Accidents happen without warning. An unexpected injury can derail your entire life. You might be unable to work and receive expensive medical bills you can’t afford to pay. Although filing an insurance claim seems straightforward, multiple obstacles can delay or prevent you from recovering the compensation you need.
You should consider hiring a personal injury attorney after getting hurt in an accident, especially if someone else is at fault. Pursuing a settlement is complicated to do alone. You might make an error that negatively affects the outcome of your claim. Your lawyer can represent you and handle every aspect of the claims process.
Whether you hire a lawyer or file a claim yourself, you should know the steps you must take after an accident to protect your rights. Below is a detailed outline of the personal injury insurance claim process.
Seek Medical Care
Before you file an insurance claim, seeking treatment for your injury is essential. You should go to a hospital after leaving the accident scene so a doctor can examine you. Diagnosing your injury is crucial, even if it appears minor. Sometimes the shock of an accident masks the severity of an injury. You might not notice symptoms until days later.
Your doctor can evaluate your condition and determine the appropriate treatment plan. You must listen to their instructions and follow up with recommended specialists to heal your injury. Attend every appointment and maintain copies of your records during your ongoing case.
Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer
You’re not obligated to hire an attorney after an accident. However, it’s a good idea to seek legal representation. Pursuing a settlement from an insurance company is challenging. The insurance adjuster might seem friendly and accommodating, but their goal is to save money.
Insurance companies want to avoid a significant payout if possible. That means they’ll search for evidence to prove their policyholder isn’t liable for your injury. Your lawyer can protect your rights and fight for a settlement if the adjuster offers an unfair amount of money or denies your claim entirely.
Investigate the Cause of the Accident
Establishing liability after an accident is crucial. You must investigate to determine who is at fault, so you know who to hold liable for your injury. Your personal injury lawyer can conduct the investigation and gather evidence to prove your claim. The evidence they need will depend on the circumstances but might include:
- Police/incident reports
- Statements from experts, such as accident reconstruction specialists and medical providers
- Copies of your medical records and bills
- Lost wage reports
- Accident scene photos
- Eyewitness statements
- Video surveillance footage
File an Insurance Claim
Once you determine who is at fault and the available insurance coverage, you can file a claim. Filing a claim with the correct insurance carrier is vital. You will waste significant time collecting and submitting evidence if you file with the wrong insurance company. It will delay the entire process and prevent you from obtaining a financial recovery as quickly as may be.
Send a Demand Package
A demand package includes a letter outlining facts about the accident and evidence to support the claim. After completing treatment for your injury and gathering evidence, you must submit a demand package to the insurance company.
Negotiate a Settlement
The insurance adjuster will review your demand package and decide whether to accept your proposed settlement, make a counteroffer, or deny the claim. Negotiating an adequate settlement that covers your medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses can take time and determination.
File a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Insurance carriers don’t always settle claims. If they deny your claim or offer a settlement you’re unwilling to accept, the next step is to file a lawsuit.
However, you must comply with state law to pursue a lawsuit against another party. There is a statute of limitations to follow. In South Carolina, the statute of limitations allows a three-year timeframe to file a lawsuit. That means you have three years from the accident date to sue the negligent party. If three years have already passed, you will likely lose your right to pursue compensation in court, and you’ll have no inducement for the insurance company to pay your claim.
Get Help Filing Your Personal Injury Claim
You should never take on an insurance carrier without an experienced personal injury lawyer. The Yates Firm knows how to maximize the value of a claim and secure a full and fair settlement. Our legal team has years of experience representing injured clients in Myrtle Beach and is ready to fight for you.