If you plan on filing a claim after you have been injured in an auto accident, sooner would be better than later. If you are thinking you can claim an injury six months after the accident, you would be in for a big surprise. An attorney nor an insurance company is going to believe your injury came from your auto accident.
After your auto accident, even if you do not feel like you are hurt, you should at least go and get checked out. Seeking medical care within a certain time frame after your auto accident would put you in a better position later on down the road to file an injury claim.
Make sure to see a doctor within 72 hours of your auto accident
After your auto accident, it would be wise to see a doctor ASAP. We won’t go into why you need to do it within 72 hours, but it would be extremely advisable too. The at-fault insurance company will scrutinize your medical care after your car wreck.
If you don’t see a doctor soon, they may not pay for your medical expenses. Insurance companies use software designed to help them determine how much your injury claim is worth, or what they are willing to pay out on the claim. One of those entries is, when did you first go see a doctor about your injury. You sure don’t want it to be a month after the auto accident.
In some instances, visiting a doctor at a later date won’t hurt you as bad as you may think. As long as the doctor can explain why you waited to see them. Let’s say you went to the ER after your car wreck. The doctor told you to take prescriptions for two weeks and then do a follow up with your PC. The drugs you were taking were painkillers and muscle relaxers.
The painkillers masked the pain of your injury, so you might think you are fine, while you are taking them. As soon as you stop taking the painkillers, the pain comes back, but this has been 3 weeks after the accident. A Doctor who treats auto accidents will more than likely note this in his doctor’s notes. You did exactly what the doctor at the ER told you to do, but the pain came back after you quit taking medication.
Visiting a car accident doctor
Connect with a car accident doctor from the database of doctors in your neighborhood. An experienced doctor who specializes in accident cases is your best guide in a accident situation like this. Not only will he attend to your injuries at the earliest, but your chances of getting a compensation from your injury claim will also be easier. The services of a car accident doctor are useful in the following ways:
- The car accident doctor is better equipped to handle auto injury patients than a general practitioner. An accident doctor specializes in treating personal injuries and will know the exact order of documentation.
- He will conduct a physical examination, a few test, and x-rays to rule out any internal injury. Some common injuries that surface after a car accident include soft tissue injuries, broken bones, muscle pain, back, and neck injuries.
- Many issues appear several days after the accident. These includes pain in certain areas of the body, cramps, backaches, whiplash, and more. Contact your specialist car accident doctor as soon as you start experiencing them.
- The doctor will maintain a journal listing the details of the event and the injuries that you have encountered. This documentation will help you while filing for a personal injury claim.
Claiming injury and filing an injury claim
Claiming injury is when you claim to have been hurt in a car wreck. If you are hurt, it does not need to wait. The insurance company needs to be put on notice of your claim. It would not be wise to wait 3 months and then claim you are injured. When you Claim injury you need evidence to back up your claim. This comes in the form of seeing a doctor for your injury. It’s a simple formula really, never see a doctor, you don’t have an injury claim, even if you are hurt.
Filing an injury claim is when you have medical bills associated with your injury from your auto accident
These may include
- ER visit
- Doctors visits
- Hospital bills
- Ambulance bills
Filing an injury claim will also get you reimbursed for lost time from work, pain and suffering, future medical bills. Pain and suffering may be defined as physical and emotional harm. Children may be afraid to get back into a car again. Your pain may be keeping you from doing normal things that you use to be able to do before the auto accident. Maybe you are active and exercise or play sports, but you are no longer able to do so. These would all be examples of Pain and suffering.
Things to Do Before Filing a Claim
Reporting an accident and filing a claim are two separate concerns. If you have sustained serious injuries, your car servicing can wait. And so can your filing for a claim. However, you or close kin can inform the insurance company of the accident. Most insurance companies require you to report the incident with 30 days. You are also required to file a police complaint within 24 hours of the accident. These steps strengthen your case for the injury claim that you will file, once your health is restored.
