Anyone who has been injured by a negligent driver in a car accident has the right to recover compensation for their injuries. To secure this compensation, the victim must file a car accident injury claim as soon as possible after the crash. But, if you’ve never been involved in an accident before, it’s hard to figure out exactly what you need to do in order to file an injury claim. Here’s an overview of the process:
Contact the Insurance Company
You will need to report the accident to the at-fault party’s insurance company as soon as possible, which is why it’s so important to exchange information with the other driver at the scene of the accident.
Shortly after contacting the company, an insurance adjuster will be assigned to your case. The adjuster may reach out to you to introduce themselves and talk about the accident. They may seem friendly on the phone, but remember, they are only interested in protecting their company’s bottom line. It’s in your best interest to avoid answering questions about the crash or your injuries until you have spoken to an attorney.
The at-fault party’s insurance company is legally obligated to compensate you for injuries that their policyholder caused. But, they will not write you a check until you have proven that their policyholder is actually to blame. To do this, you must present evidence that clearly proves the other party is at fault.
Make copies of the photos you took at the scene of the accident. Photos from the scene often play an important role in proving how the accident occurred, and thus who was to blame. You should also obtain a copy of the police report, which may or may not include the officer’s opinion on which driver was responsible for the accident.
If there were bystanders who saw the accident occur, now is a good time to have your attorney call them to find out exactly what they saw. Their testimony can be used to prove that the other driver was negligent in the moments leading up to the crash. In complex cases, an attorney may also need to consult with accident reconstruction experts to recreate the accident and determine who was at fault.
The insurance adjuster will also need to see proof of the injuries you sustained in the car accident. Injuries are typically proven with medical records, however it is important to consult with an attorney regarding which medical records to send to the insurance company. Most attorneys would advise you to send only the records that are relevant to the claim as opposed to all of your medical records. This ensures that the insurance adjuster cannot dig up information from your past, such as pre-existing conditions, to lower the value of your claim.
Determine the Value of Your Claim
Before you start negotiating with the insurance company, it’s important to calculate the value of your claim. If you skip this step, there’s no way for you to know whether an insurance company’s offer is fair or not.
Adding up medical expenses and lost wages is not hard, however it is far more difficult to calculate the value of your pain and suffering. Instead of choosing a number out of thin air, it’s best to ask an attorney to handle the calculations. An attorney can also assist with the calculations of future medical expenses and lost wages since these are difficult to estimate as well.
Write A Demand Letter
At this point, it’s time to work with an attorney to write a demand letter to the at-fault party’s insurance company. A well-written demand letter should include a brief summary of the events of the accident, a description of the injuries you have sustained, and a demand for compensation. This last section should be broken out to clearly show why you feel you are entitled to this money. For example, explain how much of the compensation is needed for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. This helps the insurance adjuster understand how you arrived at the number.
At the end of the letter, specify when you expect to hear a response from the insurance company. This lets the insurance adjuster know that you expect to receive a counteroffer by a certain date, and if you don’t, you will consider taking legal action by filing a lawsuit.
Negotiate For A Fair Settlement
Be prepared to negotiate after the demand letter is sent. The insurance adjuster will more than likely make a counteroffer instead of accepting the offer made in your demand letter. They may attempt to explain why your claim is not worth as much as you think it is or why they are not satisfied with the evidence you have provided. These are some of the many common tactics that insurance adjusters use to save their companies money. It’s frustrating to play these games with the insurance company, which is why it’s best to let an attorney handle the negotiations instead of trying to reach a settlement on your own.
An attorney will protect you from these sneaky tactics and fight tirelessly to ensure you are fully compensated. If the insurance company is not willing to make a fair offer, an attorney can begin the process of filing a lawsuit and taking the case to court.
Have you been injured in a car accident caused by a negligent driver? If so, contact Trial Lawyers for Justice today to schedule a consultation regarding your case. Filing a car accident injury claim is much more complicated than it seems, and resolving the claim is even harder. Let our personal injury attorneys handle the claim from the start to finish so you can focus solely on your recovery.