If you recently suffered injuries or property damage in a car accident, you will now be facing the car accident claim process. Every driver in Montana must carry minimum amounts of car insurance. Montana is a fault insurance state, meaning you will file your car accident claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Before you go into the insurance settlement process, prepare your strategy to protect your rights. Use these tips to negotiate your claim settlement like a pro or call us at (406) 761-5595 to speak with a professional car accident lawyer today.
When you call the insurance company, the agent will ask you many questions about the crash. These may include how many vehicles the crash involved, the name of the other driver, the names of any eyewitnesses, the approximate value of property damage, a description of any injuries, and how the crash happened. Gather as much information and evidence as you can about your crash before making the insurance call. The more knowledge about your crash you have, the smoother the claims process will go.
Insurance claims have strict rules for filing – including a deadline by which all claimants must file. In general, you must call the at-fault driver’s insurance company as soon as possible. This means once you’ve gotten medical attention and can make the phone call, you should. Waiting could give the insurer the right to deny your claim. Report your crash to the police as well, if it caused more than $1,000 in property damage or injuries/deaths. Give the insurance company the police report number.
Even if you’re 99% sure you caused the car accident, do not say the words, “It was my fault.” Never admit fault for a car accident at the scene, to police, or to the insurance company. It is not up to you to determine fault. Instead, leave it to the professionals – a team of investigators whose job it is to identify what caused the accident. There could be a third factor you’re unaware of, such as the other driver’s bad brakes or the city’s failure to fix a pothole. Admitting fault can close the case before it even begins.
During your initial conversation with the insurance agent, you will need to give the facts and details of your car accident. Stick only to what you know to be true, such as the directions both vehicles were heading, where the crash happened, and whether anyone had injuries. Do not guess or speculate as to what caused the crash or who is at fault. Don’t lie about the accident, but don’t divulge details unless the agent specifically asks. The agent can and will use things you say against you later. Keep your answers short, simple, and honest.
Insurance claims adjusters know less about your car accident than you do. Don’t let a pushy claims adjuster convince you into accepting a settlement on the spot, admitting fault, or recording an official statement. Take your time and review all your options carefully. Politely decline to record a statement and explain that you wish to speak to a personal injury lawyer before accepting a settlement. The adjuster wants to minimize your settlement amount, not maximize it. A lawyer, on the other hand, will tell you how to get the most for your claim.
Car accident attorneys excel at car accident insurance claim negotiations. Their job is to get the facts of the case and negotiate a settlement according to the client’s best interests. Using a lawyer can even the playing field between you and the insurance company. Most insurers will offer more as soon as they discover a claimant has hired an attorney. Learn the true value of your car accident case during a free consultation in Montana.