After suffering from an injury in an accident that someone else caused, you have the right to seek compensation from either the responsible party OR their insurance company, as long as they have an insurance policy that protects them against liability for the accident in question. However, simply determining whether or not you are able to file an insurance claim for your personal injury is the first step in a long, arduous, and oftentimes stressful process towards getting the money that you rightfully deserve for your injuries.
People often think that it makes the most sense to file a claim with the insurance company on their own, without hiring an attorney. The reality, though, is that the only person who benefits from filing a claim without a lawyer is the insurance company. Remember that an insurance company exists to protect their clients from financial liability, meaning that they must be experts in identifying and leveraging every possible way to reduce a claim amount. This often looks like an insurance representative going through your claim and identifying as many line items as possible to reduce, if only by a half a percent in some cases.
Working with a lawyer is the best way to make sure that you have the support it takes to push back on these ongoing attempts to limit your settlement. When you are focusing on recovering from a personal injury, the last thing you want to be doing is arguing with the insurance company—we suggest hiring lawyer Kenneth King to do that for you so you can take care of yourself.
Check the process as described in the article
The Claims Investigation
The first step is to file a claim with the insurance company, and the moment that the insurance company becomes aware of your injuries they will spring into action to investigate the entire situation. During this investigation, you will need to submit statements to the insurance company, provide documentation and evidence of your economic damages, and likely submit to an independent medical exam so that the insurance company can verify the injuries that you are claiming.
The reality of this investigation is that the insurance adjuster is looking for every possible reason to limit your settlement.
The Initial Offer
Once the insurance company concludes their investigation (and is confident in their justifications for paying you much less than you deserve), they will make an initial offer. If you have been working with a lawyer during this time to do your own calculations, you will be shocked at the difference between your amounts and theirs. At this point, many people are overwhelmed about their medical bills and simply accept the payment in hopes that they can move on with their life. But not when you have an attorney on your side!
When you are working with a personal injury lawyer, the initial offer is simply the start of a series of negotiations where they will attempt to find common ground with the insurance company and get you an out-of-court settlement that adequately compensates you for your damages. Insurance companies are often motivated to avoid court cases (as are personal injury lawyers) because of how costly and time-consuming they are, so you and your lawyer will likely negotiate for a lower amount than you may be entitled to in a lawsuit with these drawbacks in mind.
There will come a point in negotiations where you and your attorney will either decide to accept an offer, or to push forward and file an official complaint with the courts to initiate a lawsuit. At this point, you won’t need to be reading this article to figure out how the personal injury claims process goes, though, because you will have been working closely with an attorney for months. The decision to settle or file a suit takes many factors into account, all of which are extremely specific to your unique situation.