Most of us are lucky enough to never think about our car insurance policy. You might complain about paying your premium every month or year. However, car insurance can be extremely valuable and if you do get into a car accident, it is important to know how to use it.
So how does the insurance claim process work in Los Angeles, CA? Read on to learn more.
Types Of Car Insurance In Los Angeles
California drivers are required to carry liability coverage, at a minimum. Liability coverage is a basic form of car insurance that pays for injuries and property damage to others when you cause a crash. Basic liability coverage does not pay for your injuries if you are responsible for the crash.
On top of your liability coverage, you can purchase other coverage forms. This includes:
- Uninsured motorist coverage: in case you get in an accident with someone who does not have insurance
- Medical payments coverage: to cover your immediate medical care if you are at fault
- Physical damage coverage: to cover your car from physical damage with another car and other objects like falling trees, vandalism, etc.
Making sure that you are insured can be the difference between having an accident fully covered and having to foot an expensive bill.
Car Insurance Claim Process
If you do get into a car accident, the first step is to identify who is liable for causing the crash. California follows an at-fault insurance law. That means that person who is responsible for causing the crash is the person whose insurance policy is used.
File The Insurance Claim
You will fill out paperwork about the crash, including when and where it happened and the circumstances of the accident. If your car has been damaged or you have been hurt, you will also include information about the damage and your injuries.
Remember that each car insurance company has a different policy regarding the amount of time that you have to file a claim after a crash. You should complete the claim on time and avoid missing this deadline.
Provide Evidence To Support Your Claim
When you file the claim, or in the days after, you will need to provide evidence to support your claim. Evidence may include, but is not limited to:
- Your statement to an insurance adjuster
- Photographs from the scene of the accident
- Photographs of your car
- An estimate from an auto repair shop
- Medical records
- Eye-witness testimony
- Police reports
The more evidence you have to show you are entitled to payment, the better your chance of recovering the full amount of your damages.
Make sure that you are careful when you provide a statement to the insurance adjuster. Usually, the statement is recorded. Insurance adjusters may sound nice on the phone, but they are not on your side. Their job is to look for evidence to deny your claim. Anything that you say may be construed against you, so never admit fault.
If you have any questions about how to speak with the adjustor, you should talk with a car accident attorney beforehand for advice.
Negotiate With The Insurance Company
In an ideal world, the auto insurance company will accept your claim and agree to pay your full damages. However, this is rarely the case. Most commonly, the insurance company will offer you payment for less than what you are requesting.
Most people who don’t have a lawyer will accept the payout to get the process over with. They don’t realize that you can negotiate with the insurance company. You have the right to reject their offer for settlement and demand a higher payment.
The insurance company may agree to this once they realize you are asserting your rights. However, they may also reject your counteroffer. In that case, you’ll need to file a car insurance lawsuit to get the damages that you deserve.
Contact a Los Angeles Car Accident Lawyers for Help
If your claim is completely denied, or the insurance company won’t agree to the full amount, you’ll need to file an injury lawsuit. It’s best to hire a lawyer, if you haven’t already, to help with this process. You only have two years to file a lawsuit, so it’s best to start the process sooner rather than later.
If you were injured in an accident in Los Angeles, CA or you lost a loved one and you need legal assistance, please contact us to schedule a free consultation. One of our Los Angeles car accident lawyers at M&Y Personal Injury Lawyers will get in touch with you soon.