How Accident Claims Work
The accident claim process is a complex procedure, laden with many traps and pitfalls for the unwary. There are strict timing deadlines and if you fail to abide by all deadlines, you will forever lose your right to bring a claim. There are other potential pitfalls, such as failing to timely open up a claim with your own insurance company in order to preserve your right to bring a claim under your own auto policy's uninsured motorist coverage protection. You must make a timely demand for compensation, backed by thorough medical records and documentation supporting your injuries, lost wages, future loss of earning capacity, and other financial damages.
How the Car Accident Claim Process Works
The process of bringing a car accident claim for compensation for your medical bills and injuries begins with the process of opening up a claim. This is typically done by your personal injury attorney once you have secured legal representation. You could open up a claim on your own. However, any contact with an insurance company is strongly discouraged by most experienced car accident attorneys. In an effort to minimize their liability, car accident claims adjusters are notorious for putting words in your mouth and then using your statements against you. For example, an adjuster may ask you what happened, and you may say, "this car pulled in front of me and I hit the car." The adjuster may then say, "so you said you hit the car, correct?" Without realizing it you could be creating a record that says you hit someone when in fact you were merely driving in your lane and their car struck you out of nowhere.
Opening Your Claim
As explained above, opening up your claim will be handled by your car accident attorney. You must open up your claim within days after an accident, therefore if you are not retaining an attorney, be sure to open up your claim yourself.
Making Your Demand
When you have completed your treatment with your doctor, it will be time for making your demand for compensation to the insurance company covering the claim that you have opened. Your lawyer will submit volumes of medical records and other evidence and documentation of your injuries and losses, both economic and noneconomic, and make a case for obtaining a fair compensation for you.
Once your car accident attorney submits your demand for compensation to the insurance company, this will usually lead to settlement discussions. If you can reach a settlement that is fair and equitable, then you can close your case. If you are unable to reach a fair settlement, then you will have to file a lawsuit and prosecute your claim against person responsible and their insurance carrier who will likely be defending (since they will be on the hook).
Prosecuting a Lawsuit
To file and prosecute a lawsuit against the person who caused the car accident, you absolutely will need an experienced attorney on your side. While the courts are open to all individuals, it is very unlikely that you could win your case against an insurance company defense lawyer absent having legal representation for your case.