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After a car accident: Steps to take, pitfalls to avoid

An unexpected car accident can be upsetting as well as damaging financially. You may face the loss of your property as well as suffer from injuries sustained in the incident. In the immediate aftermath, you may not be sure exactly how to handle what is happening. Everything is moving fast, and there is lots of communication and possible confusion.

Luckily, people familiar with the ins and outs of car accidents have gathered some common tips for how to handle car insurance claims. By becoming well-informed, you may be able to avoid any issues with the insurers and be on your way to a full recovery before you know it. When you are aware of the proper steps to take, and you also are familiar with certain actions that should be avoided, you may be able to minimize a lot of your stress in the aftermath of such an unfortunate incident.

Steps to take after the accident

Immediately after the accident, after checking on everyone involved and calling the police, you will want to get the insurance information of the other driver. Call your agent as soon as possible after the accident -- once you get home or even before you go to the doctor if you can. You will likely want to review and understand your insurance before making that call, and when you do, be sure to take detailed notes on any conversations you have with the agency.

Along with your notes, you will want to have records like photos and receipts from anything associated with the accident. This also includes meals, lodging and purchases made during any point in your recovery and any time you spend working toward your insurance claim.

Pitfalls to avoid

You should always avoid offering to give a written or recorded statement about the accident until you are sure that you fully understand your coverage. Also, don't feel pressured into accepting the first offer from an insurer. Often, an insurance agency will make a low first offer based on potentially inaccurate estimates. Don't accept any final payment checks, or make any binding agreements until you are ready to do so. Finally, don't ignore the time limits on your policy or you may miss out on recovering losses related to your claim.

If you need help

Whether you are seeking support before dealing with own your insurance company, or another driver's insurance company is attempting to contact you in the aftermath of an unfortunate accident, there are resources available to help you during this trying time. In either case, acquiring the services of an experienced personal injury attorney could significantly increase your odds of ultimately receiving the maximum amount of compensation to which you are entitled.

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