How to File a Car Accident Claim: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to File Accident Claim

Written by Jeremy D. Earle, JD

May 13, 2022

How to Make a Car Accident Injury CLAIM

How to file a car accident claim can seem very difficult, and it is without a personal injury attorney. More than 2.5 million people in the United States are sent to the hospital each year due to automobile accidents. There are $18 billion in lifetime medical expenses due to car accidents.

The most common cause of personal injury claims in the United States is a car collision. Minor scratches and bruises to severe impairment and death are all possible outcomes of accidents.

Accident victims have the right to seek compensation for their medical bills, lost pay, and emotional distress as a result of the wrongdoer’s carelessness.

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AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT, WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?

The impact of a car accident is sudden and powerful. After the collision, you can feel dazed for a short period of time. Having an idea of what to do in the aftermath of an automobile collision is helpful. Your health and financial well-being are directly impacted by the decisions you make today.

FOLLOWING AN ACCIDENT, YOU MUST DO THE FOLLOWING FOUR STEPS:

First, make sure there are no injuries and contact the police. As soon as you realise you or anybody else could be at risk of injury, notify the dispatcher.

The second step is to provide each other your insurance details. After a minor collision, get the other driver’s insurance and contact information. The license plate and insurance policy number are included in this information.

Collect proof. If you can, photograph and interview witnesses at the site of the accident. But be careful not to injure yourself any more. Accident reports and police investigations may be relied upon if you are hurt.

Make an appointment with a doctor. Don’t resist treatment from emergency medical personnel. If the doctors approve it, go to the hospital and then continue with outpatient therapy. You might lose your injury claim if you don’t seek medical attention right away and then don’t follow through with it.

DO YOU THINK IT’S WORTH IT TO SUBMIT A CLAIM WITH YOUR VEHICLE INSURANCE COMPANY?

Yes. If you were injured, your car was damaged, or the other driver’s insurance company is unsure of who is responsible, you should make a claim. Notify your own insurance provider as well. Getting in touch with an insurance company is usually as simple as using the company’s website, mobile app, or toll-free phone number.

They may claim to be well at the scene, but subsequently declare they were seriously injured. As long as you tell your insurance company of an accident in a timely manner, they have a legal obligation to protect you against litigation.

HOW TO CALCULATE COMPENSATION FOR A MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT

In order to get a rough idea of how much compensation you may be entitled to, tally up all of your verified expenses linked to the accident, then multiply that number by a factor of two or three to account for your pain and suffering. As a rule of thumb, it’s between 1 and 5 times the cost of your medical treatment.

AFTER A VEHICLE ACCIDENT, HOW MUCH SHOULD I ACCEPT IN COMPENSATION?

When settling a vehicle accident claim, it is ideal to get compensation for all of your losses, including pain and suffering. Negotiations with the insurance adjuster will likely result in a lower settlement amount than what you first requested.

ARE THERE ANY REQUIREMENTS FOR DETERMINING COMPENSATION?

All of your medical fees, out-of-pocket charges, and lost income are included in your overall economic losses. Your medical expenses will be reimbursed in full, even if you have insurance or Medicaid to pay the majority of them.

DO YOU GET PAID FOR PAIN AND SUFFERING FROM A CAR ACCIDENT?

To compensate for your pain and suffering, you should seek for one or two times the amount of your financial losses. You may be able to get four or five times your economic losses, or even more, if you’ve been severely injured. In order to get the greatest compensation for serious injuries, you’ll need a lawyer on your side.

Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage in no-fault areas does not cover pain and suffering if your injuries are not severe. Pain and suffering compensation is available if your injuries exceed the “severe injury” criteria.

To include compensation for pain and suffering in a claim in jurisdictions with conventional fault rules is appropriate.

COMPENSATION FOR AN AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENT IS INFLUENCED BY FIVE FACTORS:

In most states, your compensation will be reduced based on your proportion of responsibility for the accident.

You may not be entitled for reimbursement from the other driver’s insurance if you are equally or more at fault than the other motorist, depending on the state’s negligence regulations.

Verifiable actual expenses, such as medical bills and missed earnings, play a key role in determining compensation.

Pain and suffering are not included in the compensation for minor injuries. Serious, possibly life-changing injuries are the most expensive to litigate.

Many drivers merely carry the state’s minimal requirements for vehicle insurance limits. Your losses will not be covered by your insurance if your injuries are serious enough. In the same way, if a collision results in multiple injuries, the at-fault driver may not have enough insurance to cover everyone.

WHO’S TO BLAME FOR YOUR AUTOMOBILE CRASH?

There must be proof that the other driver did something wrong or failed to do what a reasonable person would have done in the situation.

Traffic citations, witness statements, accident photos, cell phone records, the other driver’s BAC, and more are examples of evidence that can be used to prove negligence. Additionally, the police report can help establish the other driver’s responsibility and demonstrate that you were not to blame. When an accident occurs, it is critical to call 911 immediately.

WHETHER OR WHETHER A DRIVER IS AT BLAME IN AN AUTOMOBILE COLLISION IS A QUESTION THAT IS OFTEN ASKED?

It is true that negligence plays a role in a vehicle accident claim. All of your losses, including medical costs, lost earnings, and pain and suffering, are covered by the at-fault driver’s insurance in most jurisdictions. But unless you can establish that their insurance was responsible for the accident, you won’t collect a penny.

