How to File a Bodily Injury Claim After a Car Accident?
Nearly 4.4 million people in the United States are injured in car accidents each year, requiring medical attention. If you were harmed in a car accident, you are most likely dealing with medical bills and lost wages. If you file a bodily injury claim against the at-fault party or the insurance company, you may be able to recover both of these expenses. However, in order to reach a settlement, you must follow a set of particular actions. If you are considering filing a bodily injury claim, here is a list of things to help you get started.
1. Seek professional advice
It is always a good idea to hire an attorney, particularly in cases where you have suffered serious injuries and you feel overwhelmed by all the expenses and have no idea how to pursue legal action to be adequately compensated. Most personal injury lawyers will gladly review your case to help you understand your options. They will walk you through each step, making the procedure much easier. It should be one of your top priorities to have someone represent you, assist you in making the best decisions, and negotiate a settlement.
2. Gather all documentation necessary
Before filing a claim you have to make sure you have all the documents that support your demands. Obtaining medical reports will serve as evidence of all the injuries that you sustained as consequence of the accident. Medical bills, test orders and prescriptions will also be proof of the expenses that you need to be compensated for. If you are requesting to be reimbursed for lost wages you will need a letter from your employer or copies of your pay stubs to know exactly the amount of money you lost in the time you were unable to work.
3. File your claim
Once you have all the documentation necessary and evidence, it is time to file a claim. Depending on the state you live in, you may have to make a claim with your insurance company or the other driver’s. In no-fault jurisdictions such as New York, for example, you must file a bodily injury claim with your own insurance provider. If you live in another state, your attorney can help you learn more about your state’s rules and regulations so you can submit a claim with the appropriate institution. An adjuster from each insurance company will contact you, and this individual will be in charge of reviewing your case. Normally, the adjuster will ask you to provide a detailed description of the accident. Be cautious, and ask your lawyer to assist you in elaborating this statement so you don’t make any mistakes. They will also want evidence such as images of the accident, damages, injuries, and all documentation regarding medical expenses and lost wages.
4. Evaluate the offer
The adjuster and the insurance company will approach you with a settlement offer after they have examined all of the specifics and evidence of your accident and claim. It is critical to thoroughly review the offer with your attorney, ensuring that the compensation covers all expenses incurred as a result of the accident. Keep in mind that if you need to continue receiving treatment as a result of your injuries in the future, the insurance company will have to pay for it as well. You can accept the offer if you and your lawyer find it satisfactory. However, by doing so, you are also committing to stop pursuing additional compensation, meaning that you should only sign the settlement if you are certain it is reasonable. If, on the other hand, the offer is not what you expected, you must seek clarification from the insurance company. You can continue negotiating with the insurance company to reach a satisfactory settlement, but if the offers are not sufficient to cover all your expenses, then you should discuss with your lawyer about other legal options.
When Is It Possible to File a Bodily Injury Claim in New York?
If you have been injured in an accident in the state of New York, you can submit a bodily injury claim, regardless of who was at fault. As previously stated, New York is a no-fault state, which means you must file a claim with your insurance provider. According to New York State law, every driver must have No-Fault insurance or also known as Personal Injury Protection (PIP). The lowest amount of coverage you may buy is $50,000, and the amount you purchase determines how much money you can get from a PIP claim. If your insurance does not cover all of the costs associated with the accident, or if you were seriously injured, you can file a lawsuit against the at-fault person.
How Long Will It Take For Your Bodily Injury Case To Be Resolved?
Most claims get resolved in six months to a year, depending on the complexity of the case and the injuries the plaintiff sustained. There are cases that might take more time to settle, this normally happens for these reasons.
- When a claim is for a large sum of money, the insurance company will investigate every detail of the incident in order to reach a settlement, which can take a long time. Once the insurance company has determined that they cannot prove your injuries are not as significant as you claim, that all medical bills are justified, and that all proof presented shows your trustworthiness, they will give up.
- If your treating physicians are unable to confirm that all of your injuries and medical expenses were caused by the accident and not by a pre-existing condition.
- The insurance company is attempting to push you to accept a minimal settlement by delaying all procedures. If the adjuster does not perceive your commitment to fight for a fair settlement, they may not boost the offer significantly since they expect you to accept a lower offer.
In New York, How Much Bodily Injury Coverage Do I Require?
In most states, drivers are required to obtain a minimum amount of bodily injury coverage; however, this sum varies by state. New York is no exception; all cars registered with the NY Department of Motor Vehicles must have a minimum of $25,000 in bodily injury coverage.
Bodily Injury vs. Personal Injury Car Insurance: What’s The Difference?
Personal injury protection pays for all of the policyholder’s medical expenditures, whereas bodily injury insurance pays for other people’s medical bills when the policyholder is at fault. Another distinction is that, while bodily injury insurance is needed in practically every state, personal injury protection is only required in a few states, such as New York.
Contact a personal injury lawyer
Please do not hesitate to call Greenberg & Stein P.C. if you require expert assistance. Our personal injury attorneys have extensive knowledge of New York State regulations and vast experience handling a wide range of personal injury claims. Call 212-969-8770 to schedule a free case analysis with one of our attorneys.