What is the process of filing an insurance claim after an accident?

After an accident, filing an insurance claim may seem like a daunting task but it is necessary to protect your interest.  Filing an insurance claim involves determining what your claim is worth, taking the appropriate steps to get the claim started, and negotiating with insurance adjusters. Becoming familiar with the process of filing an insurance claim can make the road to obtaining compensation a little smoother and straighter, as you will know what to expect as your claim progresses. If you ever feel your claim is not moving forward as it should, do not hesitate to talk to a personal injury attorney.

The Insurance Claim Process

If you have been injured in an accident, filing an insurance claim is an important step to recovering compensation for medical bills, treatment, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. Depending on your insurance policy, you may file a claim with your own insurance company or the at-fault party’s insurance company. You will need to provide your full name, your policy number (if filing with your own insurance company), the date and time of the incident, and contact information for all people involved (including witnesses). For car accidents, you should also have the driver’s license and license plate numbers for each driver and vehicle involved.

After you file your insurance claim, one or more adjusters will be assigned to your case to determine if your claim is covered. He or she may contact you for more details about the accident and/or to request specific information. As part of the investigation, the adjuster may also contact other parties and witnesses, visit the scene of the incident, and ask to review your medical records. Before signing a medical release or any other document, it is advisable to talk to a personal injury lawyer to determine what exactly you are agreeing to, and if you are receiving everything you are entitled to receive.

Determining Fault

With all of the information he has gathered, the insurance adjuster will determine fault, which in turn will determine how much the insurance company will pay out on your claim. For example, if you file a claim with the other party’s insurance company and the adjuster finds you to be 40% at fault in the incident, that insurance company will most likely decrease your settlement offer by at least 40%.  Who is at fault is one of the most contested issues in personal injury claims, and especially in motor vehicle accidents. It is always a good decision to involve an attorney if there are any issues related to fault because a quality lawyer will ensure accurate information is collected and shared with everyone involved in processing the claim.

Obtaining Compensation for Damages

If you have an insurance policy that will cover your injuries and repairs until fault is determined, you will receive some compensation after you file your claim, as well as coverage as your costs accumulate. Then after fault is determined, your insurance company has the right to negotiate with the other party’s insurance company to recoup their costs associated with your claim.

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