“Do’s and Don’ts” when filing an insurance claim in New Jersey

March 5, 2013
  • DO : Consult with an attorney. Your insurance company has an obligation to you. It is legally obligated to follow the terms of its contract with you and provide you the benefits you have contracted for.
  • DO : Review your policy with your attorney. Find out exactly what is and isn’t covered by your insurance company.
  • DO : Notify your insurance company. If you are in a car accident or motorcycle accident, have your car stolen or damaged, or any other covered event takes place, you must notify your insurance company as soon as possible.
  • DO : Take pictures. If you are able to take pictures, do so. Take pictures of your vehicle, your injuries and the accident site.
  • DO: Take notes. When you speak to anyone from your insurance company be sure to take notes. Keep a record of the date and time that the conversation took place as well as the name and title of the person you spoke with and what was discussed during the conversation. Since questions of legal liability can be very complex it is critical to provide your insurance company with a complete version of what took place.
  • DO : Investigate whether there is any supplemental form of insurance coverage available to you such as a short or long term disability policy, state disability, or other policies of insurance.
  • DO : Keep receipts for any expenses you have incurred due to the accident, including: car rental, medical bills and any purchases connected to the accident.
  • DO : Keep a journal detailing each visit you make to any health care provider including doctors, hospitals and physical therapy.
  • DO : Know your car’s value. Make sure you know the difference between what you still owe on your car and the replacement value. Most insurance companies will only cover the cash value of your car if it is totaled.
  • DO : Remember that the Statute of Limitations in New Jersey is two years from the date of your car accident for personal injuries and all lawsuits must be filed in the Superior Court or you will forever lose your right to sue. Be sure to take appropriate action within the time limit imposed by your policy and by state law.
  • DON’T : Agree to the insurance company’s estimate for the loss of your car before you are able to explore the matter for yourself. In this situation, your attorney can assist you in determining if the insurance company’s estimate is fair.
  • DON’T : give any oral or written statements to the other parties insurance company without first consulting with your attorney.
  • DON’T : sign any waivers or releases until you have obtained sound legal advice. Your insurance company or the other driver’s insurance company  may pressure you to sign, but it is your right to examine your options and consult with an attorney before signing anything.
  • DON’T : accept a check from your insurance company or the other driver’s insurance company, especially if the check says “final payment” on it, until you have received legal advice and weighed all of your options carefully.

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