There are several facets to this consideration like whether you are taken to the hospital in an ambulance, were you hit by another car, and most importantly, will you file an injury claim against the insurer or the other driver. The time frame within which you have to file an injury claim varies from state to state as well as the insurance company. Although, here are some steps that you can take:
- Call a car accident doctor from the scene of the accident. They will thoroughly investigate the cause and concerns of the accident and provide you will medical aid. Also, the police will file a complaint which will prove beneficial at the time of claiming injury.
- Ensure that your car and insurance paperwork is updated. All your papers must be in place and the documents should include a list of all names, phone numbers, and addresses of people involved or associated with the accident. Also, take pictures of the accident scene if possible.
- Contact your insurance company. They will inform you about who your adjuster is.
- Contact the adjuster. Give all of the information to the adjuster, do keep copies of all documents with you. And remember, the adjuster is from the insurance company. He may dissuade you from filing the claim, so be vigilant.
All states have a limitation on time for which you can file an injury claim
You can’t just wait 5 years to file an injury claim and expect everything to work out in your favor, even if you saw a doctor right after the car wreck. The time limit from which you can file an injury claim varies from state to state. We have listed the time limits in each state here. In some states it may be only one year, in others, it may be longer. Insurance companies do not want to pay you a fair amount for your injury claim. They feel you don’t deserve it. They will do everything they can do to minimize your claims of injury.
Some insurance companies limit the time to file a claim to less than the state’s ‘Statute of Limitations’. The statute of limitations is the time you have to file a claim. If you file a claim beyond the statute of limitations, the insurer might not be obligated to pay for your losses. Your car accident lawyer will assist you in understanding your state’s statute of limitations.
When you file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company, it means that you believe that their insured driver was responsible for the accident and the associated losses. Some insurance companies urge victims to file a claim right from the accident spot while others recommend delaying the claim.
Why should I delay my Insurance Claim?
- If you are filing a claim for your insurance coverage, filing a claim too soon might not work in your favor. You will lose out on the claim for injuries that surface later.
- In some cases, insurers do not want to compensate for continuing injuries. Many injuries like that of the neck, spine, head, soft tissues, fractures, internal bruises or whiplash, become visible at a later stage.
Filing insurance at a late date is particularly useful if you are filing against your coverage. So waiting for a longer period will help you get all-inclusive insurance claims. As per the policy, your insurance company might allow just a single claim for a policy. In that case, it’s better to wait for a while, make a detailed list of all treatment costs, compile all medical bills, and then file for an injury claim. Even if you can file for a claim multiple times, it is indeed a very strenuous process. Your documentation will become cumbersome and complex. Also, the insurance agency might require to prove that you got the injuries from the same accident.
Waiting for a while before filing a claim will help you get an exact assessment of your injuries. You can consult other specialists regarding the extent and treatment of your injuries. This way, once you file your claim at a later date, you will have a better evaluation of the damage incurred. You can include all the additional expenses of consultant visits and medicines in your insurance claim.
Some injuries can leave the victim with debilities for a lifetime. And if your ailments require lifetime treatments you must get aware of them on time. You can inform the insurance company about the nature of your injuries and file for the claim once and for all. Even if the company allows for claim multiple times, it will be easier and less complex to file for an injury claim all one time.
There are certain constraints to applying for an injury claim at a later date.
- Your expenses will keep increasing with no financial help from the insurance company
- If you were responsible for the injury of other passengers or the other drivers or occupants of the other car. All this will be borne by you till you claim and receive the insurance money.
- Other parties who are injured might file a claim against your insurance company, however, if you do not file a claim by then, you might be liable to pay for their medical expenses. In case, you cannot support those bills, it will hurt your credit standing.
- If the fault is not clear in the accident, or there is a chance that you might be held at fault, then filing for a claim earlier will be in your favor. Since there is no guarantee of future injury claims, paying of injury claims to others as soon as possible from the insurance company is advised.
During an accident, if the other driver is at fault, you always have the option of filing a lawsuit. While there are many aspects to getting an insurance claim for injury after a car accident, only a seasoned lawyer can guide you in the right direction. Also, consult a specialist car accident doctor who documents your injuries well as they will serve as proofs while filing for the claim. And lastly, maintain a balance between filing the injury claim too early or too late to get the maximum benefits from your insurance company.