I often get calls from people involved in car accidents, and they always want to understand the claims process better. There are certain steps you must take after your accident, and those steps are the same no matter what attorney you work with.
Car accident cases are often handled in their entirety before a lawsuit even has to be filed. Most of the time, your attorney will be able to reach a fair settlement by simply negotiating with the insurance company.
If you were involved in a car accident, you will typically go through these 5 stages of the claims process before your personal injury attorney files a lawsuit on your behalf:
Stage 1 – Information Gathering
This stage begins immediately after you hire an attorney and should take approximately 3 to 4 weeks.
- Gathering accident information
- Accident reports
- Insurance company statements
- Property damage
Stage 2 – Medical Treatment
- Receive immediate medical treatment
- Continue recommended medical treatment even if you feel better
- Never miss appointments
- Insurance companies increase or decrease value of your claim based on the length of time you are treated
Stage 3 – Release from Treatment
- Request all medical records
- Attorney will prepare them and send them to insurance company
- Can take up to 6 weeks
Stage 4 – Request for compensation
- Present your claim information to the insurance company
- Specific compensation is demanded for pain and suffering, lost wages, and medical expenses
- Can take up to 90 days
Stage 5 – Negotiation and Settlement
- Insurance company will make a compensation offer that is lower than requested.
- Agree upon a fair settlement
- Could take anywhere from a few days to a few months
Sometimes the negotiation process comes to a stand still. The attorney refuses to accept the offer made by the insurance company, and the insurance won’t increase their offer. At that point, your attorney will have a discussion with you about filing a lawsuit. While this is very rare, it does happen, and you should be prepared to go forward. However, know that you are, at any point, able to walk away from the claim.
If you or someone you love was involved in an accident, and you need to call me right away at 1 (800) 556-4769.
Author: Tim Misny | For over 33 years, personal injury lawyer Tim Misny has represented the injured victim in birth injury, medical malpractice, and catastrophic injury/wrongful death cases, serving “Cleveland, Akron/Canton, Columbus & Cincinnati, Ohio.” You can reach Tim by email at email@example.com or call at 1 (800) 556-4769.