When a person is injured in an accident, they have to deal with pain, multiple doctor’s appointments, medical expenses, and time missed away from work. It is very important to get compensation for injuries from an insurance company.
Unfortunately, you will not get an insurance settlement right away. A personal injury case can take anywhere from months to years. There are basic steps that you can follow to make the process of getting an insurance settlement go as quickly as possible.
When you have an accident, you should always call the police and wait for them to arrive. Take pictures if you can, and get the names and numbers of any witnesses who may have seen the accident. Exchange insurance and contact information with any other drivers involved in the crash.
Save the receipts from any prescription or non-prescription medicine that you take. Save a copy of every doctor bill that you receive and save bills from any alternative medication you have. Request a letter from your employer stating the number of hours that you have missed from work and the amount of money you have lost as a result.
Call Your Insurance Company
Insurance companies have a limited amount of time to make you an initial settlement offer once you have filed an insurance claim. When you make your initial phone call, the insurance company will have 15 days to acknowledge the claim. They will request that you send all the documentation you have collected to them.
The faster you get information to them, the faster they begin the investigation. An insurance adjuster will have 40 days to investigate the claim before accepting or denying it. If they accept your claim, they will offer you a settlement amount. Before you accept the settlement, you should always contact a personal injury lawyer to ensure that that amount is fair.
Why You Need A Lawyer
Insurance companies want to keep their money in-house. The first offer that they make you will almost always be too low. An attorney will have many years of experience in negotiating with insurance companies. They will be able to tell you if a settlement is fair or if you should get more money. They can negotiate with the insurance adjuster to get you a fair settlement.
The negotiation process can go on for a while. It is hard to say exactly how long it will take. If your attorney can reach a fair deal for you, the insurance company will have 30 days to send you your check in the mail.
If your attorney and the insurance company cannot reach a settlement, you will proceed with a lawsuit. A personal injury lawsuit can take a long time. Your attorney will file a lawsuit and have the insurance company served with papers. They will try to negotiate with the insurance company again. If an agreement still cannot be reached, the case will go into the discovery phase, in which the two attorneys share information with one another. They will then meet with a mediator who will attempt to help them negotiate a deal if mediation does not work. The personal injury case will then go to a deposition to interview witnesses just as they would in a trial. The lawyers will then attempt to negotiate a settlement again. If they still can’t reach a reasonable agreement, the personal injury case will go to trial.
It is very rare for a person to take an insurance company to court over a settlement. You should select an attorney who has plenty of experience in personal injury cases and knows the law in your state.
Insurance settlements take a while. However, if you collect your documentation and hire a good lawyer, you can get the money you need to move on with your life.
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