After a car accident, one of the first things you should do (after making sure everyone is safe and calling the police) is call your insurance company and let it know that you will be filing a claim. While your insurance company will attempt to make the car accident claim process simple, that does not mean it always is. Below we detail the accident claim process for accidents in which you are at fault as well as accidents where the other driver is at fault.
Filing a Claim with Medical Benefits
If no other party was involved (e.g., you hit a pole) or if you were at fault for the accident, you may file a claim under your own insurance company. Once you file a claim, your personal injury protection (PIP) policy will cover or minimize your out-of-pocket costs during treatment.
The process for filing a PIP claim is fairly simple: you call your insurer, request the necessary claim forms, fill them out, and send them back. If you reach the limit of your PIP policy and have medical payments (MedPay) coverage, you can use that policy to cover the rest of your injuries.
Filing a Liability Claim
If you are injured in an accident caused by another driver (e.g., another driver runs a red light and crashes into you), the claims process is a bit different. Once you have called the at-fault driver’s insurer and let it know of your intention to file a liability claim, it will investigate the surrounding events that gave rise to the claim to make sure its insured was truly at fault.
Note, while the insurer is investigating, an insurance adjuster will likely call you for a recorded statement about the incident. Do not agree to a recorded statement before discussing your case with an attorney from Cordisco & Saile LLC. It is easy to say something that can jeopardize your case.
Throughout the claim process, it is imperative that you follow your doctor’s orders to the letter. If you skip an appointment or disobey a doctor’s order (e.g., he tells you that you cannot lift anything heavier than 30 pounds, but an investigator sees you carrying your toddler to the car), the insurer may claim that you are fabricating or falsifying your injuries or making them worse by disobeying orders.
While this can get expensive, you can use your medical payments coverage or health insurance coverage to pay doctors in the meantime. Keep track of all bills and expenses so your Cordisco and Saile attorney can include them in your settlement demand.
Note: Before you begin calculating your settlement demand, you must check whether you have limited tort or full tort insurance. If you have full tort insurance, you will be able to claim both economic and noneconomic damages; however, if you have limited tort, you will only be able to file for economic damages, such as medical bills.
The following details the process of filing a liability claim, step by step.
Retain an attorney at Cordisco & Saile LLC. Your attorney will take care of the whole process for you and keep you informed of your case’s progress. You will need to submit medical bills and receipts for any expenses, but will, for the most part, not need to be involved in the case. This will allow you to focus on your recovery.
Should you choose not to retain an attorney, you must complete the following steps on your own:
Report the claim to the other driver’s insurance company. As stated above, be careful what you say to the insurer. Only give necessary details, such as:
- The accident type
- When and where it happened
- Cars involved
- Any witness information
- Your information (e.g., name, address, phone number)
Do not assume what happened (e.g., “He was probably texting when he hit me), even if the insurer asks you. Do not give any details about your injuries or the accident because you (or your lawyer) are still investigating and do not want to offer any false information. Direct any further communication to your insurer.
Note: Remember to check your insurance policy to see whether you have limited or full tort insurance as this will affect what you are able to claim.
Gather evidence through the use of legal discovery. This step often takes the longest and includes receiving medical treatment, getting finalized by treating physicians, giving depositions (oral testimony), and providing written interrogatories (written responses to questions from the opposing side).
You will also want to gather evidence such as the police report and eyewitness testimony during this time.
Once you have completed step three, your attorney will begin the demand phase. Your attorney at Cordisco & Saile LLC will gather all of your medical records, medical bills, and other evidence of your damages.
Your attorney will use this information to calculate a demand amount. He will then send this amount to the insurer who will either agree to the amount or begin the negotiations process by making a counter offer.
If you and the insurer cannot agree to an amount, skip step five.
Once you and the insurer have an agreement, the insurance company will send a release that you must sign before you receive your settlement check. By signing this release, you agree that you may not ask for more money in the future, even if your injuries worsen. This is why it is imperative to have an attorney read over the agreement and ensure that it covers all your damages (e.g., past, present, and future).
If you cannot reach a fair settlement, your attorney can file a lawsuit on your behalf. Filing the lawsuit often prompts the insurer to offer an adequate settlement; however, if it does not, your attorney will represent your interests in court.
For help with your accident claim, contact the attorneys at Cordisco & Saile LLC today at 215-642-2335 today. Let us help you through this process and assist you in obtaining the settlement you deserve.