You can quickly become overwhelmed after getting hurt in an accident. Your medical bills start piling up, the insurance adjuster hounds you for information about the incident, and you struggle with all the steps you must complete to secure compensation.
You might think filing an insurance claim is simple. However, the process is more complicated than it seems. An experienced personal injury lawyer can handle every step for you so you can focus on what matters most: treating your injury.
Below are the steps involved in filing a personal injury insurance claim.
Seek Medical Treatment
Seeking treatment is one of the first steps you should take after an accident. You can go to a nearby emergency room or see your doctor after leaving the accident scene. A doctor should examine you even if you don’t have symptoms or think your injury is minor. Sometimes, symptoms don’t appear until days later when the shock of what happened wears off.
Treatment doesn’t stop after the initial visit. You should attend all necessary doctor’s appointments until you heal or your medical providers release you from their care. Ending your treatment early can damage the outcome of your case and prevent you from recovering your health.
Hire a Personal Injury Attorney
Seeking legal representation isn’t a requirement. You don’t have to hire a lawyer after an accident. However, you should. An experienced legal team can work on your case while you treat your injury.
The insurance adjuster isn’t on your side, despite what you might think. They want to save money by any means possible. They will look for evidence to prove you are at fault or your injury isn’t as severe as you claim. Your attorney can protect your rights and fight back against the insurance company after a denied claim or unfair settlement offer.
Investigate the Accident
You must investigate the accident to establish liability. Determining who is at fault is crucial so you know which insurer to file your claim with and how much insurance coverage is available. If you hire a personal injury lawyer, they can handle the investigation and gather evidence.
The evidence necessary in your case will depend on the circumstances but could include:
- Copies of your medical records and bills
- Photos from the accident scene
- Statements from experts, such as medical providers and accident reconstruction specialists
- Police or incident report
- Video surveillance footage
- Eyewitness statements
- Lost wage reports
File an Insurance Claim
You can file an insurance claim with the appropriate insurance company after establishing liability for the accident and receiving the necessary insurance information. Filing your claim with the at-fault party’s liability insurer is crucial. If you start a claim with the wrong insurance company, it can delay the entire process.
Prepare a Demand Package
You should not submit your demand package until you complete your necessary medical treatment. You must account for all appointments and expenses to calculate the compensation you need to cover your bills. Future medical care might also require additional compensation to cover those costs.
The demand package should include all the evidence you gathered during the investigation. The letter must describe the incident, how it occurred, and who is at fault. You should also outline your treatment, including the dates you attended each appointment and the names of the medical providers and facilities. Also, inform the insurer of the amount of money you’re demanding for the accident.
Negotiate a Settlement
Settlement negotiations can begin when the insurance carrier reviews the demand package and determines whether to accept your demand or provide a counteroffer. You might go back and forth multiple times before reaching an agreement. However, the insurer could deny your claim or refuse to settle for an amount you want.
File a Lawsuit
If you don’t settle your case during an insurance claim, the next step is to sue the at-fault party. You must confirm you’re within the timeframe required to initiate a lawsuit in civil court. In South Carolina, the statute of limitations allows a three-year timeframe to file suit. That means you have three years from the accident date to file your lawsuit for compensation.
Speak to a Dedicated Personal Injury Attorney Now
You shouldn’t handle your insurance claim or endure this traumatic experience alone. Hiring a personal injury attorney from Crantford Meehan can simplify your life.
We fight for the rights of injured clients in South Carolina. When you hire us, we will aggressively pursue action to hold the at-fault party liable and recover the money owed to you.
Call Crantford Meehan at (843) 773-4430 for a free consultation if you were injured in an accident due to someone else’s negligence. Let us help you seek the justice you deserve.