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Recovering Damages from Car Accidents

Automobile and Truck Accidents May Result in Law Suits or Insurance Claims

Eveidence from you car accident and related documents should be collected in a convenient place:

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    Insurance policy - A copy of your car insurance policy to determine what type of auto insurance coverage you may be entitled to. Proof of Premium Payments - Auto insurance statement, bills, or receipts will show your insurance is paid for and will help prove your auto policy is in force. Information Exchanged at the Accident Scene - A copy of all information exchanged between parties to an accident while at the scene including including names and contact numbers. Police Information on the Accident - A copy of the auto accident report drafted by police which sould contain details about the accident including the on-scene officer's initial impression and the diagram of cars and pedestrians at the time of the accident. Traffic Tickets Related to the Incident - If you were issued a citation for a violated related to the accident. Photographs - If your car was damaged in the accident. Statements Made to the Insurance Company - If a representative of your auto insurance company contacted you to get your statement about the accident. If you hire a lawyer, you are not obliged to give a direct statement to your insurance company without first speaking to your attorney. Medical/ Psychological Records - All the medical records of your injuries and treatment made and as much as necessary the psychological and psychiatric treatment you received, including the names and addresses of your health providers. Income/ Pay Records - Your pre-accident earnings to help calculate any "lost wages" compensation.

Settling Car Accident Claims

Getting a fair car accident settlement involves negotiation. Insurance companies adjusters are trained to negotiate and settle. Every state has different regulations, but most states do not have car accident settlement regulations since most settlements are reached out of court.

Insurance companies leverage the vehicle damages (and the total loss process). The problem with accepting an early settlement is that you can potentially lose all your negotiation leverage. A car accident settlement due to a bodily injury is substantially more powerful than a total loss settlement. A bodily injury claim will take into account subjective values (i.e. pain and suffering, loss of consortium, loss of business income, etc.) The total loss settlement will only include "objective values." The insurance company will find the value of other similar vehicles in your local market and determine what is the most the can offer you. If you settle your injury claim, then you have no leverage. The insurance company will fix the car however they want to (i.e. they will fix your car with used parts). Having the power to argue that you were injured could make the adjuster be much more likely to settle with you for what you are owed. If you do not have an injury claim, trying to get your vehicle fixed or totaled can be a very difficult task.

Insurance adjusters "split" adjusters so you deal with two different people. The liability adjuster (the person dealing with vehicle damages) will tell you that the injury does not have anything with your vehicle repairs. The other will tell you the vehicle damages do not relate to the injury.

The injury and the vehicle damages are two different things. However, you are indeed dealing with one car accident. Your inconvenience for having your vehicle hit, having to deal with adjusters, dealing with medical bills, doctors, etc. must be compensated somehow. Injury adjusters will try to tell you that they are only settling pain and suffering, and that a car accident settlement does not include "inconvenience". This is incorrect. You are the ultimate person that settles your claim. You are owed for all damages that the liable party caused including claims raised due to bodily injury.

Causes of Auto Accident Claims

The main causes for car accidents are reckless and negligent driving, alcohol and drug related impairment, and inattentiveness. Teenagers, cause most car accidents. Inexperience coupled with irresponsible behavior and a lack of respect for the safety precautions are the main causes for such a high number of teenage car accidents. Inattentiveness can be caused by talking to passengers in the car, speaking on a cell phone-- evens a hands-free phone, alcohol, drugs, or the driver being distracted by music in the car. Reckless driving causes side or rear end collisions, pileups on the highways, and can result in traumatic physical injuries and death.
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