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How To File A Car Accident Claim In Spokane

After getting into an accident along Interstate 90 or any street across Spokane, you’ll understandably have a lot of questions about the insurance claims process.

Major damage to your vehicle or a serious injury may leave you in desperate need of financial support to get back on your feet and back on the road.

You may believe that a simple phone call to your insurance provider or another driver’s provider will secure all the compensation you need. Unfortunately, insurance companies don’t usually make it easy to claim the money you’ll require to make a full recovery.

There are some key facts to remember when you are forced to file an insurance claim after an accident.

Where to Begin After a Spokane Car Accident

After a traffic accident, and once any injuries have been stabilized, it’s time to alert several groups of what happened:

  • Notify your insurance provider of the incident no matter who was at fault.
  • Notify authorities. After an accident in Washington involving $1,000 or more in property damage to any one vehicle or an injury, a report must be filed with the Washington State Police. If officers on the scene indicate they’ll be making the report, you won’t have to.
  • Set up a free case consultation with a Spokane Car Accident Lawyer.

Do I Need a Car Accident Lawyer After an Accident?

If your accident entailed only property damage and/or a minor injury, you probably won’t benefit from having a personal injury lawyer on your case.

When there’s a serious injury involved, it’s a different story. The higher the costs of medical care, the harder insurance companies, including your own provider, will fight to avoid providing you with full coverage for all of your expenses. They may even be tempted to try and unfairly blame you for what happened.

To get a lesson on how to guard against these and other insurance tactics, talk with a real Spokane Car Accident Lawyer. Contact CCD Law for a free case consultation. We will listen to you and go over every option you have for getting proper support. We’ll let you know if we can help you improve the outcome of your case. If not, we’ll advise you of what you can do to secure what’s fair.

Filing a Claim After a Spokane Accident

When you file your claim, an adjuster will be assigned to your case. The adjuster is responsible for investigating your case.

The adjuster will seek ways to downplay your injury, shift blame to you, or even dig up your past driving record to show you’re a reckless driver. Anything they can do to cast doubt on your innocence in a car accident will save their parent company money. It’s the adjuster’s job.

To further this goal, the adjuster will also call you to get a recorded statement about what happened. You should politely decline to make this statement. You aren’t legally required to provide a statement.

The things you say in this statement can only hurt your case. If you’ve turned your case over to a personal injury attorney, allow your legal representative to handle all communications with insurance agencies.

In addition to your claims form, your adjuster will be seeking several pieces of information after a crash. You’ll be asked to provide medical invoices, car damage reports from body shops, photos from the scene, and proof of your lost income while missing work.

Your adjuster will also secure statements from other drivers involved and witnesses.

Should I Offer a Recorded Statement to My Adjuster?

At some point, the adjuster will also call you to get a recorded statement about what happened. You should politely decline to make this statement. You aren’t legally required to provide a statement.

The things you say in this statement can only hurt your case. If you’ve turned your case over to a personal injury attorney, allow your legal representative to handle all communications with insurance agencies.

Timeline of an Accident Insurance Claim in Washington

When you submit a claim to your car insurance company you aren’t at their mercy. You do have the right to a quick response and fair treatment.

Washington law gives insurance providers up to 10 days to acknowledge the receipt of your claim and send the proper paperwork (including a proof-of-loss form) to you with instructions provided. This regulation and others are listed here… WAC 284-30-360(3).

After receiving your proof-of-loss forms, the insurance company has 30 working days to investigate your claim and make a decision on what they will cover. Covered under codes listed here… WAC 284-30-370.

They have another 20 days to provide payment on your claim.

These deadlines may not apply if your case is very complex, involves a severe injury, or when the fault in an accident is disputed. Insurance companies can ask for extensions on deadlines if they can prove the delays are necessary.

The Office of the Insurance Commissioner clearly states the rights of accident victims in Washington. You are entitled to each of the following from your insurance provider:

  • A timely and clear explanation of their coverage decision
  • A clear explanation of how they will pay your claim
  • Timely responses to your questions
  • Timely payments

If you feel your rights haven’t been respected, or that deadlines have been missed, you may have the grounds to file an “unfair claim settlement practices” lawsuit.

What if My Claim is Denied?

If your claim is denied and you feel you’ve been treated unfairly, you might have to consider filing a lawsuit to secure support. If you haven’t talked over your case with a legal professional at this point, it’s a good time to schedule a free consultation.

Find out if a reputable Spokane Car Accident Lawyer agrees with your belief that an insurance company falsely denied compensation to you.

A lawsuit can make for a powerful negotiating tool when dealing with insurance companies. Insurance providers hate having to go to court over a claim. It costs them a lot of money and their “bad faith” practices are often publically exposed.

Filing a lawsuit with the help of a personal injury lawyer is often enough of a threat to get an insurer to open your case back and return to the negotiating table. You can end up getting more than you expected out of an insurance claim when you turn the tables on insurance companies.

Contact a Car Accident Lawyer in Spokane

After becoming the victim of a careless driver and getting seriously hurt, talk over your case with our Spokane Car Accident Lawyers. If you’ve been unfairly treated by an insurance company, don’t feel like you have to accept it. Tell us what happened to you so we can determine the best path to getting you adequate support to rebuild your life.

Established in Spokane in 1948, Crary, Clark, Domanico, & Chuang, P.S. is committed to providing our clients with the absolute highest quality legal representation.  Contact us after any accident resulting in a serious injury for a free, confidential case evaluation. We will only offer you advice that is in your best interest.

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