How to File a Claim After a Car Accident
Getting hurt in a car accident can have devastating financial repercussions. Thankfully, you may be entitled to compensation for some or all of the damages. In order to recover a payout, though, you’ll have to put together a strong claim.
While every case is unique, here are the general steps for filing a car accident claim:
1. Determine the Extent of the Damages
Since Florida operates under a “no fault” system, car accident victims must first seek compensation from their own carriers, regardless of whether they actually played a role in the wreck. As such, motorists in Florida are obligated to purchase at least $10,000 in personal injury protection, which covers a portion of their medical bills and lost wages in the event of a crash.
If you meet the state’s serious injury threshold, though, you may also file a third-party claim with the at-fault driver’s insurer for additional damages. To meet this threshold, you must prove that you suffered significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement, permanent injury, or the permanent loss of a bodily function.
2. Identify All Responsible Parties
If you meet the state’s serious injury threshold, you’ll have to identify all those liable for the collision in order to take action. This is where a resourceful legal team can help.
A seasoned car accident attorney will interview eyewitnesses, track down any available video footage, and review official reports. Depending on the circumstances, your lawyer may also file subpoenas for evidence that might otherwise be hard to obtain, like black box data and cell phone records.
3. Submit a Demand Letter
Once you’ve confirmed the extent of the damages and the party that is liable, you can send their insurer a demand letter. The claims adjuster will then conduct their own investigation to validate the evidence. If they agree that the policyholder was, in fact, responsible and that the situation is a covered event, they should be willing to offer a payout.
4. Commence Negotiations
It’s highly unlikely for a carrier to accept a claimant’s initial demand, so be prepared to negotiate. Thankfully, most car accident claims are settled at this stage because neither party wants to deal with the hassle of going to court.
Should the insurer dispute liability or refuse to offer a fair payout, though, filing a formal lawsuit may be the only way to pursue the compensation you deserve. Fortunately, your attorney can help you navigate the trial proceedings, as well, and advocate for your best interests every step of the way.
Call 772-266-5555 to Speak with a Car Accident Lawyer
If you were hurt in a car accident, contact Donaldson & Weston to determine the most strategic way to proceed. We’ve helped hundreds of clients in personal injury and wrongful death cases.
By letting us handle the logistics of your case, you can focus on more important matters, like making a full recovery. Call 772-266-5555 or fill out our Contact Form to schedule a free consultation with a car accident attorney in Stuart.