How do I File a Car Accident Injury Claim?

Christopher John

To file a car accident injury claim, start by gathering information that the insurance company needs to evaluate a claim. An insurance company requires information on how an accident occurred including police reports and witness statements. The company also needs documentation that proves or describes damages such as medical bills, medical reports, wage statements, and photographs. After all information is collected, you or the your lawyer may send it to the insurance company along with a letter requesting settlement of the car accident injury claim.

A car that's been in an accident.
A car that's been in an accident.

Prior to contacting or submitting any information to an insurance company, consider hiring an accident lawyer. Laws concerning a car accident injury claim can be complex, and unexpected issues may arise for a layperson. A personal injury lawyer is familiar with the relevant laws and will know how to negotiate with the insurance adjuster. In addition, it may be easier for a lawyer to gather information about the accident. An experienced lawyer also probably has a better idea of what a fair settlement would be in a car accident injury claim. 

Auto insurance agents work directly with clients.
Auto insurance agents work directly with clients.

A car accident injury claim should not be settled prematurely. A person that has suffered physical injuries should reach full or maximum recovery from the injuries prior to settling a claim. If the car accident injury claim is settled before a person has fully recovered, he or she may lose his right to payment of future medical bills from injuries related to the car accident. This can occur because an insurance company will require a person to sign a release of liability agreement upon reaching a settlement; this document will prevent recovery of future claims for damages.

It is important not to wait too long to settle a car accident injury claim.
It is important not to wait too long to settle a car accident injury claim.

It is also important to understand that you cannot wait too long to settle a car accident injury claim. Each jurisdiction has a statute of limitations relating to car accidents. A statute of limitations sets a fixed period in which to file a lawsuit for a car accident. If the statute of limitations expires before a claim is settled, the insurance company can avoid paying a claim. The statute of limitations for car accidents varies by jurisdiction.

The sooner the insurance company is notified of an injury from an accident, the better the chances of receiving damages for the injury.
The sooner the insurance company is notified of an injury from an accident, the better the chances of receiving damages for the injury.

Once the insurance company receives all information on a car accident injury claim, it will determine whether it is responsible for paying the claim on behalf of its insured. The adjuster may contact the person making the claim or that person's lawyer and request to conduct a recorded interview. Thereafter, the adjuster may offer a settlement of the claim if it is determined the person insured by the adjuster's company is responsible for the accident injures. You can also file a lawsuit if the adjuster denies the claim or a settlement is not reached within the the statute of limitations.

Many insurance companies require additional information from police records and other sources to file a claim.
Many insurance companies require additional information from police records and other sources to file a claim.

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