How do i handle car accident claim myself?

Asked over 1 year ago - Salem, OR

I've decided not to hire attorney but handle it myself with help from my cousin. However, i'd like to know what steps i need to take and how i star off at first place. Since i'm busy my cousin will be representing me and talk to the insurance company on my behalf. In this case, should my cousin send them a letter (notice of representation) to the insurance company? or should he just write the demand letter and send it to insurance co.? It's been about couple weeks that accident happened.

Attorney answers (5)

  1. Joanne Reisman

    Contributor Level 16

    8

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Insurance companies routinely offer very low inadequate offers, especially when you are not represented. They even do it when you have an attorney. If all you want is a small amount of money then you really don't need your cousin. In fact I am surprised that the insurance agent doesn't already have you on the phone, acting all nice and sympathetic about your accident, making you believe they are so sorry and going to make things right.

    They will immediately offer to pay for your car - they didn't used to. A new law was passed much in part due to the Oregon Lawyers Trial Association (OTLA) which I and Mr. Bodzin are members of, which lobbied for a law to require insurance companies to offer the value of the car repair or the car right after the accident and not delay.

    There are other laws lie ORS 20.080 that have been enacted to help settle smaller claims with less delay and game playing on the part of the insurance companies. This was also sponsored by OTLA.

    When you hire a lawyer you are getting the experience and knowledge of that lawyer that understands that laws that are out there and the process that one needs to go through to get the full value of your claim. You do pay the lawyer a percentage but very often you get more even after paying the lawyer then you would doing your own case.

    The money that pays your lawyer not only helps them earn income and stay in business so they are here on Avvo to answer questions for folks like you, but it also funds efforts to defeat bad laws that the insurance lobbiests try to pass and put through good laws that help you and other consumers.

    So this is the big picture. I have an article on my website about what you should do if you are in an auto accident- it might be helpful for you to read it.
    http://www.portlandlegalservices.com/upload/Aut...

    If you do decide to hire a lawyer, try to find a lawyer that supports OTLA.

    Best of luck to your.
    http://www.portlandlegalservices.com

    The comments by this author to questions posted on Avvo are designed to foster a general understanding of what... more
  2. Michael Aaron Shurtleff

    Contributor Level 11

    7

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . You do not state whether you have reasons besides financial considerations for not hiring an attorney. I assume you know that auto accident attorneys take cases on contingency and as mentioned above are likely to get you far more than you could get on your own. Even if you do everything initially that an attorney might do, you do not present the ultimate threat of putting on a great case at trial. In essence you don't the leverage an attorney has. If at some point you decide you would like to hire an attorney it can be helpful to get some advice just about how to shop for an attorney. I have had my share of trying to find good attorneys in various situations and now that I am one I feel like I am somewhat of an expert on the matter. Feel free to ask a non auto accident attorney such as myself who clearly has no self interest in your case about how to find a good attorney.

  3. Jay Bodzin

    Contributor Level 20

    6

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I'm afraid this is exactly the sort of question that we can't answer. First of all, we don't know the exact circumstances of your situation, so we can't give comprehensive advice on it. And there are so many different things that can happen that it's impossible for anyone to tell you exactly what to do in all of them. Representing yourself is usually a serious mistake. Your insurance should be able to help you find representation.

    Please read the following notice:

    Jay Bodzin is licensed to practice law in the State of Oregon and... more
  4. Jeffrey Mark Adams

    Contributor Level 20

    7

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . No lawyer should tell you how to practice lawyer just as you shouldn't tell us how to do your craft. The cliche an attorney who represents him/her self has a fool for a client may be stretched to include a relation. There rarely is a reason to fly solo.

    Personal injury cases only; I'm good at it; you be the Judge! All information provided is for informational and... more
  5. Andrew Daniel Myers

    Contributor Level 20

    6

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Here is the secret to how to optimize your claim. There are things you need to know in order to succeed in navigating the insurance claim process. The article linked below makes 10 major points:

    Law Offices of Andrew D. Myers, North Andover, MA & Derry, NH provide answers for informational purposes only.... more

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