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Car Accident Injury Claim – Maximize Your Insurance Damage Claims
Car accidents happen every day, unfortunately some accidents that cause serious injury and cause major problems for those involved. This article will help you understand what is involved in car accident injury claims and how you can maximize your insurance claims.
What to Do After the Accident
It goes without saying that your first priority right after the accident is the safety of yourself and the others involved in the accident. Calling the relevant authorities is really the first step towards your claim and where the records of the crash begin. One everyone is safe and out of harm’s way you can get into contact with your insurance company and recount the events leading up to the accident. This is also a good time to take pictures of the incident and document what damage has been done to both your vehicles and any persons involved in the incident. Be sure to take several pictures from different angles as the more photo evidence you have the stronger you claim will be.
Your Insurance Company will send an assessor to look at the damage in person though the cars may have been moved from their original position after the incident perhaps to make way for traffic so photos and evidence from the traffic authority will be the most objective evidence for your claim. Your Insurance Company will keep note of this and other evidence gathered by authorities though it is always good to record these for yourself and supplement the information however you can.
From here your Insurer will advise on your options moving forward and some of the claims that you may be eligible for. If you already have legal representation then your insurer can sort out the matter with them directly.
What Damages Can You Claim For
A single accident can cause a very diverse range of damages, some car accident injury compensation claims are much more clear-cut than others including those involving a subsequent motorbike accident compensation claim. Below are some that would typically be covered when you claim auto accident insurance;
Any medical treatment that you require as a result of the accident can be recovered should your claim be successful. These include fees that are initially borne by you like expenses for doctor consultations, use of the emergency room and other hospital expenses. Other expenses incurred for your recovery and rehabilitation including chiropractor and physiotherapist fees and equipment that you may need during your recovery such as a wheelchair or medical brace can be recovered.
Provided you have good legal representation along with the doctors referrals you will be able to make some very specific medical claims. A Whiplash compensation claim is just one such example and this can occur even at very low speed incidents where there may not be an immediate injury at the time.
The initial consultation is generally exempt from the claim if its sole purpose is to estimate the potential cost of the entire treatment. The medical fees from a personal injury car accident provide a fair guide for the rest of your claim and indeed should your doctor or specialist deem ongoing treatment to be required then you can also claim against future medical expenses.
Losses to Income
If the accident was serious enough to keep you away from your job for a significant period then you will be able to add any reasonable losses to your claim. It is important that you are able to document this with something like a previous pay slip. Even if you did not have a job when the accident occurred you can still make a claim provided you had some proof that you could have earned something from working during that time e.g. through part-time or contract work that you should have been engaged in.
Reduced Earning Capacity
Claims can also be made against future earnings if the accident was serious enough to stop or hamper you from doing your previous job after the accident. For example if you are a Courier or Builder who can no longer walk properly your ability to complete your work will be altered significantly.
Damage To Your Car
The insurance company will typically repair or replace your vehicle depending on the extent of the damage caused in the accident. This is generally the most straightforward claim that you can make as there is already a predetermined auto insurance value for a car accident claim that is placed on your car and its parts.
Damage to Property
The cost of repairs to your property will be covered. Depending on the extent of the damage you may need to file an additional claim with your property insurer if you need extensive repairs or damage is done to a heritage property.
Pain and Mental Anguish
Claims for damages here are much less tangible and therefore can be slightly more complicated. Damages here may be granted for physical and emotional distress resulting directly from the accident and will be examined at the discretion of the presiding Jury and insurer. Things like victims suffering from subsequent anxiety disorders or living with disfiguration can be eligible for compensation. Additionally significant changes to your married life if you or your spouse is injured may also be entitled to damages. This is formally referred to as a loss of consortium.
How Your Claim is Calculated
No two accidents are the same and because of all the variables involved your insurance company will need to gather a lot of information that is relevant to each accident individually. The type and amount of damage along with the degree of fault will be the cornerstone of the car accident personal injury claim.
Typically the insurance assessor will begin with the concrete financial losses from your medical expenses and this is then set as a base amount for the rest of your claims. From there the other losses that don’t have a definite dollar value such as pain and mental anguish are determined using a formula that each insurance company has in place.
The next step the insurance company takes is to determine how serious the accident was and adjust the initial claim amount accordingly. If the injuries suffered are serious then the claim amount could be multiplied four or five times. In rare cases a claim may be multiplied to ten times the initial amount for a very serious injury. You can also find several personal injury claim calculators online for a rough estimate of your final claim amount.
After adjusting for losses in earnings during this time the insurer will have a solid figure from which to begin discussions with all parties involved.
Reductions To Your Claim
Depending on the circumstances surrounding the incident, your car accident compensation claim may in fact be reduced. These reductions most commonly stem from not abiding by the rules of the road. Things like failing to wear a seat belt or driving under the influence can significantly reduce the amount of compensation that you would have received.
The prevailing factor that the insurance company will look at when processing your claim will be the degree of fault in the accident. The driver may claim partial liability themselves or this may be determined by the assessor based on the evidence gathered at the scene and witness testimony.
Filing your Claim
If the accident that you were involved in is serious and quite complicated then it would be advisable to seek the help of a specialized accident attorney or solicitor as opposed to a generalist insurer or online personal injury claim. A dedicated legal professional will take much of the leg work out of the process and provided you keep a few simple things in mind they can help you get the most from your claim.
An experience solicitor or attorney will take the information from the incident and maximize the personal injury claims amount because it is also in their best interests to do so. Having said this there will be people quite eager for your business as there are a raft of accident management companies that have staff patrolling hospitals for such claims as they are commission based.
Using a reputable personal injury lawyer will usually lead to the issue being resolved with your insurance company faster and with a higher probability of receiving compensation. You could end up paying your legal representation up to 40% of your damages though most of the time you will stand a much better chance of being paid your entitled amount with them on your side. Should the accident happen while you are on the job then your commercial car insurance may be able to cover the entire cost of your legal fees.
Making a Successful Claim
The success of your car accident insurance claim will often depend on collating as much evidence and information as you can about the incident and finding the right legal representation. In order to determine the good from the bad representation you should make sure of the following;
- How much of the compensation amount will you be entitled to?
- What charges and fees are payable to your attorney/solicitor?
- Will the damages come solely from the insurance company or are you eligible for compensation from the party at fault?
- Are there any additional fees or charges to be paid once the claim is settled?
Don’t be afraid to compare solicitors against each other and seek as many different opinions as you are comfortable with. 3-4 different alternate representatives will give you a fair idea of what your maximum claim amount will be. In addition different doctors may provide alternate recommendations both for your diagnosis and treatment which could affect the pay-out.
To get the maximum claim amount from the insurer you will need to be thorough in terms of the evidence that you have gathered and your representation. Photographs and witness testimonials from the police will provide the most weight as will the proper medical reports. With these your attorney will be able to resolve the matter in your favour quickly leaving you to get back to living your life.