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How Do I File a Claim After a Traffic Accident?

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Car insurance policy holder files a claim to insurance agent on his damaged car.

A car accident claim is a request for compensation the insurance policy provides for personal injuries, vehicle, and property damage. Filing an accident claim involves contacting the insurance company and providing them with information about the crash. Traffic accident attorneys are a valuable resource when working with insurance companies to ensure that victims get a fair payout from their claims.

Steps to Follow to Make an Accident Claim

The claims process begins in the immediate moments following a traffic accident. Victims should first check for serious injuries on themselves, passengers, and occupants of other involved vehicles. If the accident occurred in an area that creates additional hazards, vehicles should be moved out of harm’s way when possible. Next, victims should call emergency services or a non-emergency police line, depending on the severity of the crash.

Contacting authorities initiates the police report process. In addition to a police report, victims can benefit from documenting the scene of the crash, collecting eyewitness testimonies, collecting insurance information from involved drivers, and documenting injuries and treatment.

Working with Insurance Companies

Once a police report has been filed, victims should contact their insurance companies to report the accident. Reporting as soon as possible provides the victim with the opportunity to represent the accident with the most accurate information, as evidence can be damaged over time, and it can be difficult to remember details long term.

Victims should be ready to provide all the information the vehicle’s insurance policy requires. Generally, that will include the following:

  • Which vehicle was involved that the policy covers, and who was driving it? 
  • Where and when did the accident happen?
  • Who was the driver of the other vehicle, if another vehicle was involved, and what is his or her insurance information?
  • The names and contact information of anyone else involved in the accident, including any witnesses to what happened. 
  • The police report identification number

Keeping track of the above information helps victims to prove fault in a car accident claim. In some claims, fault is obvious, such as in rear-end auto accidents. However, other accident types may require further investigation to prove fault.

Working with a Traffic Accident Attorney

Victims should work with a traffic accident attorney as soon as possible following a crash. Victims should avoid speaking directly to the other party’s insurance company; instead, an attorney should act as the direct contact on the victim’s behalf. If the traffic accident claim is contested, either by the other parties involved or their insurance companies, an accident lawyer can help victims validate their claims, prove they are not at fault for an accident, and ensure all information provided is complete and accurate. 

About the Author

Kurt D. Lloyd is a plaintiff’s trial lawyer who focuses on medical malpractice and other catastrophic injury cases. He lives in Chicago and represents injured clients throughout Illinois. He is also the founder of Lloyd Law Group, Ltd.

Chicago accident lawyer Kurt D. Lloyd