Filing a car accident claim with your insurance company means informing your insurance company of the crash, filing a claim for damages with them, and then filing a lawsuit if they deny the damages, or you need more compensation for your injuries.
Filing an insurance claim can be a stressful process, but it is an extremely important one. When you are injured, it is important to gather evidence at the scene, inform your insurance company of the crash as soon as possible, contact a personal injury attorney, and then file a claim with your insurance. Insurance companies have to make a decision on your claim within thirty days. After they make a decision, you can choose to accept it, file an appeal, or file a lawsuit.
What Type Of Claims Are There?
Depending on how your insurance companies file different claims, you may find that you have different types of claim types that can be made to pay back your damages. These claims include:
Filing for personal injury damages, such as those provided under the mandatory PIP, is an extremely important action. However, where you have medical damages, receiving such damages is important to your well-being and should be a part of your process to get back to where you were before.
It is also important to note that PIP generally requires that you seek medical treatment for your car crash within fourteen days. So it is important to get treatment as soon as possible.
Loss of value to vehicle
If you have coverage, you can file a claim for that lost value of your vehicle to gain back any lost value due to damage on your vehicle.
If you have this type of coverage, you may file a claim to recoup the cost of repairs on your vehicle. This may assist with your vehicular costs after an accident.
Injury by uninsured or underinsured defendant
It is possible that you will get into a car accident with a driver who is not insured or underinsured. In these situations, it can be difficult to collect much money from this type of defendant because they do not have an insurance money to pay damages to you. So, in this situation, you may want to have your own form of insurance that covers your damages when you cannot get it from the other side.
Do You Need To Have A Lawyer To Make A Claim?
No. You can file a claim on your own. However, you should be careful doing this, as while insurance companies are experts in the law regarding car accidents, they are also experts in keeping as much money as possible for their company.
If they know you are unrepresented, they know that you likely are not an expert in this area of law. While it is unlikely an insurance company will commit fraud, it is not impossible for them to lean towards a lower estimate of your damages when paying out.
You see, insurance companies do not take your damage amounts at your word. Rather, they evaluate, and determine what they believe your damages to be. Then they offer you that payout.
Having a car accident attorney on your side means having an expert in the insurance process on your side and means letting your insurance company know you won’t let lowball payments slide. Having an expert on your side not only makes the process of filing a claim easier, but also makes it more likely your claim will be approved at the rate you need to make yourself whole again.
Furthermore, if something does go wrong, and the insurance company does not work with you, you have someone on your side who you can trust to fight for your rights. Doing it yourself can be extremely difficult, time consuming, and ineffective.
What Are The Steps After A Car Accident To Make A Claim?
While there are a few important steps that you should take after getting in a car accident, a couple of these are really imperative to take to have an effective claim filing process. These include
Make sure everyone is okay
There are many steps listed on many different websites talking about what to do after a car crash. However, any list, about any topic, that is worth it salt, must mention the golden rule. Your first step should always be to make sure everyone is okay.
If you can do something to save yourself, another person in your car, or even someone in the at fault vehicle, you should do it; assuming it is safe to do so. Not only does this make you focus on what is really important, but it also has a practical advantage. It would be pretty terrible for it to come out that you spent your time taking pictures of the accident scene when another person was seriously injured and needed help.
Call the police
Calling the police will not only allow you to get someone on site who can help with issues, such as road blockages, but it will also result in the creation of the accident report. This accident report is extremely helpful in that it can be used to inform the insurance adjuster to help them understand what happened at the scene.
Take lots of photos of the scene
It is imperative to take pictures of the scene when it is safe to do so, so that you have evidence of damage, and of any injuries at the crash site. You may also want to take pictures of your injuries after the fact. This type of evidence can show insurance companies how severe your damage really is.
Notify your insurance company of the accident
Some insurance companies require that you notify them of the car accident within a certain time period. You should make sure to meet this important deadline.
Contact an attorney if you plan to get one
Unless your damages are so minor that you do not plan to enlist the help of an experienced personal injury attorney, you should contact one before you file a claim. They can give you advice on what other damages you may have and inform you of the best way to fill out your claims. In addition, they may suggest you go to a certain doctor for a further evaluation.
In certain situations where you have only extremely minor damages, you may be fine filing a claim yourself, and do not need an auto accident attorney.
File an insurance claim
At this point, you should be able to file an insurance claim for your damages.
What Kind Of Timeline Can I Expect When Filing A Claim Or Lawsuit With An Attorney?
Make sure you filed with your insurance company first
Florida law requires that you look towards your own insurance company first before filing your lawsuit, if you are suing for personal injuries. Your insurer will likely have a time limit for when you can file a claim.
Make sure to meet this timeline. You insurer must make a decision on this claim within thirty days. You generally have 180 days to appeal this decision.
There is a strict statute of limitations when it comes to filing a lawsuit
If your insurer denies your claim or it does not cover your injuries, you should file a lawsuit against the at fault driver. Florida requires that you file a lawsuit within four years after a car crash occurs. It is imperative to file a lawsuit before this date, and to get an attorney on board as soon as possible.
Timelines for lawsuits are substantially longer than for insurance claims
Depending on whether the other side chooses to settle, a lawsuit could take months to years before you see any money from it. That is why it is important to get some money from your insurance company if you can before you proceed with a lawsuit.
How Can A Florida Personal Injury Lawyer Help?
Hiring a car accident attorney to assist in this process can give you time to focus on your physical and mental health, especially if you have injuries. Instead of spending massive amounts of time trying to learn confusing laws of legal procedure, you can focus on making your own mind and body whole.
Attorneys are also better equipped to handle insurance companies which are experienced at paying less money than what they owe. An attorney can work with these insurance companies to make sure they pay out all the compensation that you need and deserve.
The insurance claims process can be long and confusing but having a concrete plan on what to do can make that process easier.
In addition, having an auto accident attorney on your side means you have an expert fighting for the compensation you need, and one that can guide you through the process while you focus on rest and healing.
If you are in need of an experienced personal injury lawyer, contact Bulluck Law Group today. We offer a free case evaluation to see if we’re a good fit as well as a No Recovery, No Fee Promise.