Bodily Injury Claims
When you get injured in a car accident, it's important that you take the appropriate steps to file a car insurance claim right away.
We'll review the types of car insurance you'll need, and what you'll need to submit to your auto insurance company to ensure a quick payout.
Car Insurance Coverage for Bodily Injury Claims
Car insurance companies provide bodily injury liability car insurance in order to provide drivers with compensation for injuries they sustain in an accident.
It's important to note that your liability insurance pays for the other driver's injuries when you are at fault. Conversely, if you are not at fault, their liability coverage will pay for your injuries.
When You'll File with Your Own Insurer
It's important to understand that, in some situations, you'll submit your claim to your own car insurance company.
You'll file with your own insurance company IF:
- You were at fault.
- You live in a no-fault state that requires personal injury protection as part of your liability insurance policy.
- Personal injury protection (or "PIP insurance") pays for your injuries, regardless of whether you were at fault.
- You were the passenger.
- If this is the case, check with each insurance company or your state’s insurance department about policies regarding filing with both your insurance company and the at-fault party’s insurance company.
What Information Do I Need for a Bodily Injury Claim?
When you file a personal injury claim, you must provide the insurance company’s claims adjuster with certain pieces of information.
During the time period between the auto accident and filing the claim, collect the following:
- The names and contact information of everyone involved.
- The insurance information for everyone involved.
- Accident-specific information, such as:
- Pictures of the vehicle and area surrounding the accident.
- Remember to get photos of any situations that contributed such as blocked street signs.
- The police report (if applicable).
- This helps the insurance company's investigation, specifically in determining liability.
- Medical bills and documentation from your medical care provider.
- Remember also to keep a diary of your pain and other symptoms.
- The costs of your initial hospital and other medical bills (think the ambulance ride and emergency room visit).
Your claims adjuster will ask numerous other questions during the process (see below); however, you'll want to have this kind of information ready when you initially file your claim.
Seeking Medical Attention
A lack of medical documentation will hurt your bodily claim; however, understand that just one visit to the emergency room probably won't help your claim much.
You should consider visiting your regular doctor (or a specialist to whom your emergency room doctor or physician refers you) after your initial emergency room visit.
Keep up with your appointments and treatment plans, and be prepared for the claims adjuster to request copies of your medical files related to the accident.
NOTE: Be prepared for the insurance company to request that you see a medical professional of its choosing. Whether or not this will be a request will depend on your car insurance company and the nature of your injuries.
Bodily Injury Claim Sample Questions
In addition to the above information, your claims adjuster will ask you questions, such as:
- What’s your physician’s name and contact information?
- Are you still under the care of a doctor?
- How many doctors have you seen?
- Have you seen any specialists?
- What were you treated for?
- Are you still being treated for that diagnosis?
- What kinds of treatments have you received?
- Do you have a history of pain or injury to that same body part?
- When was the last time you were treated for pain or an injury to that body part?
- Do you have any residual injuries or pain?
As you can see, some of the questions are pretty straightforward; however, others can get a bit tricky, and your claims adjuster can manipulate your answers if you aren’t careful.
It’s best to hire a personal injury attorney with experience handling bodily injury claims cases.
Remember, even if you’re nowhere near the point of determining whether to accept or dispute the settlement, having a personal injury attorney to help you navigate the process prevents you from getting to that point.
What If the Other Driver Doesn't Have Insurance?
If you're in an auto accident with a driver who doesn't have car insurance, or his limits are not sufficient to cover your injuries, you might be out of luck unless you have one of the following coverages:
- Uninsured motorist coverage: Pays for injuries when you were hit by a driver who's uninsured.
- Underinsured motorist coverage: Pays the difference when the other driver's liability insurance limits are too low to cover your expenses.
Ask your auto insurance agent about adding these coverages to your policy. They are relatively inexpensive and can save you thousands in the event of an accident.