Vehicle accidents happen all the time. While nobody wants to get into an accident, having insurance is important and can help cover expenses from any injuries or property damage incurred in the crash. Unfortunately, the insurance claims process can be difficult, which is the last thing a car accident victim needs. State Farm is a major insurance carrier that has been in business for decades. They have a streamlined insurance claims process, but that does not mean a quick settlement if your best bet. The Orange County car accident lawyers at Bentley & More, LLP can help you navigate the legal process after a car crash in Southern California.
Immediately after a crash
Regardless of what insurance company you use, there are several steps you can take immediately after an accident to help ensure the claims process goes more smoothly.
First, make sure everyone is safe. If anybody requires medical attention, make sure that EMS is on the way to the scene. If you are injured, do not hesitate to seek medical assistance. The signs and symptoms of many car accident injuries are not immediately apparent, so it is always a good idea to let a doctor perform an evaluation.
Make sure police are on the way to the crash scene so they can perform their investigation and complete the accident report. If you have a smartphone or other camera, take pictures of any damages to the vehicles, injuries, causes of the crash, traffic patterns, and more. Get the names and contact information of any eyewitnesses.
Contact State Farm’s claims department
After the authorities have cleared the scene and all injuries are taken care of, you should contact State Farm as soon as possible after an accident. An initial claim is just that – initial. You do not have to go into detail when you first make your claim, but the insurance company does need to know about the crash.
If you are the State Farm policyholder, you can usually make the claim online or through their smartphone app using your account information. You can also call State Farm at 1-800-STATE-FARM (782 8332). Their phone service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
This is also the point where you should consider speaking to an attorney, particularly for any further conversations with the insurance carrier or claims adjusters.
Insurance companies are “for-profit.”
It is important to remember that insurance companies are not your friends, even though most of their employees and adjusters are friendly people. Because insurance companies are for-profit, they will look for ways to lower any eventual payout they make in a settlement. This can include using your statements against you. It is important that you maintain a consistent story concerning the car accident.
Before speaking to an adjuster about a final settlement, you and your attorney will need to determine your total damages due to the accident. This can include:
- Medical bills
- Car repair bills
- Lost income if you had to miss work
Please understand that the initial settlement made by the insurance company this probably a low offer and that you should not accept any settlement until you have a complete understanding of your total expenses. The insurance company may push for a quick settlement, but this could lower the total amount you are entitled to. Until you are fully recovered from any injuries, there is no way you will know what your total costs will be. We understand you may need compensation for incoming medical bills and car repairs, but a quick settlement may not pay off in the long run.