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Our Attorneys Understand the Ins and Outs of Navigating Auto Insurance Claims After a Crash

When you have suffered an injury in a car accident, regardless the extent of the injuries, eventually the adjuster for the insurance company will be in touch with you. Once the insurance adjuster has carefully analyzed all the evidence in the case, they are going to present you with a settlement offer. There are ways to reject the offer so you can fight for the amount you feel your deserve, so never accept that first offer. After receiving a settlement offer, your first step should be to speak with respected car accident lawyers. 

Auto insurance claim form

Understanding the Car Accident Settlement Process in California

The goal of the insurance company is to make you settle for the smallest possible amount while hanging on to that cash as long as they can. Every day the money is in the bank of the insurance company, it is collecting interest. Regardless the evidence, the extent of your injuries, or what the police report reveals, the adjuster for the insurance company will try to get a feel for your desperation making the lowest possible initial offer.

Most naive claimants will accept the first offer because it is more money than they have seen at one time. The claimant should immediately file a rejection letter with the adjuster and insurance company.

Determining the Value of Your Injuries

Determining what the value of your claim is can be difficult for the average person. Perhaps you are suffering from a catastrophic injury, your medical bills are piling up, and you haven't been working. The adjuster for the insurance company knows that time is on their side, so they will drag their heels in an effort to get you to break and accept any offer. Without the help of an auto accident lawyer, the claimant may underestimate exactly how much they are entitled to the claim.

There are too many variables in a car accident case to just assume a value. Your attorney would consider your pain, your suffering, the cost of treatment years in the future, the value of your inability to work, and how this injury will negatively impact you in your later years, then put one value on everything.

Are There Maximum Payout Limits for California Car Accident Claims?

For most car accidents, it is incredibly difficult to get any money beyond the amount that the other person's insurance will cover. However, it is not impossible. If the person who strikes you with their vehicle happens to be wealthy or have some sizable assets, then you may be able to sue them for those assets or money. It is not out of the realm of possibilities that the court may award you more than the amount that is the exception and not the rule.

It is best to check with your car accident attorney to see what kind of limits the defendant’s insurance policy has set within it. They are almost certainly going to advise you to go just for the limit that the insurance company is willing to pay. That is the starting point, but it does not necessarily end there. The insurance company is very likely to come back with a counteroffer of some kind. That offer will let you know where you stand in the negotiation.

The insurance company is likely to start at a pretty low starting point. They are trying to protect their own interests in this case, and that means that they are very likely to come in at an amount that you are not going to be able to accept. This is to be accepted and your attorney knows that this is the most likely outcome in the beginning. They are prepared to come back to the insurance company once again with a different settlement offer. This is the back and forth that happens between insurance companies and lawyers all the time. You should try to listen to your lawyer’s advice as far as how you should proceed as the case continues to move forward. They will know what to do in just about any circumstances that could end up being thrown your way.

What a Car Insurance Company Doesn't Want You to Know

Many people think that their insurance company has their best interest in mind. However, many insurance companies will deliberately withhold information from people. There are many things that your insurance companies will not tell you.

Having Your Car Declared As A Total Loss is Not Always a Good Thing

If your car has suffered serious damage, then you may think that declaring it as a total loss is the best thing to do. However, this actually benefits the insurance company more than it benefits you. If your vehicle is totaled, then you may end up getting less than what you need to buy a new car. Insurance companies actually make more money when you declare your vehicle a total loss.

It is Important to Take Your Own Photos

You will need to have documentation to support your claim. That is why you will need to take your own photos. Not only will you need to take photos of the damage, but you will also need to take photos of the area.

Your Car may be Worth Less After You Repair It

Even if you are able to get your car repaired, it may still be worth a lot less. If your insurance company pays for the damage, then you may still be getting less than what they need. You may be able to get a diminished value claim.

There are Time Limits

Most people are aware of the fact that there is a time limit that applies when you file a claim. However, you may have less time than you realize. The sooner you file a claim, the sooner you will be able to get your compensation. You should file a claim immediately. However, if you have to get medical attention, then you should do it within 14 days.

Letting Your Friend Drive Your Car is Risky

Many people think that they will not be on the hook if their friend drives the car and gets into an accident. However, you are responsible for anyone who drives your car. Your rates will still likely go up after an accident. You may also be sued. If you choose to let someone borrow your car, then they should have their own personal auto insurance.

Your Insurance Coverage May be Dropped

There are many things that you can do that can cause your coverage to get dropped. For example, if you are caught driving under the influence, then you can lose your coverage. You may also have your coverage dropped if you do not tell your insurance company that there is someone else who drives your car regularly.

Our Car Accident Attorneys are Here to Negotiate for You

No matter what kind of accident you experienced, speaking with the insurance company can be a confusing and overwhelming experience. Take the guesswork out of your car accident claim, and talk to our auto accident lawyers today. Contact Banafshe Law Firm today for a free consultation on your case.