If you've been injured in a motor vehicle accident or suffered property damage, you'll want to file an accident report and a personal injury claim right after you've received medical attention.
Filing an injury claim is the first step toward being compensated for your medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages resulting from the accident.
It's also important to see a Car Accident Doctor after an accident to have your injuries examined and documented.
In the article below, we will discuss the things you need to do to report an injury after a car accident.
Table of Contents
- The Basics of Personal Injury Claims
- What You Should Do Before Filing a Claim
- Statute of Limitations For Filing A Personal Injury Lawsuit
- When Do You Need an Attorney?
- Filing an Insurance Claim After an Accident? Contact Arrowhead Clinic
The Basics of Personal Injury Claims
If you have personal injury protection (PIP) or medical coverage on your insurance policy you can submit an injury claim with your insurance company.
Your injury claim to your insurance company will be paid no matter who caused the accident.
Things get a little more complicated if you have to file a claim with the other driver's insurance company.
The other party's insurance company will defend their client and do all they can to pay as little as possible to claimants.
If you want to be compensated fairly after a traffic accident, there are a few things you have to prove, including:
- The other driver is at fault
- The accident is responsible for your injuries
- The medical necessity of your medical care, related expenses
- Your pain and suffering
Before getting started with your claim, it helps to understand a few terms the insurance companies and lawyers will use.
- Negligence: Negligence is the failure to take reasonable care to prevent harm to others. A driver could be negligent if they don’t follow traffic laws or fail to act responsibly behind the wheel. Driving under the influence of alcohol is an example of negligence.
- Liability: Liability is the responsibility for what happened. If a driver fails to stop at a stop sign, they are responsible for the injuries to the person in the vehicle they hit.
- Proximate Cause: Proximate cause is when the acts of another directly cause injuries. The act of ignoring a stop sign and crashing into the car was the proximate cause of the victim’s injuries.
Accident injury claims are based on the fault of another driver.
If the negligence of another driver caused your accident, they will be liable for your damages.
What You Should Do Before Filing a Claim
Reporting your accident and filing an injury claim are two different things.
There are time limits on both, and most insurance companies will require you to report your accident within thirty days, but you don't necessarily have to report a claim within that period.
Your insurance company may also require you to file a police report within 24 hours of the accident, especially if you were injured.
Accidents involving injuries should be reported by calling 911 at the scene of the accident by one of the drivers involved or a witness of the accident.
Before you file a claim, there are a few things you need to do, including:
- If you are able, call 911 at the scene of the accident. When you do this, it gets emergency responders to the scene and ensures that anyone needing medical attention, including you, can receive it as soon as possible. This also allows the police to investigate the accident and file an accident report, which your insurance may require.
- Gather all the documentation your insurance company may require. This usually includes the names, addresses, phone numbers, and insurance information of anyone else involved in the accident, along with eyewitnesses. If you can't gather it yourself at the accident scene, the police should have done so.
- If you can, take pictures of the accident scene.
- Call your insurance provider as soon as possible.
- Contact an accident lawyer, especially if you were injured.
- Contact your claims adjuster. If you're working with an accident lawyer, you can let them handle communications with the insurance companies.
- Keep copies of everything, including medical bills, witness and driver information you collected at the scene, pictures you took, and provide that information to your claims adjuster and personal injury attorney.
Following these steps will lay the groundwork for filing an actual claim.
Statute of Limitations for Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit
If you want to be sure your medical bills are covered in an injury claim, you should do all of the above.
And you only have a certain amount of time to do it.
Every personal injury case has a statute of limitations that usually starts at the time of the accident.
For most states, the statute of limitations is two years after the accident.
If you take too long to file your lawsuit and the time expires, you will lose your right to file a lawsuit and receive compensation for your injuries.
A few exceptions apply, but they are rare, so don't rely on them applying to your accident claim.
As soon as you've been injured in a car accident caused by someone else, you should speak with an experienced auto accident lawyer right away.
It's important to remember that if you want to file a personal injury lawsuit, time starts running out the moment you realize you are injured.
When Do You Need an Attorney?
There are some situations where you might not need an attorney.
If you were in a minor car accident and you've been checked out by a medical professional and you've only suffered minor injuries, you might be able to negotiate a reasonable settlement on your own.
Soft-tissue injury claims are usually pretty straightforward.
The compensation for most soft tissue injuries is a total of your medical bills, your out-of-pocket expenses, lost wages, and a nominal amount for pain and suffering.
However, even simple cases can get complicated, so it's never a bad idea to work with a team of experienced accident attorneys.
Some injury claims are much more difficult to settle on your own.
Claims involving broken bones, permanent scarring, head injuries, internal bleeding, or spinal cord injuries are expensive and complicated.
And you shouldn't completely trust your insurance agent to treat you fairly when negotiating your claim.
Insurance companies are notorious for making lower settlement offers to accident victims who don’t have an attorney to protect their bottom line.
If you’ve suffered any injuries in a car accident, there's too much to lose by handling your personal injury claim on your own.
Most injury attorneys offer free consultations to an injured person to find out if they can help.
Filing an Insurance Claim After an Accident? Contact Arrowhead Clinic
From severe multi-car pileups to minor accidents, reporting an injury can turn into a complicated process quickly.
The very first thing you should do after your car accident is to see a car accident chiropractor.
A chiropractor with Arrowhead Clinic will diagnose and treat your injuries, and they will start documenting them for your personal injury claim.
Arrowhead Clinic can also recommend an experienced personal injury attorney that can protect you from the negotiation tactics used by insurance adjusters during the claims process to pay you less.
An experienced chiropractor with Arrowhead Clinic will be able to answer any questions you may have about your injuries and refer you to a personal injury lawyer that will ensure you get the maximum settlement amount available to you.
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