In an instant, your life can change. You have just been in a car wreck. What happens now? How will you pay the medical bills? You are most likely scared and confused, especially if you were not at fault. In these situations, there are certain things that need to happen in order to maximize your chances of a payout settlement from the at fault insurance.
*I am not an attorney and the following does not constitute legal advice. Each state has its own set of rules and regulations in regards to Personal Injury claims.Please consult an attorney for further discussion of your personal injury claim. *
The Car Wreck
For purposes of this article we are going to assume that you are not at fault. Someone has hit you and you aren’t sure what to do next. The laws are different in every state, but I am able to give you a broad overview of what to do if you want to make a personal injury claim.
- Call the Police
- Even if the other involved party begs you not to, it is best to involve the authorities. If you want to have a claim, you will need an accident report.
- Go to the Hospital
- If there is bent metal, go to the hospital. You don’t have to take an ambulance, but you will need to go. In order to have a claim, you must seek treatment within a certain amount of days from the car wreck, typically 14 days. Remember, it can take a day or two for symptoms to even present.
- Find an Attorney
- The sooner you seek legal advice the better.
- Follow up with Your Doctor
- It is important to follow up with your doctor and to maintain treatments during the life of your case. Chiropractic care is also highly recommended.
Finding the Right Attorney
There are so many advertisements out there for personal injury attorneys. Everywhere you look there is a billboard and every time you turn on the radio you hear another commercial. As a paralegal who has worked in personal injury, I would advise you to do your research. If you want a more personal experience, then go for a highly recommended local firm. Another thing, always be aware that personal injury cases are taken on contingency. This means that you will not pay a retainer or any attorney’s fees. The attorney will be paid from your settlement at the conclusion of your case.
What a Claim Will Cover
So many people don’t even know what their claim can cover. Please keep in mind this varies depending on which state you are in. Each state is different, so consult your attorney regarding the specifics. Insurance companies will typically pay out the maximum coverage amount of their insured for an accident. If the accident was extremely bad and the damages exceed the coverage amount, an attorney can take the case to court and get a larger settlement. The following are things that can be covered by the at fault insurance company.
- Car Seats
- This will also be covered by your own insurance company. Any time a car seat is in a car wreck, it needs to be replaced. Even if it was only a fender bender.
- Medical Bills
- Vehicle Damage
- Pain and Suffering
- Time Lost at Work
During Your Claim
Once you have legal representation and a claim if filed, it will be important for you to maintain contact with your attorney. The biggest thing you need to know, is that these cases take time! I cannot say how many times we had clients who really thought they would get their money in a matter of months and were quite upset when this wasn’t the case. There are rules of procedure that musty be followed, so you must remain patient.
During the life of your claim, it is also important that you continue to receive medical treatment. Nine times out of ten, Chiropractic care will be recommended for individuals who have been involved in an accident. If you are worried about paying the medical bills before your settlement check comes in, don’t be. Your attorney can send a Letter of Protection to all of your medical providers. This basically states that the provider agrees to continue treatment and not put your account into collections as they will be paid out of the settlement check at the conclusion of the case.
What You Need To Know About Personal Injury
After The Claim
After the duration of your case, you will agree that you can never sue again in regards to this incident. It is possible that you will have permanent damage from your accident, and that is something that it is important to factor into the claim itself. It is the hope that the settlement will be enough to cover your present and future medical bills as well as compensate for pain and suffering you may have experienced. These claims are timely, some taking many years to reach settlement, so it is important to remain patient and maintain a good relationship with your attorney.