If you have suffered injuries in a car accident, the trauma of the incident along with physical injuries will linger for a while. You must do two important things at that point. Seek the services of an experienced accident doctor for a thorough check-up. And secondly, contact the adjuster to file for a personal injury claim, pip or med pay claim.
Post Accident Scenario: The waiting period
Have you ever filed for a personal injury claim before? If not, the entire process may seem cumbersome and confusing. First and foremost, your health takes priority. So access your injuries and consult a specialist who will rule out the possibility of any internal injuries, bruises, muscle or bone strains, or more.
Let your body heal as many injuries surface long after the accident. Make a journal where you note all the medical issue of the accident. Also, write down your emotions and the visits to your medical practitioner. You can also jot down all details of your medical expenses, as well as expenses related to the repair and transportation of the car. This journal is your most important arsenal when filing for a personal injury claim.
Personal injury law covers a wide gamut of incidents for car accidents. Every particular situation follows a different course of action.
Several factors impact a personal injury claim such as:
- The severity of the accident
- The scope of injuries inflicted
- Clarity about who was at fault
- A chronicled document stating the extent of injuries, recovering timelines, medical bills, etc.
Here is a detailed guide that will help you determine the best course of action for your accident case.
1. Understand whether your Insurance covers the personal injury claim
After a car accident, does the driver have car insurance? Or if you think someone is responsible for this accident, does his insurance cover a claim? Did the incident happen on someone’s property, and do they have liability coverage?
An answer to all these queries is vital for you to understand whether you are in a position to gather a claim for your injury. In case your insurance claim is rejected by the insurance company you might file for a case that goes to trial in court. Even if the jury awards you the compensation rights during the trial, it is of no use if the defendant does not have insurance coverage or available capital resources.
You also have to determine the extent of your injuries and check whether your insurance covers the insurance claim.
In case you are not seriously hurt, the fault of the accident is not clearly defined, and you do have health coverage, Is there any point in filing the personal injury claim?
Think about it all the possibilities before you decide on the next course of action.
2. When should you file an insurance claim?
You can file a claim when you start receiving medical treatment for your injuries. The car accident doctor will meticulously document the extent of your injuries, the medical treatment given to you, the medical expenses involved, and all other details. These carefully documented details will speed up your injury claim.
Get details of the other person’s insurance carrier and policy number. Then, send the company a notice of claim that includes all your details and that of the insurer, along with the date of the accident, and a notification letter in which you declare that you were injured and intend to pursue a claim.
If you take the matter to court, you have to comply by a deadline within which you are required to file for a lawsuit. After an accident, there is a stipulated time within which you can file a lawsuit. Sometimes parties reach an agreement even after the lawsuit is filed, and the matter is settled out of court.
The state law that defines the period within which you can file a lawsuit law is called a statute of limitations, and there are different deadlines for different kinds of cases. A car accident will be governed by the personal injury statute of limitations in your state. You must keep the statute of limitations in mind in case you eventually need to file a lawsuit.
Med pay and PIP
Med pay and pip are designed to pay for medical expenses from a car accident. This coverage extends to you and any passengers in your car at the time of the accident. Med pay and Pip claims are handled through your own insurance company, not the other party’s. If you have been injured in a car accident and have Med pay or pip, you really don’t have to contact your insurance company. You can go see any accident doctor and they will either help you file the claim, or do it for you.
3. Contacting your insurance company: What to expect
Once you contact your insurance representative, he will ask you several questions and ask you to fill out certain documents. Make sure to fill the form accurately and honestly. Present all facts of the accident like pictures taken on-site, all details of the accident, your medical and car transportation expenses, an account of other people injured (if any), and more. Your claim adjuster might not be very supportive in granting you your claim.
Most importantly, keep written details of your conversations with the insurance agent, attorney, victims, and witnesses, including names, dates, times, and titles of the people you speak with. Your medical file is an essential piece of evidence that will add to your injury claim.
Present all the facts of the accident to your insurance agent. Failing to be honest with your insurance company might be a cause for denial of coverage.
4. Decide whether you need a personal injury lawyer
Do not sign any document that your insurance agent presents before you if you do not understand certain parts of it. Consult your attorney regarding the adjusters paperwork. Speaking to an attorney does not mean that you need to hire one. Most personal injury attorneys offer free consultations, so take advantage of that.
If your injuries are not extensive and you think the matter can be settled amicably, you could just consult your attorney (not hire him). Your injury lawyer will provide consultation regarding your legal options and suggest a further course of action. You do not necessarily need to hire him for your case. You can follow his advice and if things are favorable, you might get your compensation claim without having to file a lawsuit or hire an attorney.
5. Hiring a personal injury lawyer
While most personal injury cases are resolved before a civil lawsuit is filed, some complex cases require a visits to the courtroom. If the insurance company backs off or settlement negotiations fail, you need to file a complaint in the local branch of your state’s civil court. Your lawyer will also suggest the compensation amount that you may claim from the other party/insurance company.
Hiring a competent personal injury lawyer is the best way to protect your rights and ensure that you get rightful compensation.
Filing an injury claim to receive compensation is an intricate process wherein every step has to be carefully evaluated. With thorough preparation and groundwork, you will seamlessly sail through the process. If you have suffered personal injuries and monetary loss, getting a personal injury claim is your right. Seek the services of an experienced injury lawyer who will file your claim and guide you in getting the right compensation.