Imagine yourself driving home anticipating the sumptuous dinner your wife prepared for you when all of a sudden, a deer jumped in the middle of the street. You braked but were driving too fast. Your car turned turtle at the side of the road.
Let us hope this will just be an imagination but if something similar happens, it is necessary to know what to do.
Car accidents meant expenses, not only for damages to the vehicle but more so, if injuries are sustained. Having personal injury coverage will somehow give you some relief, knowing that much of the costs involved will be shouldered by insurance.
However, before you recover any of your expenditures, you need to first file a claim. In a situation where no other vehicle is involved like the given example, you only have your own insurer to deal with. The following tips on filing an accident claim with your own insurer will guide you on the steps to take.
Tip#1: Prepare a Demand Letter Addressed to Your Insurer
One of the first things you need to do to file a claim is prepare a demand letter to your insurer. The letter must clearly explain why you should get the full coverage of the car accident claim. It should be written in a brief, concise and direct to the point manner.
The most important information that should be in your demand letter includes the following:
- A statement that shows liability, i.e., who is liable in the accident;;
- A list of all related expenses incurred, e.g., repairs, medical bills, mileage for related travels, out-of-pocket expenses, etc.;;
- Detailed information of injuries obtained;
- Amount demanded to settle the claim.;
It is important that all statements made in the letter are supported by complete documentation and proofs, such as, photos, medical bills, repair receipts, police report, and all other pertinent evidences.
Tip#2: Discuss with Your Insurer How the Accident Affects Your Policies
The authorized individual who will most likely be assigned to handle your personal injury claim is the claims adjuster. He is tasked to acquire all relevant information from you about the accident to determine how much the claim will be worth.
While it is necessary that you be truthful about your answers to him, you also need to be wary about your choice of words since the adjuster works for the insurance company and will therefore try to reduce the payout as much as possible.
Some of the information he will surely ask from you while recording the conversation is the following:
- Details surrounding the accident;
- Damages your car incurred;
- Injuries you sustained from the accident, etc.
Always be prepared with all the supporting documents to back your statements. Copies may be required by the adjuster.
Tip#3: Take Note of the Statute of Limitations
In America, filing a personal injury claim has statutes of limitations (SOL) that differ from state to state. This is a law that dictates the period of time by which a claim or a lawsuit may be made. Most of the time, the SOL begins the moment the injury is discovered.
For instance, in cases where no visible injury was sustained from a car accident, but 3 months later, severe back pains relating to the crash are experienced, the SOL starts at the time the injury was noticed.
Tip#4: Get Assistance from a Personal Injury Attorney
Preparing all the required and correct documents, as well as writing the demand letter, could be a daunting task, particularly for someone who just went through an accident. It is always wise to get assistance from a personal injury attorney to do all the work for you.
This will even give your insurer the feeling that you mean business and that they have to facilitate your claim appropriately.