A car wreck is shocking and scary. In the immediate aftermath, you might feel overwhelmed by what took place and not know what to do next. First, you must seek treatment for your injury. That is among the most essential aspects of filing an injury claim. Without medical evidence, proving you got hurt in the crash will be very difficult.
Although the claims process can be confusing, you don’t have to handle it alone. Navigating an accident investigation, collecting evidence, and negotiating a fair settlement are often challenging. When you hire a car accident lawyer, you can focus on your medical care while they handle the legal details.
How to File a Car Accident Claim
Filing a car accident claim requires completing numerous steps, including the following:
- Determine fault – You must determine who caused the accident before filing your claim. Pursuing action against the wrong person can delay the process and prevent you from recovering the compensation you need to heal.
- File the claim – Once you determine liability, you can file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. They might be financially responsible for your medical bills, mental anguish, lost wages, and other losses.
- Investigate the accident – You need to thoroughly investigate the accident and gather substantial evidence to prove someone else is at fault and should pay. Evidence can include traffic camera footage, copies of your medical records, eyewitness statements, and pictures from the crash scene. If you’re unable to track down witnesses or collect evidence at the scene, don’t worry. Your attorney can handle that for you. They can also request records from your doctors to prove the extent of your injury and the expenses from treatment.
- Send the insurer a demand letter – You must draft a demand letter outlining the facts of the case, including how the accident occurred, why the driver should be liable, and the compensation you seek. Send the letter with the evidence you found to the insurance carrier for review.
- Wait for a response – The insurance adjuster assigned to your claim will review everything they receive. They will decide whether to reject or accept the claim. If they deny it, there are other options. You can file an appeal to get the decision reversed. If they accept your claim, negotiations will begin.
- Negotiate a settlement – The insurer will calculate the value of your claim and determine whether your proposed settlement is fair. Fair is relative during the claims process. Insurance companies want to avoid significant settlements and look for evidence to reduce the value or underpay the claim. You must not give up if the number they offer is much lower than the number you demand.
What If the Insurance Company Doesn’t Agree to a Settlement?
The insurance carrier might be unwilling to negotiate an adequate settlement despite your representation by a seasoned attorney. If negotiations don’t go as planned, other options are available to pursue the compensation you deserve, including:
- Mediation – You can request mediation with the insurance adjuster and their attorney. You will meet them with your lawyer and a mediator to try to resolve the matter outside of court. The mediator is an impartial third party who can facilitate productive conversations and suggest ways of settling. If you reach an agreement, the case will end. The mediator will draft a settlement agreement you and the other party must sign indicating an agreed-upon settlement amount.
- File a lawsuit – Another option is to file a lawsuit if the insurer won’t budge on their offer or refuses to mediate the case. A lawsuit can be time-consuming and expensive. However, most car accident lawyers work on contingency, meaning they don’t require upfront payment to take the case. They only collect their legal fees and costs if they secure compensation for their clients. You might benefit from a lawsuit because it could force the insurer to increase their offer. Since a trial is a gamble and no one knows what the outcome might be, the insurer might want to settle instead of taking their chances before a jury.
Fight for Full and Fair Compensation with Help from The Benton Law Firm
Insurance companies are in the business of making money. You must remember they don’t want to pay you no matter how friendly or accommodating the adjuster seems. That is why hiring an experienced lawyer from The Benton Law Firm is critical. We can protect your rights and aggressively negotiate for a settlement you deserve.
If you sustained injuries in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence, do not hesitate to call The Benton Law Firm at (214) 777-7777 for a free consultation. Let us be your advocate and take on the insurance carrier so you don’t have to.