensive, especially in a simple auto accident insurance claim. Typically, a lawyer will charge you 33 per cent of an entire claim amount. So even if a lawyer can extract more from the auto insurance company, you may end up getting less money than if you had settled yourself. That is the reason why it makes sense to settle your own auto accident Insurance claims, especially the smaller ones, where the injury is minor and the claim is not very large.
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If you plan to settle your own Insurance claims in the future or if you have just had an accident it is prudent to go through the "conditions" section of your policy. There are certain duties that you as an insured person must perform after an accident, like limiting the loss. Not following these conditions may be held against you at a later stage.
Take as many photographs as possible, both of the scene and any injuries you might have sustained. Also, collect and keep the report summary from the investigating police officer. This report will come in particularly handy if you are not at fault.
See a doctor immediately. Insurance companies are wary of people who rush to file their claims and later go to the doctor. Tell your doctor all the details of your injury and pain caused by the accident, however trivial you may think it is. The insurance adjuster will go through these records and any discrepancy, he will exploit.
Ask for a referral from your doctor. If you go directly from the ER to the chiropractor, questions may be raised.
Make sure you keep all appointments with your doctor and follow all his instructions religiously. If you skip appointments, the injuries may not appear as serious to the adjuster as you said it was, or he may accuse you of not doing everything possible to get well soon.
If the insurance agency contacts you, do not be in a hurry. Indicate to the company when you will be ready. Do not make any recorded statements even if insisted upon by the insurance adjuster. Remember that it is not mandatory to do so and any recorded statements may be used against you if there is any discrepancy.
When you are ready and sure that no further expenses will arise because of the accident, submit your claim. It must contain a brief introductory letter to the adjuster, all photographs available, the investigating officer's report and the medical report.
Sample introductory letter to the insurance agency
To The Insurance Adjuster Xyz Insurance company Abc city
Dear Claims Adjuster,
I, Mr. Tom Hansen, would like to settle the claim arising out of the accident caused by Mr. Robert Kupper, driving his Honda City, license No. xxxxx, insured with you. I have enclosed all the documents to substantiate my claims, including photographs, police statement and bills. Below is a brief description of the event.
Date of the accident : 10 / 10 / 2010 Time : 2.00 PM brief description of the accident: (This should include the description of the accident itself, the various injuries and pain you suffered, detailed explanation of all your visits to the doctor, chiropractor physiotherapist and also any other inconveniences caused. ) Claim amount 1. Ambulance charge $xxx 2. ER charges, including x-ray, doctor's fee and prescriptions: $xxx 3. May Fred, RPT fees: $ xxxx 4. Lost Wages (documents enclosed): $xxxx 5. Any further loss as a result of the accident: (you might have had to hire a maid) $XXX 6. Future medical bills expected: $xxx 7. General damage: (this is for the pain and suffering caused and usually one should ask 3 to 5 times of the total cost incurred
So including all the above, I demand a settlement of $xxxxx. Kindly respond to the demand with your offer within two weeks.
Thanking you yours truly Mr. Tom Hansen
There is no steadfast rule about how much to claim. The thumb rule is to ask for the total medical expense plus loss of income due to inability to perform routine work multiplied by three. Alternatively, you may let the insurance company make the offer and take it from there.
Tips and warnings
- You can settle your own auto accident insurance claims without a lawyer, especially the simpler and smaller ones but make sure you are familiar with auto accident insurance laws in your state.
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