Steps to File a Car Accident Claim
In the United States, 43% of car accidents resulted in injuries. When you are injured in a car accident, you may face large medical bills, disability, unemployment, and more.
Learning how to file a car accident claim can help you get the compensation you deserve after this type of accident.
Do you want to learn how you can file a car accident claim to be compensated for your car accident? Keep reading this guide for everything you need to know about filing a claim after an auto accident injury and working with an auto accident lawyer.
Do Not Accept Fault
One of the most important things to remember when you are filing a car accident claim is to never accept fault for any part of the accident. This is something that can seriously impact your ability to get compensated.
This includes discussing the accident with other involved parties or even speculating who was at fault. If you accept fault for any part of the accident, this may be used against you when you file your claim.
While you may not admit to being at fault on purpose, this can be done by accident. For example, saying something as simple as “I’m sorry” to the other party involved in the accident can be evidence that you admitted fault and caused the accident.
Gather Important Auto Accident Claim Documents and Evidence
After your car accident, you need to begin collecting evidence that supports your claim. Some types of evidence you need to include are photos of the scene of the accident, medical records and bills, auto repair bills, and even police reports.
These are essential for your case, as they can show conditions that could have contributed to your accident. Police and witness reports may also back up your claim that you were not at fault.
Having all of this information in one place is necessary if you want to get fairly compensated for your case. This is because you can prove how much damage was done to your vehicle, how much your medical bills cost, and more.
Report the Accident to Your Insurance Agency
You also must report your car accident to your insurance agency. This can often be done online, over the phone, or even on a mobile app. It is essential that you report your accident as quickly as possible, as this may impact your compensation for your vehicle.
Failing to report your accident can result in your provider dropping your coverage, as well as have other consequences. Additionally, your insurance will initiate the claims process and contact the at-fault party’s insurance. The claim adjusters will be responsible for investigating your case.
Keep in mind that insurance companies have a goal to pay out as little as possible. Therefore, be careful about the information you disclose. Insurance companies are hopeful that victims will not know how much their claim is worth and will not know how to negotiate for a higher settlement.
Work with an Auto Accident Lawyer
Even if you aren’t sure whether you want to file a lawsuit, it is important that you work with an auto accident lawyer. A lawyer that specializes in this area of law will be familiar with the claim filing process and can help you get off on the right foot.
Whether you settle your case before a trial or you sue the other people involved in your case, your lawyer can also help you get the most compensation from your case.
Decide to Sue or Settle
You and your attorney can decide whether you want to settle or sue. The choice is not always clear in car accident cases, so you may want to discuss both of these options with your attorney.
When you reach an out-of-court settlement, it means that you are able to do this without a judge or a jury. You can typically just negotiate with the other party involved in the accident.
If you sue, this will bring the case to trial in court. In this case, a judge will make the final decision for your case. Often, these types of car accident cases are settled outside of court. In fact, data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, only 3% of tort cases go to trial.
Instead, you and your lawyer can negotiate with the insurance company or the other parties involved in the case to reach a fair settlement. However, sometimes these negotiations do not go smoothly. In these cases, you will likely need to file a lawsuit if you want to recover your damages.
If you decide to sue the other parties, it is essential that you consider the claim filing deadline. Each state has a statute of limitations, which provides a deadline for victims to file a lawsuit.
Make sure you talk to an attorney immediately after your car accident if you want to file a suit. This is because it can take a lot of time after an accident to gather all the information you need to file a lawsuit.
File the Claim
Finally, you must file a claim or petition with the court if you are unable to settle before a trial. This allows you to tell the court what happened, what damages you incurred from the accident, and more. This is the official start of a lawsuit.
Once you have filed the complaint, it’s served to the defendant. Then, they are given a certain amount of time to respond to the complaint. This timeframe depends on your state but is typically about three weeks.
This will lead to the discovery process of your case, which includes building evidence and arguments to determine who was at fault. After this is complete, you can present the case in court with your legal representative. You can share your evidence that proves the other party was at fault. Then, you must wait for a decision on your case.
Need to File a Car Accident Claim?
When you are involved in a car accident, filing a car accident claim can be a complicated but necessary process. Learning more about the claim filing process makes the process easier. Also, it ensures that you take the proper steps to get fairly compensated.
If you need to file a car accident claim, Mesa Accident Lawyers can help. We specialize in car accident cases and can help you through the entire process. Contact our legal experts to learn more about our services and to get a free, no-obligation consultation for your case.