What Is The Process For Filing A Car Accident Claim?

If you are looking to recover compensation through a car accident claim, you are not alone. In 2022, according to the Insurance Information Institute, liability and physical damage claims totaled close to $243 million.

Often, the process of recovering compensation following a car accident involves more than simply submitting a claim to the other party’s insurance company and receiving a check or instant transfer for damages. It can involve a lengthy investigation and drawn-out negotiations between your car accident lawyer and the insurance company.

If a settlement agreement cannot be reached, you may need to file a lawsuit and go to court. By hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer at Judd Shaw Injury Law, you can give your car accident claim the best chance of resulting in a favorable outcome. Call us 24/7 at 866-909-6894 to schedule a free case evaluation. 

Contact Your Insurance Company After the Car Accident

Notify your insurance company of the car accident as soon as possible. Regardless of who you think is at fault, you must inform your insurance company of the incident. Many car insurance companies now offer apps that allow you to file a claim right from your smartphone.

Your insurance agent will likely request the following information:

  • The names, addresses, and phone numbers of the other drivers involved in the car accident
  • When and where the car accident occurred
  • The insurance policy information of the other drivers involved
  • Whether a police report was filed and, if so, by which law enforcement agency
  • A general description of the accident

Do Not Communicate With the At-Fault Driver’s Insurance Company Without a Lawyer

You may be surprised how quickly you are contacted by the other driver’s insurance company. They might respond especially fast when it is evident the policyholder violated traffic laws or, in some other way, was responsible for the car accident.

It is recommended to avoid speaking with the other party’s insurer without first consulting a car accident lawyer. Insurance companies are not typically looking out for your best interests. Even if you were severely injured in a crash, their goal is to get you to settle for as low of an amount as possible.

Insurance companies are notorious for tricking accident victims into somehow admitting the collision was their fault. They can misconstrue a simple “I’m sorry” into an admission of guilt. For this reason, it is best to let your car accident lawyer handle all communication with the other party’s insurance company on your behalf.

The Car Accident Investigation Process

After a claim has been filed, the insurance company conducts an investigation of the car accident. Your personal injury lawyer and legal team will also perform their own investigation into the incident.

Evidence reviewed when investigating a car accident claim includes:

  • Photos and videos taken at the accident scene
  • Video footage from dash cams or surveillance cameras in the area
  • Medical records
  • Eyewitness statements
  • Police reports
  • Testimony from accident reconstructionists, physicians, mechanical engineers, and other experts

The evidence collected during the investigation process will be used to determine fault. The more evidence you have proving the other party caused your car accident, the greater your chances of a fair settlement during the negotiation process.

Sending a Demand Letter

Your personal injury lawyer will send a demand letter to the insurance company to begin the process of settling your car accident claim.

The demand letter will include:

  • A description of how the other party caused the motor vehicle accident
  • Details of your injuries and damages sustained in the accident
  • A demand for a specific amount to settle your car accident claim

The Process of Negotiating a Car Accident Settlement

The insurance company would like you to believe that the initial settlement amount offered is a “take it or leave it” offer. This is not true. Rather, you have the right to decline the settlement offered and make a counteroffer.

Negotiation is usually the best way to receive compensation that is both fair and able to cover your car accident damages.

Most personal injury lawyers are skilled negotiators. They will tell the insurance company an amount higher than is truly acceptable, so there is room to negotiate down to the amount you need.

The majority of car accident claims are settled out of court through negotiating with the at-fault party and insurance company. If your car accident lawyer determines that the settlement amount reached with the insurer covers your damages, he or she may suggest that you accept the offer. You will then sign paperwork and be issued a check for your damages according to the agreed-upon amount.

However, if a fair settlement cannot be reached through negotiations, your car accident lawyer may suggest filing a lawsuit.

What Is Involved in a Car Accident Lawsuit

Your car accident attorney can offer legal advice to help you decide whether going to court is the right choice for you and your case. If you decide to proceed with filing a lawsuit, your lawyer will walk you through the next steps involved in your case.

The following are some of the steps involved in a car accident case.

Discovery phase

The discovery phase is the stage of a personal injury lawsuit where both sides collect and exchange information relevant to their cases. During the discovery process, both sides have the opportunity to build solid arguments, understand the other party’s claims, and, in some situations, reach an agreement without going to trial.

The following methods of discovery are commonly used in car accident cases:

  • Interrogatories: This allows one party to provide written questions to the other party, who must answer each question fully to the best of his or her knowledge under oath. Information requested could include an explanation of how the car accident occurred, insurance coverage information details, and insurance limits.
  • Requests for documents: This is a formal request to obtain relevant documents such as medical records and doctor’s notes, copies of medical bills, repair estimates, employment records, and more.
  • Depositions: A deposition is an interview where one party, under oath, answers questions posed by the opposing party’s lawyer. The deposition is either video recorded or transcribed by a court reporter.
  • Request for admissions: During this step, a series of allegations are presented to the other party, and they are asked to admit or deny each one. If a party admits to certain facts, this simplifies the issues to be addressed at trial.

After the discovery phase, both parties understand the strengths and weaknesses of their cases. They can use this information to continue settlement negotiations and hopefully settle the car accident case without needing to go to trial.

Trial and verdict

Most car accident cases will be settled before going to court. Settling a claim out of court is generally less expensive and less stressful for all parties involved.

However, if still unsettled after a certain amount of time, the case may go on to court, with each side presenting their arguments before a judge and jury.

After hearing each side of the case, the judge or jury will render a verdict, determining whether or not the other party is liable for your damages. If you win, you will likely be issued a check from the insurance company.

Get Help Filing Your Car Accident Claim Today

Recovering compensation after a car accident can be complicated and confusing. Our experienced car accident attorneys can provide legal guidance and representation through each step of settling your claim. We will diligently work to get you the money you deserve as quickly as possible.

The compassionate legal team at Judd Shaw Injury Law is committed to excellent client service. We know how difficult the aftermath of a car accident can be for victims and their families. Our lawyers are here to offer support through each step of the car accident claims process.

Our No Fee Guarantee® means that you pay nothing unless we get compensation for you. Experience the Judd Shaw Way by scheduling a free consultation with us. Contact our law firm at (866) 909-6894 or complete the contact form to set an appointment for us to visit you.