Have you been injured in a car accident? If you were not at fault, then you may be able to file an injury claim with the responsible party’s insurance company. That will make it possible for you to receive adequate compensation for your suffering and medical expenses. It can be stressful to deal with the insurance company right after the accident, however, and you may want to one of the best car accident attorneys in Joliet to handle things for you.
Before you or the attorney file an injury claim, though, you need to do the following:
Get medical treatment
After being in a car accident, seek immediate medical aid. You want a qualified doctor to give you a thorough check-up, diagnose your injuries, and provide the essential treatment. Along with safeguarding your health, it will ensure that you have a medical record of your accident injuries. You will have to submit this medical record when filing for the injury claim.
Collect evidence for your accident and its effects
You will need to record the exact time of the accident, how the accident happened, and where you were injured. If possible, take photos and videos of the accident site and the car of the responsible party, and get contact details of eyewitnesses for their statements. You can also obtain videos from street cameras to make it clear that you were not at fault. Get photographs of your injuries and maintain your medical records—doctor’s report, x-rays, medicine prescriptions, etc.
Additionally, you may want to supply proof of time missed from work, out of pocket expenses, mileage to and from the medical center, and income tax records if you are self-employed. You should also note how the accident affected other aspects of your life, such as making you miss special events, vacations, or other recreational activities. If you planned a vacation, for instance, and bought tickets, you should provide these as proof.
The process of filing an injury claim
• You must report your accident within 24 hours—to your insurance company for a first-party claim and to the responsible person’s insurance company for a third party claim. If you wait too long to report the accident, you might become ineligible for receiving compensation.
• You or one of the car accident attorneys in Joliet can file a first-party claim or a third-party claim. In case of a first-party claim, your policy will have personal injury protection coverage, and you can only sue the other party in case of serious injuries or death.
• The insurance company will assign a claims adjuster to investigate the case.
• You will have to provide the claims adjuster with a statement about the accident and the available evidence.
• You may have to undergo another medical examination by an independent doctor assigned by the insurance company.
The aftermath of filing an injury claim
• After investigating the accident, the insurance claims adjuster will calculate the total worth of your claim.
• Based on their recommendation, the insurance company will either issue a settlement check or deny your claim.
Filing an appeal
Since insurance companies generally try to deny or limit the number of insurance payouts they have to make, you will have your work cut out in getting the proper injury compensation. And that’s why you need one of the best car accident attorneys in Joliet to negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf and look out for your interests.
The attorney will caution you against signing a medical authorization form that gives the insurance company complete access to all your medical records, whether related to the accident or not. That could work against you if the insurance company picks on any pre-existing condition and uses that to blame the accident on you.
Furthermore, the attorney advises you against accepting the first settlement offer you get. It may be much lower than what you deserve. And, if you have sustained severe or debilitating injuries due to the accident, you need to consider the long-term implications of your life. You might require further medical treatment or therapy or become incapable of working. It is only fair that you receive adequate financial compensation for that.