How to File a Personal Injury Insurance Claim


If you’ve been injured in an accident, we understand the road to recovery can be a long, arduous process. You may be wondering if you’re entitled to compensation and, if so, how much. That can depend on a number of factors, including the severity of your injury and who was at fault.

It is our goal to help you navigate the process of filing a personal injury insurance claim so that you’re compensated fairly. That starts with understanding the steps to take after you’ve been injured in an accident. Here are some things you should know.

Seek Medical Assistance

The first thing you should do after you’ve been involved in an accident is seek medical treatment. Even if you don’t feel injured, you should still see a doctor. In some instances, injuries aren’t immediately apparent. It’s better to err on the side of caution and immediately go to an emergency room or get checked out by a physician. If you put it off instead, you may start to feel pain days or even weeks later. At that point in time, it can be much more difficult to link your injury to the accident. So if offered medical assistance on the scene, it’s in your best interest to accept it.

File a Claim

As soon as you’re able, you should file a personal injury insurance claim. Contact your insurance company to find out if your injury is covered by your policy. Before you leave the scene, you should get the insurance information of the responsible party. If you’re injured in a car crash, you can also contact the police department to get a copy of the police report. That should provide insurance information and the contact information for other people involved in the wreck.

If, on the other hand, you are injured on private property, check public records to find out what individual or corporation owns that property. You can then reach out to the person or business to inquire about personal liability insurance coverage. If you need some help tracking down the party legally responsible, consulting with a personal injury attorney could help. Keep reading for more info on that.

Once you have the responsible party’s insurance information, you can contact the insurance company to file a third-party claim. You can do this by sending the company a notice of claim with the insured party’s information, your information, the date of the accident, and a notification letter explaining your intent to pursue the claim. Avoid providing too much detail in your initial filing. This will allow you time to consult with an attorney.

Collect Documentation

Document everything in writing. The more time that goes by, the more likely you are to forget details that could bolster your claim. Jot down everything that you remember about the accident in as much detail as possible.

You should also photograph the scene of the accident. If you’re severely injured, you may not be able to do this right away. Going back to our original example, if you were injured in a car crash, check with the responding law enforcement agency to see whether any photos were taken as evidence. You can also revisit the scene of the accident to take photos of skid marks, debris, road conditions, or anything else that may have contributed to the crash. If there are nearby homes or businesses, you should also check with them to see if you can locate any witnesses.

Be sure to also collect any receipts and invoices related to your personal injury claim. If your car is totaled, keep receipts for transportation services while your car is in the shop, such as car rental or rideshare trips. Keep receipts for all doctor and emergency room visits, medications, and any other out-of-pocket expenses you may incur as a result of your injury.

Consult an Attorney

If you’ve suffered a serious personal injury, you should consult with an attorney. A personal injury lawyer can help determine who is legally responsible for the accident and help you navigate the legal process. An attorney can also prepare you for what to expect in terms of a settlement and help you negotiate a fair offer.

According to Nolo, legal representation can have a significant impact on the amount of a personal injury payout. Even after taking into account legal fees, Nolo readers with legal representation reported a payout of nearly three times higher than those who handled their personal injury insurance claim on their own. If you’re concerned about attorney fees, many personal injury lawyers work on contingency. That means they only get paid when you do, through a percentage of the final settlement amount.

Evaluate the Settlement Offer

Once an insurance adjuster has the opportunity to investigate your claim and confirm its validity, you will likely be contacted with a settlement offer. Many people want to avoid the expense of a lawsuit or the time demands of a hearing. The key here is to determine whether the settlement is a fair offer. If not, you should try to negotiate for a more favorable one. Again, retaining counsel can be helpful when it comes to negotiating the settlement terms.

File a Lawsuit

If you’re unable to come to an agreement with the insurance company or private party when it comes to negotiating a fair settlement, your only recourse may be to file a lawsuit. If you decide to go this route, keep in mind that some states have a statute of limitations for these types of cases. That means you have a limited time frame in which you must file the suit. If you decide to meet with an attorney, even for a consultation, be sure to inquire about the deadline to file a personal injury lawsuit in your state.

If you’ve been injured in an accident, Warren Allen LLP may be able to help. Give us a call to schedule a consultation. We’ll help you assess your claim and determine the best course of action to take.

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