The entire process of submitting car accident claims incorporates two key elements, the settlement process and the value of your claim. Further there are two types of claims you seek, settlement for the injuries you have received or settlement for the damage done to your care.
The following article will revolve around your claim to be compensated for your injuries, also known as Personal Injury Claims
Car Accident Settlement Process
The process for you starts right at the time of accident, because you start gathering the information or ‘evidence’ that would be considered in settling the claim. Needless to say, this evidence should be preserved with great care until you submit your claim.
The evidence to be gathered should include:
- Facts about the cause of accident along with the supporting documentation
- Medical records of the injuries and subsequent treatment received
- Statement verifying the loss of income and other financial loss sustained due to the accident
- Evidence of pain, suffering and anguish you had to go through
The next step is to submit this information to the insurance company in a demand package to begin the multiple rounds of settlement negotiations. The final paperwork involves trading a release for a check. Basically, the insurance company compensates you for injuries and damages and in return, you give a release of your right to make any further injury claims as a result of your accident.
Settlement Value of your Car Accident Claim
Twelve states in the US have a “no-fault system” that applies to car accident injury settlements. What this means is that an injured driver is paid by her own insurance company for her medical bills and lost income, but she cannot be compensated for pain and suffering or make a claim against the driver who caused the accident. So, in these cases the claim value can be arrived it with ease and accuracy.
There are various ways of estimating the claim value for the remaining cases:
- Software Tools: Quite a few large insurance companies employ some sort of software package to estimate the claim value, for e.g. Colossus. All these tools have a short-coming though, they don’t consider a lot of key facts of the case, for e.g.: trauma that you went through
- Multiple of Specials: In a routine car accident case not involving serious or permanent damage, the claim value is derived by multiplying the medical bills and lost income by some constant factor. This factor depends upon other facts of the case such as the non-quantifiable trauma and suffering you went through
It is usually a good idea to get legal counsel before you file a claim. There are specific injury solicitors, to whom you can present all the details of your case. Most attorneys work on a "no win no fee" basis which basically takes your mind of the money problem. Even if you do not get the compensation you dream of, you will still be happy with the average settlement.