How to File a Car Accident Injury Claim: Insurance Settlements for Personal Injuries

January 27, 2012

Filing a car accident injury claim is quite easy if you know what information to get. Claims for a car accident injury have basically the same procedures as reporting and claiming insurance for a car accident with distinct differences.

Step 1. Document the Accident

After the accident, the first and most important step you need to take is to document the accident. You can use a camera to take pictures of the damages on your vehicle as well as the damages on the other vehicle.

It is also advisable to seek witnesses who can relate what happened. Make sure that you have the witnesses provide you with a written account that has been signed by them.

Step 2. Get an Accident Report

If there are no police on the scene, it is advisable that you call one. Generally, the police will file an accident report that states what happened and who was involved. Make sure that you get a copy of the accident report. You will need the accident report once you file for a car accident injury claim.

Step 3. Get a Medical Report

After the accident, you then need to have your injuries checked. Aside from treating your injuries, going to the hospital will also give you access to your medical records. Just like the accident report, you will need your medical records once you file for your accident injury claim.

It is also recommended that you ask your attending physician about any potential injuries you may experience in the next few days. Sometimes, injuries may not be so apparent immediately after the accident.

Step 4. Contact your Insurance Company

It is best that you contact your insurance company as soon as possible. You can contact your auto insurance company after the accident or while you are being treated. However, no matter when you call your insurance company it is best you do so within 24 hours after the accident.

Step 5. File your Car Accident Injury Claim

You then need to file an injury claim. To do this, you need to fill out the form that your insurance company will provide. Make sure that you fill out all the information needed. Also, you can attach all the documents you have gathered including the medical records, accident report, and the witnesses' account of the accident.

Step 6. Check for Insurance Coverage

Once you have filed your claim, you also need to check your insurance coverage as well as that of the other driver involved. This is important particularly if involved is a claim for underinsured motorist. Underinsured motorist is the term used for motorists whose policy limit is not adequate to cover for all the damages. If this is the case, then you can seek to have your car insurance company pay for the damages.

Step 7. Settling the Accident Injury Claim

After everything has been documented and your claim has been accepted by the other driver's insurance company or your own, you can now settle the claim. To do this, you need to send the insurance company a signed copy of the agreement form stating that you have agreed to an amount. Upon receiving the payment, you will need to sign a release form.

However, in the event that a claim for a wrongful death is made by the other party it is then time to seek assistance from a lawyer.

Related Questions and Answers

Do I Need a Doctor's Signature to File a Personal Injury Whiplash Claim?

If you've been in an accident, it isn't necessary to see a doctor before filing a personal injury claim for whiplash. You can file a claim directly with the insurance company of the person who is responsible for the accident, or you can file a claim in court with or without the help of an attorney. You don't have to have a doctor's diagnosis in order to file a claim. However, having an actual diagnosis of whiplash from a qualified medical practitioner will give your claim more weight and merit. This can, in many cases, garner you a larger settlement, especially if you take it to court.

Does a Personal Injury Claim Letter Need to Be Notarized?

When you send a personal injury claim letter to the insurance company of the responsible party, you need to fully itemize the injuries and expenses you've suffered. You will also need to fully describe the accident and stress the fact the other party was responsible for causing the accident; include things like cell phone usage or horseplay in the car. If you have them, include the police report and any doctor's bills and reports in your possession. Pictures of the accident scene and your damaged car will also be helpful. Having your letter notarized may be helpful, but isn't necessary.

What is the Average Whiplash Injury Settlement?

Your whiplash injury settlement amount will depend upon a number of factors. There is no "average whiplash settlement," as each case is different and handled differently. Good lawyers will be able to win a larger settlement for your injuries and discomfort than lawyers that don't vigorously pursue your case. If you have been in an accident and are thinking of filing a whiplash injury claim, you need to do some research before you choose an attorney, and definitely don't accept the first settlement offer from the insurance company. Handled correctly, whiplash injury settlements can be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.