Immediately after the accident, drivers hopefully exchanged contact and insurance policy information. Drivers may benefit from acquiring an accident report that establishes the other driver’s fault. The steps required to acquire the report may vary by the department that filled out the report. For example, Cleveland maintains a database that allows drivers view online accident reports.
Other types of evidence to collect when pursuing a claim include witness testimonies (if you obtained their information after the accident) and any photographs that you or other parties took at the scene of the crash.
You can help establish the damages suffered with:
Among the calls drivers should make after an accident is one to their own insurance company. They should also call the other driver’s insurer to inform it of the accident if they plan to file a claim against it. Depending on the insurance choices the driver made before the accident, she may be able to file a claim with her own insurance. MedPay (medical payments) coverage can pay for the driver’s medical bills and those of her passengers, regardless of who caused the accident. Collision coverage pays for damage to the vehicle, but generally comes with a deductible the policyholder must meet. Finally, uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance covers accidents involving drivers with no insurance or with insufficient coverage, respectively.
But Ohio is a fault-based insurance state, meaning accident victims can file a claim against the at-fault driver to pursue compensation for their damages.
Auto claims begin with the initial filing. The insurance adjuster will investigate the accident and any evidence the claimant shares to determine liability. Adjusters may ask for personal information from the drivers, and depending on the circumstances; drivers should talk to their attorney before sending any information to the insurance company or before providing any kind of statement regarding the accident.
After the investigation, the company offers a settlement amount to the driver based on the investigation, which the driver can either accept or reject. Claimants should confer with their attorney regarding any settlement offer. It should be fair and fully account for current and future damages.
If the claimant rejects it, her attorney may continue negotiations or may begin the personal injury lawsuit process. Negotiations may continue during this process, but ultimately the case might wind up in court to decide entitlement to damages.
Drivers injured in serious crashes should hire an attorney to represent them through the car insurance claims process. Ryan, LLP represents injured drivers in and around Cleveland. Contact our office at 877-864-9495 or via our online form to set up an appointment to speak with an attorney.About the author of this article: Thomas Ryan