We’ve compiled a comprehensive yet concise outline of the process of reporting a car accident to the police at the scene and to insurance companies, along with our top 3 tips for dealing with car insurance companies after an accident.
After an accident, dealing with the New Orleans car accident claim process is probably the last thing anyone wants to do. Tensions are high in the direct aftermath of an accident, and you may be experiencing so much increased adrenaline that you don’t even realize you are injured. The first thing you want to do is check in with yourself and your body: are you in need of an ambulance? Don’t hesitate to go to the hospital after an accident. Your physical health is a top priority.
If, on the other hand, you are well enough to make a few phone calls and to speak to the police, you’ll want to do that immediately after the dust settles.
First, call the police. They will come to the scene of the accident and file a police report.
Second, call your insurance company to report your accident.
Calling the insurance company yourself lets your insurance company know that you are not represented by legal counsel. The insurance company will send a “non-repped” insurance adjuster to handle your claim, and this person’s sole job is to offer the victim of a car accident as little money as possible to settle the claim, resolve liability, and stop the victim from ever receiving additional compensation. When you hire a personal attorney after a car accident, your attorney will reporting a car accident and send a letter to the auto insurance company on your behalf. Now, a different, “attorney-repped” adjuster will review your claim, and the insurance company will take your claim more seriously. Statistically speaking, it is very likely that you will receive more compensation for your damages when your attorney contacts the insurance company rather than yourself. At Breaux Law Firm, we take a strong approach when dealing with insurance companies, and this results in big wins for our clients.
Designate an actual file folder where you will keep track of all physical paper copies of accident-related materials, such as the police report, your insurance policy, the other driver’s contact information, medical bills, requests for time off work. On your computer, you will also want to designate a file folder for digital documentation. Save a copy of all email correspondence as a PDF.
In the days, weeks, and even months after a car accident, your injuries may slowly begin to reveal themselves. Keeping a journal will help your personal injury attorney understand your injuries, whether they are physical or mental. Things like PTSD are common after accidents, and your claim can include treatment for this type of past or future suffering.
In general, you will not have to write your own accident report, and we do not suggest that you try to write your own accident report. The police will create a report. If you are asked to submit a report on your own, which is highly unlikely, we recommend working with a personal injury attorney in order to ensure that your legal rights are being respected and to help you take the most effective steps. A personal injury attorney is an expert in reporting a car accident.
A car accident report submitted to an insurance company or to your local DMV would include the following:
A claims adjuster is tasked with determining car accident liability in Louisiana and deciding how much the insurance company will offer a victim. We do not recommend working with a claims adjuster on your own. If you are represented by a personal injury attorney, your claim will be taken more seriously by the insurance company. If you are dealing with them on your own, you risk being taken advantage of.
For example, do not sign a medical release when working with the claims adjuster! This can give the insurance company access to your older medical files, which they may use to claim your injuries after the accident were already in existence.
Also, know that you do not have to use the auto body shop that the insurance adjuster tells you to use. According to Louisiana law, you have the right to select your body shop.
A claims adjuster is not going to tell you these things—but a personal injury attorney will! We will represent you, fight for you, and negotiate for you in order to make sure that you receive fair compensation for all of your past and future pain and suffering.
Immediately. If you were injured in a car accident, you should contact a personal injury attorney, like the team at Breaux Law Firm, as soon as possible. But in fact, you aren’t really “hiring” us, because you won’t pay us at all. Your attorney’s payment will be a small percentage of whatever amount you win from your case.
Most good personal injury attorneys will first listen to the details of your accident and then determine if you have a strong case. They won’t take on a case they aren’t likely to win, because that means they will not be paid for their time and effort.
So working with a personal injury attorney to assist you with your car accident claim means you will have an ally in your corner, someone who understands Louisiana law and Louisiana insurance policies. Your lawyer will communicate on your behalf with the police, insurance agents, insurance adjusters, and even the other driver involved in the crash. With those things taken off your plate, you’ll be able to focus on recovering.
Breaux Law Firm, hands down. We’re here for you. We believe in personalized attention for personal injuries. And as a family-owned business, we’re ready to fight for you like you’re one of our own family members.
Reach out to us today for a free consultation.