FAQs of Filing a Car Accident Claim

Owning a car is a costly investment, and if you can, you have likely taken out insurance on your vehicle. The goal is to have funds available if you are involved in an accident and suffer damage to your car. You may also have insurance to cover you from claims if the other person wants to sue you for damages. 

But how do you file a car accident claim


The Legal Aspects of Filing a Car Accident Claim

When you have an accident, you probably want to have the other driver pay, but in some states of the US, drivers have to first claim against their own insurance when the accident is a “no-fault” caused accident. Only once their own insurance doesn’t want to pay in full can you sue the other driver and their insurance company for damages. 

Third-Party Claims

If you are the claimant, you are the third party that claims against the other driver’s insurance. This is known as a third-party claim, usually covered by third-party insurance or liability cover. 

Third-party claims usually resolve without incident as long as the cause of the accident is nobody’s fault. The driver who accidentally caused the accident may find their insurance risk profile will change, which leads to an increased monthly premium. Still, the insurer will usually carry the loss and pay damages to the claimant. 

Underinsured Driver Claims

What about when the other driver has no insurance or is underinsured? What now? While you can sue them in their personal capacity, they may not have the funds or any assets that have enough value to recoup your losses. 

In this case, you’d have to approach your insurer to recover losses such as damage to your vehicle or medical costs from injuries. Some insurers won’t be eager to pay your total claim amount, which is where a lawyer specializing in motor insurance claims can help. 

Insurers can quickly try to pull the wool over your eyes, but they’ll be more careful of trying this with a lawyer who specializes in insurance law. Chances are that you’ll get a much better settlement or that if there’s cause, you can take them to court. 

Gap Cover for Insurance

Vehicles can often cost more than your insurance value, especially if your vehicle depreciates quickly or you have a large excess payment (aka balloon payment). So while your insurer may pay what the vehicle was worth, it may not settle your vehicle debt. This is where having a gap cover in place is ideal. Gap cover would ensure you can settle the amount owing on the vehicle since nobody wants to still pay on a totaled vehicle. 

Deciding to Sue the Other Driver

Nobody likes having a legal battle to recover your financial loss after a car accident, but when the insurers can’t settle or if it’s a rare case where both insurers refuse to settle, you may have to go to court. 

You can take the other driver to the small claims court for smaller claim amounts. You can sue for up to $10,000 in the small claims court if it’s your private vehicle. You can sue for up to $5,000 for business vehicles per claim. 

The Golden Ingredient to Insurance Claim Success

To win your car insurance claim, you must be prepared and patient. Start by documenting the accident immediately. Take photos of everything, collect the details of the police officer in charge of the investigation, and collect any information on injuries, etc.

Next, study your insurance policy schedule document, ensuring you know your coverage details before filing an insurance claim. You may seek legal aid to guide you through the process if necessary.