All You Need To Know About Filing A Car Accident Claim
Author: Maha Amircani, Founder, Amircani Law, LLC
Maha represents clients in state and federal court litigation as well as administrative proceedings. Her practice specializes in the areas of personal injury, criminal defense, and real estate closings. Published on: August 24, 2021.
If you have been injured in a car accident, you may be wondering how to file a claim. This complete guide highlights all you need to know to get started.
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How To File A Car Accident Claim
If you have been injured in a car accident, you may be eligible to file an insurance claim for your damages. However, there is more to consider before filing a claim. So, how do you start the claim process? What should you know at the starting point?
Below is an overview of questions you should consider addressing.
Should You File An Accident Claim In The First Place?
Many drivers avoid filing a claim after an accident occurs due to certain beliefs that:
- What’s supposed to be deducted will surpass the total amount of damages claimed.
- The claims will lead to more costly insurance premiums.
- The claims could lead to their car insurance company dropping them as insured.
Results such as these are not simple to foretell as car accidents differ in many ways. Therefore, if you are uncertain whether filing an insurance claim is a good idea, you should consider contacting a car accident lawyer.
Where Should You File Car Accident Claims?
There are two options you might consider trying when filing insurance claims. Firstly, you can file the claims with either your own insurance company or the other driver’s insurance company. If you opt to file your claims with your auto insurance policy, you probably assume you were partly responsible for the accident.
If you file claims with another driver’s insurer, then you may think the other driver caused the accident. If you are confident that’s the case, then you don’t have to worry about paying a deductible fee or even worry about your car insurance company increasing your rates.
When filing your car insurance claim, the route you go is a decision that should not be taken lightly. Be sure to reach out to a legal professional before making a decision.
Suing The Other Driver In Court
In addition to filing a claim with your own or the other driver’s insurance company, you can also file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver in court. But, be careful when picking the court because if you don’t pick the correct court, your case can be thrown out.
The proper court is the one in the county where the other driver lived when you filed the lawsuit. Remember, he or she may he or she may have moved since the police report was filed. Personal injury lawyers can be of great assistance if you decide to pursue the lawsuit.
Georgia courts have to apply the modified comparative fault rule in vehicle collisions. That means your damages can be reduced or even eliminated if you are partly or mostly responsible for the crash. Your potential financial compensation will be reduced by the percentage share of your portion of fault. In addition, this can also come up in insurance negotiations when an insurance company tries to decrease a settlement offer.
Time Limit For Car Accident Claims
To improve your odds of recovering adequate damages from the other driver’s insurance company, it is a good idea to begin the claim process as soon as possible after the accident. Quick and timely action is critical when you factor in the legal time limit, which is known as the statute of limitations.
The statute of limitations for personal injuries and property damage usually ranges from one to ten years, depending on the state in which the accident took place. In Georgia, where our firm is located, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is two years from the date of the auto accident.
However, if someone died in the accident, and his or her family wants to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault driver, the deadline is also two years. But, the clock starts running on the date of the victim’s death, which doesn’t have to be the same as the date of the accident.
When filing most lawsuits for vehicle damage caused by a car accident, there is also a four-year time limit. But, bear in mind that the statute of limitations applies to lawsuits, not car insurance claims filed with an insurance company. Any insurance company will require you to make a claim or at least notify them of the car accident in a matter of days or a few weeks at most.
How Do Insurance Car Accident Claims Work?
After getting involved in an accident, filing a claim with either party’s car insurance is essential. Below is some key information to help understand how insurance car accident claims work.
A motor vehicle collision claim typically involves the following steps from the insurance companies or other parties, including the injured driver’s personal injury lawyer:
- Reviewing the police report
- Interviewing the parties involved and any witnesses available
- Inspecting your car for any damages
- Visiting the scene of the accident
What To Claim In A Car Accident
Generally, after an accident, the initial thing that comes to mind is whether to claim the expenses directly incurred due to an injury, such as medical expenses. However, you may also be entitled to claim lost wages that arise due to the traffic accident.
