The Insurance Claims Process for Auto Accidents
An accident is the precursor to an auto accident injury claim. There are some very important things you should do at the accident site if you are injured in an automobile accident. As soon as you can, begin the process of filing a claim by reporting the accident with your insurance carrier. After your claim has been submitted, the claims adjuster (someone who works for the insurance company and deals exclusively with claims) will call, write or email you regarding your claim. The adjuster will determine the types of coverage you have, deductibles and any coverage limits that may affect your claim by looking at your policy.
The Insurance Company Has Representation, You Should Too
If it is a simple claim where fault is not at issue, the damage was minimal, and little or no medical treatment was necessary, the adjuster may have you get an estimate for repairs and then send you a check. There might be some paperwork for you to complete, but you may not have to meet with the adjuster in person. If it is a more complicated claim, such as when liability is unclear, you do not have enough coverage in your policy or you do not agree with your adjuster’s settlement offer, then the negotiation process will take longer. Under any of these circumstances, it is highly recommended that you retain an experienced auto accident lawyer to represent your interests.
Investigating Your Automobile Accident Injury Claim
An investigation is done by the adjuster in order to adequately assess the insurance company’s liability if the injury accident claim is relatively complicated. Through the investigation process, the adjuster will carefully look through your policy, contact witnesses to the accident as well as the other party to the accident and analyze medical expenses. The adjuster will send you a medical authorization form for the release of your medical records if you are seeking to have medical bills covered. An experienced auto accident lawyer can and should conduct a similar investigation on your behalf.
The Settlement Offer
You may receive a settlement offer once the adjuster investigates your claim and looks at your policy. The amount offered could be all, part, or none of your claimed amounts. The first offer is usually on the low side. The adjuster’s job is to save the insurance company money. At the same time, the adjuster wants to close the case and is given a range for the settlement that allows room for negotiation. There is a good possibility they will offer you as little as possible.
The Demand Letter
A demand letter is your own settlement proposal. You can preempt the adjuster’s settlement offer with this letter if you are confident in how much you think your claim is worth. The demand letter would address who is at fault (if it is an issue), damages and ask for a certain amount to settle your claim. Auto accident injury lawyers usually prepare such letters on behalf of their clients and know what to put in and what to leave out of such letters.
Claims Adjuster Negotiations
The first offer from the adjuster is almost always on the low side. You can go with that first offer, knowing that it is too low without an argument. Ultimately you will need to negotiate with the adjuster for a higher settlement. An experienced auto accident lawyer is familiar with these tactics and negotiations and can generally obtain a final offer higher than what would be offered to you without legal representation.
A Denied Auto Accident Injury Claim
A auto accident injury claim can be denied in whole or in part for any number of legitimate and reasonable explanations. It may have to do with the limits of your insurance policy coverage. Check the denial letter against your policy to see if the denial seems legitimate or not. Whatever you decide, do not wait too long to act on it. You may lose the right to sue in court to get your recovery if you sit on your claim for too long. Each state has a statute of limitations which is a time limit for filing a lawsuit in court. For most states, that statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two or three years. However, it could be shorter or longer. If your claim is denied, it is generally a good idea to consult with an experienced car accident lawyer to obtain an unbiased second opinion as to whether the denied claim has merit.
Questions About Your Auto Accident Injury Claim? Get A Free Consultation Today
If you were injured in an accident and would like to discuss your legal rights to compensation, schedule a free consultation with a car accident attorney to discuss the possibility of filing an auto accident injury claim. Put our experience to work for you and get the compensation you deserve.
Based in Louisville, Kentucky, the Shelton Law Group practices Kentucky personal injury law, including auto accident injury cases. We represent clients throughout the Commonwealth of Kentucky including Jefferson, Oldham, Bullitt, Spencer, Taylor, Shelby, Warren, Scott, Fayette, Woodford, Kenton, Boone and Campbell Counties. We will finance your legal battle. You only pay us if we win. That’s because we work on a contingency fee basis. We believe this is the fairest approach. Why should you pay for something that doesn’t benefit you? Contact the Shelton Law Group today. Call 1-888-761-7204 to speak with a lawyer for free today. At the Shelton Law Group – we take your case personally.