Is it a simple insurance claim?
Many insurance companies have easy-to-use apps that help you make a claim with just your phone. For most minor accidents, filing a claim this way is enough. You have pre-set your deductibles and know how much you will have to pay vs. how much the insurance company will pay for the repair. Generally, this is a relatively painless method to get your car repaired.
As a consumer, you have the right to choose which body shop will do your car repair. If the money you get for the repair from the insurance company seems way less than what the shop is charging you, then be sure to shop around a bit before committing to one. There can also be an issue if the insurance settlement still seems too low, even after shopping around for a fair price.
Things may get even more complicated if there were serious injuries, expensive damage, or even laws broken in the accident.
When you need a lawyer
Although you may feel like you can handle most minor claims, you should hire a lawyer if:
- The settlement amount is way less than what you’d pay for your deductible AND the cost of the repair (make sure you know how much your deductible is as insurance only kicks in after you pay that amount)
- The claim involves a lawsuit on either side; you’ll need an advocate to help you legally assert your rights if there is a trial.
- Claims where fault is hard to establish; if there is a runaround about who caused the accident, making it harder for your insurance to pay out a settlement, you should involve a lawyer.
Keep meticulous records
Any time you are involved in an accident, you should always keep records of interactions with the other driver, pictures of the damage, and track any medical expenses incurred because of the accident. Even if you think the claim process will be simple, it is best to keep records in case you ever need a lawyer to step in.
In the end, it is better to seek out a lawyer than not if there are any questions about the settlement. You may feel like you have no recourse, but that is not usually the case. Don’t be intimidated by pushy insurance companies if you do not feel that you received a fair settlement.
Our office has extensive experience with insurance claims. We would be happy to speak to you and help you through what can be a complicated process.