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Insurance Claims After an Accident: the Basics
A lot happens quickly after you’ve been seriously injured in an accident. You’ll need medical attention, and that comes with its own heap of stresses and troubles. But at some point you’ll also need to file an insurance claim. In fact, this is your second most important priority after getting medical help.
The insurance claim is one of the most important things you can do to get the compensation you deserve. It may not be successful; in that case, the most important thing you can do is to hire a personal injury lawyer. But at any rate, it needs to be filed and it needs to be comprehensive and correct.
Here are the basics for filing insurance claims after an accident.
When and How to File
You should tell the insurance company about the accident with 24 hours. You should also contact the other party’s insurance provider if you weren’t at fault for the accident.
When you contact an insurance company, they’ll want to know the details of the accident. You may or may not be in a position to provide all the details; if you’re getting treated for a serious injury, for example, you may have to depend on your family, witnesses, or first responders at the scene to capture the details.
Each insurance company has its own method for taking claims. We recommend getting familiar with the claims process for your own provider, which will help. Ideally, the other party will be cooperative; if they’re not, then getting legal help may be in order.
What Happens Next
After you file a claim, the insurance company will conduct its own investigation.
They’ll start with your claim and check the details. They’ll get the accident report from law enforcement. They’ll often ask you for pictures, names of witnesses, or more details. They may not; it depends on how thorough an investigation they pursue.
You’ll also have to submit medical records. Some insurers will make you get evaluated by an independent physician chosen by them, in addition to the treatment you’ve already gotten from your doctors.
After the investigation is concluded (there’s no law stating they must be finished in a certain amount of time; the time it takes varies from case to case and insurer to insurer), they’ll calculate compensation and offer you a check – or deny your claim altogether.
If They Deny Your Claim or Don’t Give You Enough
An insurer isn’t in the business of giving you as much as they possibly can for your injuries. They want to give as little as possible, which means either giving you less than you really deserve or finding a way to deny the claim altogether.
If either happens, you’ll have an option to appeal the claim. You can also take legal action against the insurance company, the party at fault in the accident, and other parties responsible. But to do this, you need to consult with a personal injury attorney so you can increase your odds of getting a bigger settlement – or even a major award in court.
If you or someone you know has been seriously injured, it’s generally a good idea to talk to a lawyer before you contact the insurance company. Never agree to anything an insurance company proposes until you’ve consulted with a lawyer. That one step can protect your rights and your access to proper compensation.
Wettermark Keith has a roster of experienced personal injury attorneys who have represented families from all walks of life in serious accident cases. Our commitment to caring for you and your family is built on a strong foundation of compassion. Contact our team to learn how you can get justice for your case.