One thing you should do before you call your agent, is to make sure that you review your insurance policy. Be certain that you understand your policy, especially the “Coverage” and “Exclusion” sections.
As soon as possible after an accident, call your agent. Call as soon as you get home and even before you see a doctor. Take detailed notes of all conversations with your insurance company. Be sure to get the names, phone numbers, and job titles of everyone you speak with. Do not give a written statement or tape recorded statement to any insurance company before contacting an experienced motor vehicle accident attorney. The insurance company cannot require you to allow them to tape your telephone conversations. Talk to an attorney before submitting anything in writing to an insurance company.
Keep receipts of all expenses, such as meals or travel expenses that you incur in connection with the treatment of your injuries from the time of the accident until you reach a final settlement with your insurance company.
Is your accident covered by other insurance policies as well? Many times, more than one policy may cover your claim. Look over your homeowner's policy, umbrella coverage policies, and any coverage you may have under your credit cards.
If it's possible, take pictures of the damage to the vehicles as well as pictures of your injuries.
There is a difference between replacement coverage and actual cash value in the collision coverage provisions of an automobile insurance policy. If you have replacement coverage, it may cover the cost of replacing your old vehicle with a new vehicle. If your policy is an actual cash value policy, the insurance company will be required to replace your old vehicle with another old vehicle of like kind and quality. A lawyer who handles motor vehicle accident cases will be able to analyze the provisions of your insurance policy to determine how much the insurance company should pay under their contract with you.
Be careful when accepting the estimate or appraisal of your losses that is given to you by your insurer. These estimates may be lower than actual repair or replacement costs. Do not sign any releases or waivers of any kind without advice from a lawyer. You may feel pressured to accept an early, insufficient settlement from your insurance company, particularly if you are in need of money and/or transportation. However, there may be other damages you could include in your claim that you didn't think about at first. Consulting with a lawyer will help you make sure that you obtain all of the compensation to which you are entitled. Don't sign off on a claim if you are uninformed about all of your rights.
Be aware that the insurance company may set forth limited time limits in which to formally pursue a claim against them. Make sure that you promptly seek out the services of a competent motor vehicle accident attorney to avoid having your claim be barred because you waited too long to make a claim.
Don't accept any check that says “final payment” unless you are ready to accept a final payment.
Remember that you have a legal contract with your insurance company. Most insurance companies are a for-profit business whose goal it is to make money for their shareholders. This goal may be in direct conflict with providing full compensation to you when you make a claim. An experienced motor vehicle accident attorney can assist you in obtaining all of the benefits to which you are entitled.