If you have been injured in a car crash, you have undoubtedly had to contend with multiple doctors appointments, time missed from work, and extra expenses related to your accident. You know that you need to file an insurance claim, and you are wondering what is required and how long the process will take. Although the exact amount of time a claim can take may vary, there are a few basic steps you will have to go through to recover personal injury compensation.
Step One: Gather Your Evidence
When you first have a car accident, you should gather all the evidence you will need to prove your financial losses to your insurance company. Having all of your paperwork together will make things easier for an insurance adjuster.
According to personal injury lawyers Bernheim Kelley Battista & Bliss, when you are at the scene of the accident, you should call the police and wait for them to arrive. Be sure to take pictures and get the names of any witnesses. You will also want to exchange information with the other driver.
Save a copy of every doctor bill that you receive and the receipts for any medicine that you might have to take. You will want to get your employer to write you a letter stating the number of hours you have missed from work.
Step Two: Call the Insurance Company
When you first call your insurance company, they will ask you a series of questions about your accident. They may try to pressure you into giving details that you do not remember. You should only tell them what you clearly remember about the accident. They may ask to record your answers, but you do not have to let them; in fact, most attorneys would advise you not to.
They will ask you to send in all of the documentation you have of your accident and its expenses at this point.
Step Three: The Insurance Company Will Begin Their Investigation
Each state has different rules for when an insurance company must begin an insurance investigation. For example, in the state of Florida, they have ten days to begin an investigation. The state of Massachusetts does not set a specific time but does require insurance companies to settle claims promptly.
When the investigation begins, your case will be assigned to an adjuster. They will review the paperwork that you sent them. They will also interview you and any witnesses to the accident.
In some cases, they will visually inspect the car to look for where the impact happened. They may also enlist the help of accident reconstruction specialists.
This is the stage where there may be some delays because the adjuster is going to try to keep the insurance companies money in-house. They will look for evidence that you had pre-existing medical conditions and that your car was damaged before the collision.
Step Four: The Insurance Company Will Accept or Deny Your Claim
After the investigation is complete, the insurance company will make you a settlement offer or deny the claim. The amount of time an insurance company has to make you an offer will vary from state to state. For example, in the state of Florida, they must accept or deny your claim within 90 days.
There may be more delays at this point because the insurance company is unlikely to give you the money you deserve.
Step Five: Hiring an Attorney
At this point, it is a good idea to hire a personal injury attorney. They can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf whether your claim has been denied or you have simply been offered too little money.
A professional attorney will have years of experience in negotiating with insurance companies. They will have the knowledge and experience to get you the money you need to move on with your life.