Have you been involved in a car accident? Have you suffered property damage or were you injured or both? You could file an insurance claim to acquire financial compensation for your losses. In some cases, the claims process can be simple. Every insurance company handles insurance claims differently but the process could go something like this:

Car insurance application form with glasses and ballpoint pen.
  • Claim is filed by the injured person
  • Investigation is opened by insurance company
  • A demand letter is written by injured person
  • A decision is made by the insurance company
  • A settlement may be negotiated by the injured person and the insurance company
  • The settlement offer is either rejected or accepted by the injured person

Before You File An Insurance Claim

If you were injured in a car accident, first seek out help, whether that is 911, at a hospital or calling your doctor. You then should call your lawyer. They will notify you of things to say and no to say to your insurance company. Your insurance company’s job is to pay out the least amount possible so it is important for you to be cautious of what you say to them. Then, call your insurance company or the insurance company of the at-fault party, let them know you were involved in car accident. These calls should take place as quickly as possible. Seeking help with your injuries is important for you health, but it is even important for the claims process. It is important to reach out to the insurance company so they can start investigating your claim. Some insurance companies call for claims to be filed within 24-48 hours of the accident. Also, please make sure you retrieve the insurance company information from the at-fault party.

Be Honest When Filing Your Insurance Claim

You should be honest with the insurance company when you file the claim. You should be honest about your injuries and about what happened in the accident. There can be legal consequences and your chances of having a fair settlement can be disturbed if you make any misrepresentations to your insurance company. As soon as the insurance company knows of your accident, you will be givin a claim number that will be given to a claims adjuster. Then, the claims adjuster will contact you and open a claim to start the investigation.

How is your claim investigated by the insurance company?

The claims adjuster is going to confirm the accident was caused by the insured. Not only does the claims adjuster to confirm the accident was caused by the insured, but also proof the insured driver was negligent and your injuries are severe enough to qualify for a settlement. The facts of your case will be examined. The investigation may include:

  • Review of bills and medical records
  • Witnesses, including you, could be interviewed
  • Police reports may be reviewed
  • Photo evidence may be reviewed
  • Your car could be examined to see the damage and estimate costs for repair
  • Insurance inspector could return to the place of the accident to take pictures or videos

Why discuss your insurance claim with a lawyer:

Speaking to a lawyer will be helpful before talking with the insurance company. While it is very evident you need to be honest, the success of your settlement may depend on how well you prove fault and the evidence you have about your injuries. When you speak to the claims adjuster, it is important to be prepared and very organized.

It is also very important to NOT talk to the insurance adjuster of the party who was at fault before you have talked with a lawyer. They are very skilled and trained at what they do to pay out the least amount possible.

Below are the things you need to convince the insurance adjuster:

  • Your injuries are real and will require regular medical visits
  • Cost of your injuries has been or will be substantial
  • The negligence of the other driver was the cause of the accident and injuries
  • Proof of expenses treating your injuries
  • Unable to work? Were your injuries serious enough for you not to work
  • Pain and suffering? Proof that you were and are experiencing pain and suffering

The Demand Letter

There is a letter you can write to the insurance company called the Demand Letter. The demand letter discusses the points about in more detail. This demand letter can be used for evaluating your claim.

What is in your demand letter

Your demand letter will be proving the above points. The facts of the accident and how much you think you are entitled to will be in the demand letter. The claims adjuster will refer to this letter during the investigation to come up with your settlement offer.

When do you send the demand letter?

Towards the end of your treatments. Why? Your demand letter should include all of your financial claims. You do not want to send the demand letter and then find out more expenses after you already sent it. The demand letter could be used against you if it is not correct or leaves out information or financial stress. This is why it is important to discuss your case with a lawyer before sending the demand letter. After the letter is sent, the investigation is almost over. The decision could go either way, you could be denied, and they could pay you nothing or they could possibly pay you the full amount of your claim. The best way to get the full amount you are claiming is to discuss your case with Smith & Vanture. We want to get you the full amount possible and not have you be responsible for the financial stress going forward. Most the time, the settlement offer is somewhere in between nothing and how much is in your demand letter, this is where negotiating comes in.

Negotiating your settlement

You can start the negotiation once you receive the decision from your claims adjuster. Do you think you will be able to convince the adjuster you deserve more money than what they are offering? This will depend on your argument, the evidence and your injuries.

Your Choice to Reject or Accept the Offer

Deciding to accept or reject the offer, can be difficult. Do you know if the settlement is fair? That is why it is important you discuss your case with Smith & Vanture. We are very experience with these cases and know if the settlement you are being offered is fair. If you believe the offer is fair, you may accept the offer. If you do not accept the offer and do not think it is fair, that is when you definitely need to consult with a lawyer to file a personal injury lawsuit.

Contact Smith & Vanture

If you have any questions regarding your personal injury claim, please call Smith & Vanture. We will walk you through the steps of the insurance claim and everything you should expect so there are no surprises. 

Seek immediate counsel from an experienced personal injury lawyer in West Palm Beach. The insurance company representative will likely tell you that you do not need a lawyer. The fact that they say that means that you do. Our firm will provide a free initial consultation where we will go over all of the important deadlines that you need to meet and make sure that all possible sources of recovery are investigated.

If you, a family member of friend has been injured in an accident, you can contact our office at (561) 684-6330, toll free at (800) 443-4529 or fill out our Contact Form.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this website is provided as general information only and should not be construed as legal advice on any matter of personal injury or wrongful death. Content is provided “as is” and does not seek to nor does it establish an attorney-client relationship with Smith & Vanture.