The 7 Stages of a Car Accident Claim

If you or a loved one is involved in a motor vehicle or car accident, it is unlikely you will be prepared for what is to come.  Here is a simple step by step guide showing what you can expect:

  1. Car Accident: Of course, the first step is the car accident.  If you are in a car accident, it is imperative that you get immediate medical treatment.  It is not unusual for people injured in a car accident to think they are fine immediately after the accident, because their adrenaline is high or they are worried about something else besides themselves.  They refuse medical treatment, either an ambulance or a trip to the emergency room, but then later on or even the next day, they are in severe pain, because they have been injured.
  2. Hire an Attorney: Ideally, if you have been injured in a car accident, you should hire a personal injury attorney right away.  Once you have hired an attorney, the attorney can help you with every aspect of the case.  The attorney will help you get your vehicle fixed, get a rental car, find appropriate medical providers, settle your claim, and file a lawsuit, if necessary.
  3. Get Medical Treatment: There are many doctors that do not handle injured victims of car accidents.  Your attorney can help you find doctors that will help you get back to being yourself and that will not charge you anything up front.  It is very important to get medical treatment as soon as possible.  The longer you wait to get medical treatment, the more likely the insurance company will be to claim you were not actually injured in the car accident.
  4. Make a Demand: Once your treatment is complete, your attorney will collect ALL of your medical records and medical bills, as well as any documentation for your lost wages or any future medical bills.  This will be prepared into a demand package and sent to the insurance company.
  5. Negotiations: After the demand package is sent to the insurance company, your attorney will attempt to negotiate a favorable settlement for you with the insurance company.  This can be a time consuming process with many offers, demands, counter offers, and counter demands.  An experienced personal injury attorney, can help you set reasonable and realistic goals for the negotiations and give you an idea of what similar cases are worth in your area.
  6. Settlement: Congratulations!  But, the case isn’t finished just yet.  At this point, you still have to pay your medical bills, your attorney, and any of the costs or expenses associated with the claim.  Your attorney should negotiate with your medical providers to make sure all of your medical bills are paid and get you the money you deserve.
  7. File Lawsuit: If the case does not settle, your attorney will then file a lawsuit.  Keep in mind, even though a lawsuit has been filed, this does not mean your case will necessarily go all the way to a jury trial.  It is common for settlement negotiations to continue between your attorney and the attorney for the insurance company during the lawsuit.

Once you hire an attorney after a car accident, it is the attorney’s job to assist you with all aspects of your case and car accident claim.  Having an attorney assist you with the case, allows you to focus on the most important task, getting better and getting back to normal, while your attorney deals with the time consuming demands of the insurance company.  If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident, call us today so we can take the pressure of having to deal with the insurance company off your shoulders and let you focus on getting better.

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