As long as you reside in a no-fault state, your PIP coverage will pay up to the policy limitations for your injuries, no matter who was at blame. No matter how slight your injuries were, the at- fault driver’s insurance should nonetheless pay your car damages.

HIRING A CAR ACCIDENT LAWYER HAS ADVANTAGES

A certified personal injury attorney may assist you in a number of ways. They’ve dealt with insurance companies and the legal system for many years. An attorney is essential in cases involving significant injuries.

YOUR PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER WILL DO THE FOLLOWING FOR YOU:

Handle communication with the insurance company of the at-fault driver

Get proof that you wouldn’t be able to obtain on your own

Identify extra sources of remuneration for your employees

Probably get a better deal than if you tried to do it on your own

If the insurance company refuses to pay a reasonable settlement, you may file a lawsuit.

Get your claim handled while you concentrate on healing from the injuries you sustained

IN THE EVENT THAT I GET A SETTLEMENT FROM MY INJURY, WHAT PORTION OF THAT MONEY WILL GO TO MY LAWYER?

If your lawsuit is settled or won at trial, you don’t owe any money to the attorney until he or she is paid. For an out-of-court settlement of 33.3 percent, and for a trial of 40 percent, the typical attorney fee is 33.3 percent. The overall settlement sum also includes their costs.

FILING A CAR INSURANCE CLAIM AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT

Each state has its own set of regulations, but most insurance companies process claims in the same manner.

THE FOLLOWING ARE THE STEPS INVOLVED IN FILING A CLAIM WITH YOUR CAR INSURANCE COMPANY:

If you want to launch a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver’s insurance company, you or your lawyer must notify them in writing. You will get a claim number and the name of the adjuster assigned to your case from the business.

Adjusters may contact and want to record your statement, but be careful. The adjuster is well-versed in how to elicit statements from you that are detrimental to your claim. Before speaking with an attorney, you are not required to provide a statement.

The at-fault driver’s insurance company is liable for your automobile repairs (or payout for a complete loss) and the cost of a rental car while your vehicle is in the shop, if necessary. Property damage claims may be handled by your own insurer if you have collision policy. The other driver’s insurance company will be required to pay your insurer.

If you’ve been injured, you may be able to get a settlement offer right away. They want you to settle for a low price and walk away from the situation. If you haven’t completed treating your injuries yet, it’s best to postpone settlement conversations.

It’s now time to begin discussions with the at-fault driver’s insurance company once you have completed your therapy.

Finally, a settlement deal will be reached after many rounds of discussions. Within a few weeks of signing the contract, you should get your payment.

Arbitration or a lawsuit against the at-fault driver may be an alternative in the event that discussions fail.

SUCCESSFULLY NEGOTIATING A CAR ACCIDENT CLAIM

For minor injuries sustained in an automobile accident, it may be possible to manage your own insurance claim.

When it comes to negotiations, preparation is essential. The adjuster will be able to quickly locate your evidence if you arrange it well in advance. Make a list of your arguments and prepare a speech in advance. Be aware of your case’s strengths and shortcomings. It’s a good idea to think like an adjuster in order to figure out what their objections may be.

Negotiators expect both parties to compromise, but they know what their “bottom line” is. You have alternative choices if negotiations about a settlement fall down. Consult with a lawyer at any time in the bargaining process.

HOW LONG IS THE TYPICAL TIME FRAME FOR A CLAIM?

The claims procedure may take anything from a few months to more than a year from the time of the first notice to the time of the final settlement. It all comes down to how quickly you recover from your injuries and how efficiently you negotiate with your insurance provider.

Personal injury claims generally have a one-to-three-year statute of limitations from the date of the accident in each state. Your entitlement to compensation will be lost if you don’t settle your claim or file a lawsuit within the statutory period.

My injuries may be covered by insurance, but how can I find out for sure?

Even if the accident worsens a pre-existing ailment, you may be able to recover damages from the at-fault driver’s motor insurance policy.

There may be coverage for mental health illnesses, but they are more difficult to prove, particularly if there is no physical damage to match.

POSSIBLE THAT MY CAR INSURANCE CLAIM WOULD BE REJECTED

Even if your claim is rejected, everything is not lost. Denial of automobile insurance must be supported by a rationale. To encourage the adjuster to reevaluate your claim, you may merely need to offer further relevant documentation.

If the insurance company for the at-fault driver refuses to comply, you have alternative choices, including suing the at-fault motorist directly.

Consider contacting a personal injury attorney if your own insurance company refuses a claim. Your insurer may be forced to pay for the coverage at question if you hire an attorney. You may also be able to file a bad-faith case against your insurance provider with the help of an attorney.

A FEW POINTERS FOR INTERACTING WITH THE INSURANCE COMPANY

Never forget that the insurance company does not have your best interests at heart while dealing with them.

It doesn’t matter how sympathetic the adjuster seems to be; he or she is not your ally. Don’t tell them about your financial worries, marital problems, or any other personal concerns you don’t want them to use against you.

Make sure you have all the proof and accident-related information that you can get your hands on.

You should contact an attorney before submitting a statement to a third party.

A medical release form is one example of a document that should never be signed blindly. Only data pertaining to your vehicle accident injuries are required by your insurance carrier.

Wait to talk about settlement until you’ve healed completely. Serious injury claims should be handled by a serious attorney.

Be prepared and stick to the facts if you decide to handle your lawsuit without an attorney.

The right to speak with an attorney is something that you have up until you sign a settlement agreement.

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