When you suffer injuries in an accident, it’s likely that you will resolve your claim by reaching a settlement agreement with the at-fault party’s insurance company. First, you will need to file a personal injury claim with an insurance company. Going through the insurance company claim procedures can be overwhelming and stressful.
How do you know you are going through the claims process in the correct manner? Are you going to be able to determine if you are receiving a fair settlement? What are you going to do if the insurance company refuses to settle?
You deserve to make the most of your claim, and you should not allow the insurance companies to force you to settle for less financial compensation than you deserve. We will review the insurance claims process and discuss how you can obtain a satisfactory financial award.
It goes without saying this process is best executed with the assistance of an experienced personal injury lawyer.
Notify The Insurance Company
The insurance company needs to be put on notice that you have been involved in an automobile accident. If you contact the insurance company after your automobile accident, then you will be able to begin the insurance claim process.
In no-fault states, your insurance company will be responsible for covering costs related to your physical injuries regardless of who caused the accident – to a certain point. It is important to contact your insurer immediately after the automobile accident. It is advisable to contact your insurance company on the day your automobile accident occurs.
The insurance policy you have with your insurance company may not be big enough to cover the complete extent of your injuries. If someone else is responsible for causing your accident, then you can sue this party and file a claim with that motorist’s insurance company.
You should look to the insurance policy between you and your insurance company to determine the amount of time you have to notify an insurer after an automobile accident. Many insurance companies will refuse to acknowledge your claim if you do not notify the company with a “reasonable” amount of time after an automobile accident. It is always a good policy to contact an insurance company as soon as you can after an accident.
Gather Evidence and Information
You should notify the insurance company about your automobile accident and then state that you intend to file a claim. You need to act fast after you put the insurance company on notice. Insurers may deny your claims if they are not filed within a reasonable amount of time. It is important to understand that the insurance claim you are going to file is not a demand for financial compensation.
You are providing the insurance company with important information about the automobile accident. You will have the chance to draft and send a demand letter once you have been able to assess your total damages.
Insurance companies want to know specific details about your automobile accident. You need to take all the time you need to obtain the necessary information. You need detailed information on the location, date, and time of the automobile accident.
You will also need to acquire information related to the personal details and insurance information of the other passengers and parties involved in the automobile accident.
It is also necessary for you to obtain the property damage, deaths, and injuries caused by the automobile accident. You do not need to formally submit your insurance claim until you have all of these details organized and ascertainable.
Identify Damages and Prepare Your Demand Letter
A demand letter is an opportunity for you to explain your injuries and request money for the damages you have suffered. You can ask for compensation for special (economic) and general (non-economic) damages. These damages can include compensation for pain and suffering, disability, lost wages, medical expenses, and more.
You need to supplement your demand letter with the evidence you have previously gathered. Make sure that you investigate your accident and gather any evidence that will support your claim and prove damages.
Some items you need to gather are police reports, photographs, video footage, and reports of your physical injuries. It is also a good idea to gather witness statements, pay stubs, medical records, and statements from your primary physician.
You need to use this evidence to persuade the insurance company to pay you the compensation you need for your injuries, medical expenses, and other costs. The more substantial evidence you bring to support your demand letter, the more money you will receive from the insurance company.
Submitting The Demand Letter
You should wait to send your demand letter until you have recovered from your physical injuries. You need to understand the full extent of your injuries, and you will not know this information until you have recovered. Knowing how an injury will affect you in the future will help you understand the exact nature of your damages.
Wait For The Insurance Company To Respond
An insurance company will conduct its own investigation into the nature and causes of your automobile accident. This investigation will depend on whether you are filing a first-party claim or a third-party claim.
If you are filing a first-party claim with the insurance company, they will review your request and determine if your accident is covered by your insurance policy. They will then review your demand letter and analyze the value of your injuries. Many insurers use software programs to assess the values of claims.
The claims adjuster will insert details about your automobile accident and list the injuries you suffered and the severity of each injury. The software program will analyze and collate all the data and provide the claims adjuster with a numerical value for your case.
If you file a third-party claim, then the insurer will be searching for evidence that shows their insured driver is responsible for the accident and your injuries. If any doubts are raised regarding who is to blame, then the insurer will deny your claim.
Consider The Insurance Company’s Settlement Offer
An insurance company is obligated to act in good faith, and this means that an insurer must consider the merits of your claim and offer financial compensation if the claim is valid.
Most insurance companies will not automatically pay the amount you stated in your demand letter. Rather, they will produce a settlement offer that is less than the amount you listed in your demand letter. The settlement amount is often based on the value the software program assigns to your case.
Make A Counteroffer
You can reject the insurer’s settlement offer, and you may submit a counteroffer. The counteroffer is a second demand letter because it highlights evidence that helps your case and argues for a greater amount of financial compensation.
Consider The Final Settlement Offer
You may send letters back and forth with an insurance company several times during the claims period. However, at some point in time, the insurance company will extend a final offer. You should accept the final settlement offer if the insurer provided strong reasons for denying some of the money you requested. You should reject the final settlement offer if the insurer denied most of your demands without providing substantial reasons for denying your demands.
Call Us Today to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation with an Austin Personal Injury Lawyer
If you have suffered injuries in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, it’s in your best interest to retain an experienced lawyer as soon as you can. At The Patel Firm, we will review your case at no cost to you and only collect legal fees if we win your case. To schedule a free case evaluation with an Austin personal injury attorney, call us today at (361) 400-2036.