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After you have been in an accident, there are many things you need to do, all of which lead to your filing a personal injury claim. A personal injury claim is filed against the insurance company of the party responsible for the accident, and its purpose is to provide compensation for the losses—aka damages—suffered by the victim. Those damages can be economic and non-economic in nature.
Economic damages include lost wages, repair bills, medical bills, and other losses that have a monetary value. Non-economic damages do not have a monetary value, though the attorney and an insurance adjuster can extrapolate one. They include pain and suffering, PTSD, depression, and other negative emotions. The attorneys of Wattel & York advise anyone filing a claim to contact an attorney as soon as possible since their help will be vital.
The Steps To Filing a Claim
The first steps to filing a claim begin right at the accident scene because you will need to gather as much evidence as possible to reinforce your claim. You start by calling 911 because when the police arrive at the scene, they will conduct an examination and eventually write a police report, which can be very useful when filing your claim. The next step is to take pictures or video of the accident scene; if the scene is a car accident, be sure to take pictures of the damage done to each vehicle and the surrounding area. If the accident scene is something else, like a slip and fall at a supermarket, then take pictures of the location and what caused the slip and fall.
You should also take pictures of the injuries you sustained in the accident. You should then make sure to get the contact information and insurance information of the party responsible for the accident. Your lawyer will need to contact the insurance company when they file your claim. Be careful what you say at the accident scene because you don’t want to unintentionally admit fault for the accident. The insurance company could use even an innocuous statement like an apology to reduce or deny your claim.
You should then see a doctor to get a more thorough medical evaluation. Even if you received treatment at the scene, you should still see a doctor because you might have latent injuries that take some time to manifest. This is important for your health and also for your claim because the insurance company might state that any late-appearing injuries were not caused by the accident.
The next and most crucial step is to contact a personal injury attorney because they will help build your case so that your claim is as bulletproof as possible. They will take all of the evidence you have gathered so far and search for more proof. Your attorney will also calculate your total damages to make sure that you receive the compensation you are due. Once your attorney has finished building your case, they are ready to file your claim.
Your attorney will write a demand letter that includes the evidence they have collected and a settlement offer of how much compensation you are owed. They will send it to the insurance company of the party responsible for the accident. The insurance company will have conducted their own investigation into the accident and will accept or deny the claim based on their findings. If they accept the claim, then the case ends here and you will soon receive your compensation. If the claim is denied, then you will have to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party to get the compensation you deserve.