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Negotiating Your Accident Insurance Claim

In 2022, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation reported a total of 115,938 motor vehicle accidents. Of those, 67,012 resulted in injuries. Understanding how to negotiate a successful claim with the at-fault driver's insurance company could be a way to restore your financial peace of mind. The First Step in Claim Negotiations The first step in the claims process is to contact the at-fault insurance company's claims department to initiate the claim as soon as you have a copy of the police report of the accident. The claims department should ask relatively general questions about what happened in the car accident regarding property damage to your vehicle and medical injuries for you and any other passengers. Provide precise answers to their questions without offering any extra information. Be mindful of what you say. The insurance company could possibly use things you say against you to reduce the amount of your claim. You want to be truthful in your answers, but only report basic information at this time. Once the claim is reported to the insurance company, they should assign your case to an insurance adjuster. Be sure to ask for your claim number and the time frame for the claims adjuster to contact you. Understand What Is Covered When you are contacted by your claims adjuster, request a copy of the at-fault driver's insurance policy to include their coverage limits. It could be helpful to read the policy to understand what is covered and how much coverage is offered for property damage and medical expenses. You might choose to work with an Allentown personal injury lawyer to research the terms of the policy and gain a better understanding of the coverages. Additionally, the claims adjuster will likely make an appointment with you to inspect your vehicle and assess damages. Present Documentation of Injuries The insurance company will probably request a copy of all medical bills, paid medical receipts, and an estimate of future medical costs. Your doctor could be an asset to help you and the insurance company understand what is needed to take care of immediate medical expenses as well costs that you may incur in the future for injuries related to the accident. However, some injuries do not always produce symptoms immediately. For example, the symptoms of a concussion might not show up for days after an accident, and in rare cases, the concussion could require treatment for months. If this happens, your medical bills could continue for some time, and you might not be able to work for an extended period. Keep Detailed Records Document every conversation that you have with the claims adjuster or any representative of the insurance company and keep track of when the adjuster is supposed to contact you. If the adjuster does not make contact when they said they would, be sure to call them. Remember to be kind and courteous but firm in your communication and expectations. Be Prepared for the First Offer Be ready for this offer and have your counteroffer prepared. It might be helpful to obtain your own valuation of your vehicle damage by having an auto repair shop examine your car. They should be able to tell you how much the repairs will cost and estimate the value of your car if the insurance company determines it is a total loss. The initial offer might also include payment for medical bills. If this is a low offer, your documentation for medical bills and the estimation of continued care could come in handy. Include what you think would be a fair amount for compensation for property damage, medical bills, and lost wages. The counteroffer should be prepared and submitted in writing. Accepting an Offer If the insurance company comes back with an offer that takes care of your vehicle and medical bills, you would usually accept the offer by signing a release of liability. Once this is signed, you will likely not be able to make a claim for additional compensation from this incident. At Metzger & Kleiner, we are happy to review your case. Give one of our Allentown personal injury lawyers a call at 610-435-7400 to schedule an appointment today.

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