Making a Case: How to File a Car Accident Injury Claim

car accident injury claim

Car accidents are expensive. When there are no injuries present, the average cost is $4,700, but once people are injured, the average costs skyrocket to nearly $30,000. These expenses include medical care, lost wages, and property damage. 

If the at-fault driver’s insurance company denies your claim, offers you a lowball settlement amount, or they are uninsured, you’re going to be facing mounting costs due to an accident that was not your fault. In this situation, you should consider filing a car accident injury claim. 

Read on to learn more about this type of claim, the types of damages you can request, and how you can go about doing this. 

Call the Police

If you plan to file a personal injury claim, you will need to call the police and get a police report. Many states require you to call the police if there is any property damage already. 

Call the police if there is any property damage or if there are injuries. The police will be able to gather information, speak to witnesses, and document the accident.

They will then complete a police report that you can obtain from them, which your insurance company will want. This is essentially your proof of the accident and who was involved. 

Seek Medical Attention 

When you call the police, the dispatcher will often send first responders as well. If you decline medical attention from them at the scene of the accident, you should still seek medical care on your own. You may not think you are injured, but adrenaline can mask the pain from injuries or you could be suffering from an internal injury you are unaware of. 

Some common car accident injuries don’t emerge until hours or even days later, so don’t forego medical care. If you’re going to file any sort of accident claim, you’ll also need to show your medical records and prove that you received medical care.

Document Everything 

While you are waiting for the police and first responders to arrive, take photos and video of the accident scene if it is safe to do so.

If your injuries are minor or you have a passenger who is able to, use a smartphone to take photos of the scene, damaged vehicles, and damaged property. Take photos both close up and of the entire scene. Taking a video is also smart. 

You should also document any relevant details, such as the specific time of the accident, the weather conditions, any damage to the road, the direction you were traveling, the direction the other car or cars were traveling, and any other detail you can remember. 

If there are witnesses, gather their names and contact information. Don’t assume that it will be in the police report, so make sure you have it yourself. If you ultimately end up hiring an attorney, they are going to want all of this information. 

It’s better to make note of all the details as soon as possible, so you don’t forget anything. 

Don’t Sign Anything or Agree to Anything

It’s possible that the insurance company of the at-fault driver will contact you right away to offer you a settlement amount. Their main goal is to get you to settle as quickly as possible and for as little money as possible. 

Resist the temptation to sign a settlement agreement that they offer you shortly after the accident. This settlement is likely much less than your case is worth, and if you agree to a settlement, you can’t go back and change your mind later. You give up your right for any future claims if you accept a settlement.

Hire a Personal Injury Attorney 

You don’t have to hire an attorney to make a personal injury claim, but you would be unwise to try to navigate the legal process on your own. Personal injury cases can get complicated and an experienced attorney will be able to help you build your case and understand the types of damages available. 

They will also help you value your case, as it is likely that you are underestimating the amount of compensation that would adequately cover your current and future medical care, lost wages, and other expenses related to the accident. 

Types of Damages You Can Request

When you file a personal injury claim, you’re filing a civil lawsuit. If you can’t settle with the insurance company, you may choose to take the case to trial, where a jury will decide if the defendant is responsible for the accident and whether they owe you (the plaintiff) any damages. 

These damages could include: 

  • Medical care
  • Future rehabilitation 
  • Medical equipment that is needed as a result of your injuries
  • Lost wages due to missed work 
  • Loss of future salary, especially if your injuries are long-term or even permanent
  • Pain and suffering (available in some states)

Keeping organized documentation will help ensure that you have receipts for any out-of-pocket expenses you incur as a result of the accident and can accurately value your case.

Contact Us for Your Car Accident Injury Claim

If you’ve been injured in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, make sure you get the compensation you deserve. You should not have to suffer financially due to the actions or negligence of another driver. If you are ready to make a car accident injury claim, contact a personal injury law firm, like Sweet Law, to get started. 

Our firm specializes in car accident cases and our attorneys are available via phone, text, or email for free case consultations. 

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