The period of time following a car accident can be confusing and overwhelming, and contacting the insurance company might be the last thing on a victim’s mind. But it is not a good idea to put off filing a claim until later. Even though resolving a claim and dealing with other aspects of insurance law can be time-consuming, most insurance companies in Washington have strict deadlines for filing.
Filing a police report is usually one of the first steps following a car accident. Since the report will generally show who was at fault, it will provide guidance on which insurance company to contact. In general, people should contact the insurance company of the driver considered at fault. If both drivers share fault or it is not clear where fault actually lies, contacting both is advisable. Filing a claim right away is best to avoid missing any deadlines.
After filing the claim, a claims adjuster will be appointed to the case. A claims adjuster investigates claims, values any losses and decides whether a policy qualifies someone for payment. This can be a lengthy process that involves interviews with drivers as well as witnesses.
After wrapping up an investigation, an insurance adjuster will resolve a person’s claim in one of three ways. He or she may approve the claim with full payment, approve the claim with partial payment or deny the claim. A denied claim is not always the end of the road though, as people can choose to file an appeal.
Washington drivers carry auto insurance to protect themselves and others from the financial burden associated with accidents. Understanding how to file a claim, important deadlines and other aspects of insurance law is key to successfully navigating this process. Since compensation is on the line, speaking with an experienced attorney could be helpful.