The following are a few types of damages you may be able to recover in the claims process:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Compensation for vehicle damage
- The vehicle recovery
- Loss of use of a vehicle
- Cost of the rental vehicle, if applicable
The car insurance company of the other driver may offer you a quick settlement for the medical expenses you have incurred. But, be careful. That may not be a good idea because some injury symptoms don’t appear for weeks after the crash. If you agree on a quick settlement and after that, you discover you may need more medical treatment, you can’t ask for additional compensation.
How Do You Start the Car Accident Claim Process?
Several steps are necessary to begin a car crash claim. It may include finding a car, truck, and motorcycle accident attorney to give you the needed help or legal advice. Below are a few steps to keep in mind during the car insurance claims process.
Gathering Important Information
After a car accident, it’s important to begin collecting evidence and any pertinent information regarding the accident. While at the accident scene, you should collect contact information from all parties involved and exchange insurance information with the other driver. It’s also a good idea to take photos of any car damage and physical injuries.
Be sure to contact the proper authorities while still on the accident scene. If you or anyone else is seriously injured, call 911 and request emergency services. Even if nobody is seriously injured, you should contact the police to ensure that an official accident report is filed. Once the police arrive, take note of the officer’s name and badge number. Georgia laws require that every vehicle accident that results in an injury or death of anyone involved or property damage of $500 and more should be reported to the local police department or the nearest police station.
Even if you feel okay, you should still seek medical care as soon as possible after the accident to make sure you do not have any hidden soft tissue injuries. Once you receive medical attention, be sure to retain a copy of all medical records or bills.
Reporting The Car Accident To Your Car Insurance Company
By the time you file a claim, it’s imperative to have all the information at hand or actively be in the process of gathering the needed information. Requesting a copy of the police report can assist with this.
Once you have received medical attention, it is crucial to report the car accident to your respective car insurance company as soon as possible per the car insurance company’s policies. Prompt reporting is helpful as it assists your insurance company in going about the investigations as quickly as possible.
Cooperating With Your Car Insurance Company
Immediately file the claim and provide all information regarding the incident. It’s the work of an insurance adjuster to carry out the investigation and handle your claim.
Your claims adjuster, also known as a claim representative, may request additional information from you for this process to be successful. When this happens, it’s advisable to make an effort to assist your insurance adjusters as it can contribute to the odds of your claim being paid out in whole. Just keep in mind that you should not admit anything to the other driver’s insurance company. If you are ever unsure of what to do, it’s wise to contact a car accident attorney.
How Do You Acquire A Car Crash Claim Form?
An insurance agent uses a claim form to examine the situation and conclude the total amount paid for the vehicle damage claims. However, there are processes you need to follow to complete an accident claim form successfully.
Below is a highlight of what you need to know:
- Get the necessary information needed immediately after the accident. To successfully file a claim, you may need to exchange information about the other driver’s insurance, vehicle identification numbers, license plates, vehicle registration, contact information, current address, or taking notes of what happened at the accident scene.
- Calling the police. A police report is crucial as the presence of authorities at the scene of the accident can often increase your chances of getting compensated.
Car Accident Claims Calculator
When it comes to working out a settlement for a car accident, whether it be property damage or a personal injury, the initial step is determining a reasonable amount of cash you will accept to resolve your legal claim. Most insurance companies and injury attorneys usually depend on one or two formulas to get the outset for settlement talks.
Medical payments or medical bills for necessary medical treatment are some of the things that are usually added to come up with an approximation of damages. However, numerous other damages may apply. The amount of additional compensation relies on a wide range of factors.
How Much Is My Accident Claim Worth?
Nobody wants to get injured in an accident. However, you may be entitled to compensation to ease some of the resulting burdens when it happens. The exact amount your claim is worth will largely depend on the nature of your injuries and the amount of income you have lost due to the accident.
Car accident cases require a lot of attention. If you have been injured in a car accident in the Atlanta area, there are certain factors you need to be aware of. To increase your chances of receiving maximum compensation for your injuries, consider finding a vehicle accident attorney to guide you through the process and help you obtain the justice and closure you deserve.