Getting into a car accident can be financially crippling. This is especially true if you’ve suffered from a major injury following a traffic collision. To avoid heavy financial burdens, it’s crucial that you have sufficient car insurance to cover medical expenses as well as car repairs.
However, your insurance provider may not compensate you for the full amount your policy entitles you to. They can take certain factors into consideration that would reduce your insurance claim. In this article, we discuss what factors can influence the amount you’re awarded, and what you can do to prevent your insurer from giving you less than your due.
Proving That Accident Was Not Your Fault
The value of your insurance claim can be greatly diminished if your insurance provider thinks that you caused the accident. Even when your vehicle was stationary at the time of the car collision, you can still be found at fault for contributing to the accident out of negligence. A common example of contributory negligence is if your car doesn’t have working taillights. If your car was rear-ended, your insurer could argue that the accident was your fault because you didn’t maintain your taillights, as you should have.
To prevent insurers from penalizing your insurance claim value, you can submit supporting documents that prove you weren’t at fault during the accident. Examples of such evidence include:
• A copy of the official police report on the accident, saying that you had no part in causing the accident.
• If available, a copy of any traffic surveillance video showing that you did not contribute to the accident whatsoever and that you were following all traffic rules at the time of the collision.
• Statements from bystanders who were at a clear vantage point to determine who crashed into who during the accident.
• A statement from your doctor regarding your sustained injuries and the treatments you will need
• Your own statement about what happened during the car crash, as well as how the accident has negatively impacted your life. You could also ask your family members to provide statements on how the accident has also affected your relationship with them and your ability to provide for their needs.
Collecting these records and presenting them in an orderly manner can be complicated. In such cases, it is best to get legal help to make sure that all the documents you gathered actually help your case rather than hurt it.
An experienced lawyer should be able to help you gather all available evidence, and advise you on any potentially negative implications of particular statements. Hiring legal counsel will help you eliminate the uncertainty of whether you’re doing the right thing or not, and make the whole process less gruelling and stressful.
Proof Of A Clean Driving Record
This is somewhat related to proving that the car accident wasn’t your fault. If you’re a good driver with a clean record, the insurance company would likely look favorably upon your claim.
After a car accident, insurance providers would also typically raise your premium rates. Provided that you can prove the accident wasn’t your fault and that you have a good driving history, you could successfully convince the insurance company to retain your original premium rate.
Documentation Of Your Injuries And Medical Treatments
Insurers tend to give higher compensation for cases wherein the insured party has been severely injured. As can be expected, if you’ve suffered a catastrophic injury that affects your daily functioning, the insurer will typically award a high amount. Examples of such injuries include paralysis from spinal cord injury. To substantiate your insurance claim, the insurer would examine your medical records. They will take a look at what treatments you have been receiving and how long for.
Insurers would also consider which practices you’ve been receiving treatments from. If you require outpatient therapy, your primary doctor would typically recommend a certain provider. If you choose to go against the recommendation and seek treatment from your own therapist, your insurer may not look too favorably on your insurance claim for that service.
Using Your Policy’s Accident Forgiveness Coverage
A few car insurance policies provide you with ‘accident forgiveness’. This coverage applies only once per policy, and will allow you to keep your premium rate after a car accident. Keep in mind however that this does not erase the accident from your permanent record.