After an Accident
- Stop your car in a safe place.
- Move your car, if needed, to protect against further damage and keep from blocking traffic.
- Call the police, especially when there are injuries or hit and run accidents.
- Get the other driver’s name, address, phone number, license plate number, driver’s license number and insurance information.
- Record the name of the insurance company and policy number exactly as it appears on the other driver’s proof of insurance card.
- Get the names of any witnesses as well as their address and telephone number.
- Don’t agree to forget about the accident. You may have hidden damages, unknown injuries or later find that a lawsuit has been filed against you.
- Call your agent if you have any questions or concerns with the claims process. Your agent could be of assistance when filling out forms and documents required to proceed with your claim.
Who do I call to file a claim?
- Your agent or insurance company.
- If another individual is responsible for your damages, you need to contact their insurance agent or company.
- The adjuster you are assigned will inform you of any additional steps needed.
How will a company determine who is at-fault?
The insurance adjuster investigating the accident will attempt to determine who is negligent or at-fault. North Carolina Contributory Negligence Law bars a driver from collecting damages if determined to be partially at fault. In essence, if you contribute to an accident, you may not be able to collect on a liability claim. Any disagreement over negligence may ultimately have to be resolved in a court of law.
If Your Car Can Be Repaired
The insurance company is responsible for the cost to repair your vehicle. This does not necessarily mean the estimated amount by the repair facility of your choice. If the company can have the same repairs completed at a lower cost from another shop, you may be required to pay the difference.
No insurance company can require the use of after market parts in the repair of your vehicle unless the part is equal to the original part in terms of fit, quality, performance, and warranty. Any modifications made necessary because of the use of after market parts shall be included in the estimates. You can choose not to have after market parts placed on your car, but you may be responsible for any additional cost.
The insurance company may deduct for depreciation when they allow for an entire paint job or when such items as tires and batteries are replaced. Depreciation is the decrease in value of the vehicle or part because of age or wear and tear.
If Your Car Must Be Totaled
If a motor vehicle is damaged, to the extent that the total cost of repair is equal to or exceeds 75 percent of the pre-accident actual cash value (ACV), the insurer shall consider the vehicle a total loss.
When your car is totaled, the insurance company is responsible for its ACV. ACV represents the local market value of the totaled vehicle.
There are two methods to determine local market value:
By using the local market price of a comparable vehicle; or
If no comparable vehicle can be located, dollar estimates from at least two qualified dealers within the local market area are normally used.
If You are Injured
Medical Payments coverage, if purchased, can provide some assistance for your doctor and hospital bills, regardless of fault.
Bodily injury claims can include doctor and hospital bills, laboratory fees, lost wages and pain and suffering that are a direct result of the accident.
The General Statutes of North Carolina establish no guidelines pertaining to the determination or calculation of any amount owed to you for pain and suffering. Therefore, if you and the insurance company cannot agree on the value of your claim you may wish to seek legal advice.