Car accidents are tough. While dealing with bodily injuries and damage to your car and other personal belongings, you also have to deal with the insurance company. It’s hard enough alone, but when the insurance company thinks it’s your fault, it’s even harder. If you’re the one found at fault, you could be charged by your insurance company and the cost of your premium could rise.
Once a car accident happens that you believe isn’t your fault and you’ve assessed your injuries, you can file a personal injury claim with the other driver’s insurance company, and the claim can be won by proving the negligence of the at-fault driver. In this case, you and the other driver are both sending letters, and it’s up to you to prove to the insurance company with enough evidence demonstrating that you were not at fault in the accident.
What Happens When You’re Found at Fault
If the other driver was injured and thinks you’re at fault, you need to report the accident immediately to your insurance company, because they will file a claim against you.
If other driver’s insurance company believes you caused the accident, they will either deny your claim or offer you a very small settlement. If this happens, it’s in your best interests to get a lawyer, because you’ll have to go to court and present the case in front of a judge.
Talk to the insurance adjuster who reviewed your case, and if you need to, talk to his or her superiors. If the company still won’t change their decision, you may need to look into state or federal laws. Most states have protective laws in unfair liability issues, as well as a state body that oversees insurance affairs. You generally need to make your request in writing, and once it’s received an investigator will be sent to examine the case and decide how to proceed forward.
How to Prove You Weren’t at Fault
To turn the case around, you need to first understand how the claim is decided when you and the other driver are both accused of negligence. You then need to definitively prove the other driver was at fault. Evidence is extremely important in this case, and it may be the only thing that can save your name. The physical evidence needs to be very specific to show how the accident occurred.
Photographic evidence of the scene best shows where the cars are damaged, how badly the cars were damaged, the location of the cars after the accident, skid marks on the road, where pieces of the cars landed, and any traffic signs that should have been obeyed. If you are able, take as many photos from as many angles as you can.
Witness statements are also necessary, because passersby are uninvolved and neutral, so judges and juries are more likely to believe them over you or the other driver. You should gather names, addresses, and phone numbers of witness that are willing to testify so you can use them in your claim.
Police reports have even more influence than witness statements. If you are every involved in an accident, always call the police. Most states do have laws requiring police involvement for more severe accidents involving injuries or high damage costs. However, you may not think it’s necessary in a small accident, but you never know what problems may occur afterwards.
Filing Your Own Claim
When sending your own demand letter, you need to not only include a description of the event and the damages and injuries you sustained, but you also need documentation. Provide copies of repair invoices, hospital bills, police reports, and your photos. Being organized and calm is important. It’s frustrating to have to fight the decision, but getting angry may make the insurance companies and court officials less likely to want to work with you.