You might not need to hire an attorney to help you with an insurance claim if you were in a minor car accident. In Bellevue, Wash., there were 2,706 total collisions in 2011. Some of the resulting insurance claims were handled without an attorney; some were handled with an attorney; and some drivers may have started without attorneys and secured legal representation later.
If you suffer serious and/or long-lasting injuries, you might require legal assistance. Further, if the insurer acts unfairly by significantly reducing your claim value or wrongly denying your claim, you may require an attorney’s help.
Handling a Minor Car Accident Claim on Your Own
Regardless of how serious the accident, immediately after a car crash, drivers need to check their safety, their passengers' safety and the other driver's safety. Seek medical attention when any party needs it. After everyone is secure, drivers should exchange names, addresses, phone numbers and insurance information. Make sure you file an accident with police to help establish the circumstances of the crash.
Drivers who have personal injury protection (PIP) may file a claim with their own insurer to recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages and certain other damages, regardless of who is at fault for the accident. If the other driver is at fault, it’s important to inform that driver’s insurer of the accident and file a liability claim.
When filing a claim, drivers should be courteous to adjusters and provide basic information about the accident at first. They also may provide evidence of the other driver’s negligence and fault to establish liability. The police report, witness statements and other evidence can be crucial. Medical bills, evidence of lost pay, medical records and more can help document expenses and injuries.
After a driver takes the car into be repaired, he or she may face some problems with the insurance company if the driver does not use the company's preferred shop. The right to choose the mechanic is the driver's; however, if the insurer and mechanic cannot agree on a price, the driver may have to cover the difference and pursue the insurer for reimbursement.
How do I know if I need an attorney?
If you receive a settlement offer from the insurer that does not cover the costs of the accident, then that is a good time to contact an attorney to evaluate your legal options. Insurance companies often try to reduce liability of their insured, and an attorney can help you fight back against these games.
Long-term injuries may require an attorney as well. Your lawyer can work with your doctors and other caregivers to evaluate the costs you will face in the long run to make sure your claim adequately compensates them.
If you need help after a car accident in Bellevue, talk to Max Meyers Law about your legal options. Contact our office at 425-399-7000 to schedule your attorney.