Most drivers assume that car accidents are problems that happen to other people. They go about their lives behind the wheel without even knowing what to do if they get into a crash, themselves. Instead of just hoping for the best, drivers should educate themselves by finding out what they need to know about car accident injury claims and what to do after a wreck.
What Is a Car Wreck Injury Claim?
Like all personal injury claims, car wreck injury claims attempt to hold the person liable for causing the victim harm responsible for his or her negligence. In this case, the liable person is usually another driver, although it’s not unheard of for vehicle manufacturers, mechanics, rental firms, and other parties to play a role, as well. The claim gets filed through the responsible party’s insurance company and will usually result in a settlement package.
How to File an Insurance Claim
There are two types of insurance claims injured drivers will need to file. A first-party claim gets filed with the victim’s own insurance company, while a third-party claim goes to the responsible party’s insurance provider. Accident victims should file first-party claims as soon as they can but should wait to file third-party claims until after speaking with a lawyer. Filing a claim usually requires the accident victim to send a letter that includes:
- His or her insurance policy number
The location, date, and time of the accident
A detailed description of how the crash occurred
The responsible party’s insurance policy number
Both parties’ contact information
The police report number
Filing first-party claims is usually a relatively straightforward process. These days, most auto insurance companies allow drivers to file claims from an app on their phones. Accident victims should wait to file a third-party claim until after speaking with a lawyer who can help them obtain a fair settlement.
What’s Included in Settlements?
Once the responsible party’s insurance company reviews the accident victim’s claim, it will offer a settlement. More often than not, the initial amount of money offered in the benefits package will be very low. A lawyer can negotiate with the insurance company and ensure that the settlement covers 100% of both economic and non-economic damages, which can include:
- Current medical bills
Future medical bills
Property damage to vehicles
Property damage to belongings
Future lost wages
Future lost earning potential
Pain and suffering
Disfigurement, scarring, and disability
Loss of consortium
Loss of enjoyment of life
Not every accident victim will be able to claim all of these damages. A lawyer will be able to determine which of the situations described above applies and convey that information, along with the evidence required to support it, to the responsible party’s insurance company.
What If a Settlement Can’t Be Reached?
If even after negotiations, an insurance company refuses to offer a fair settlement that will cover 100% of the victim’s damages, it’s time to consider filing a lawsuit. Keep in mind that the statute of limitation for filing a personal injury lawsuit in Minnesota is just two years, so there’s no time to waste.
Schedule a Consultation Today
Been in an accident and want to learn more about the claims filing process? Don’t call an insurance agent. Schedule a consultation with a car accident attorney as soon as possible instead.