Filing a Personal Injury Claim

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First and foremost, if you are hurt after a car accident , seek medical attention. You can worry about who's at fault and who's financially responsible for damages after medical personnel has examined and/or treated everyone involved.

Once your well-being has been secured, you can begin the process of determining whether you have a case for filing a personal injury claim.

Below, we've outlined some general steps to help get you started. Understand, these are general steps; your specific process might vary depending on factors specific to your situation, such as the severity of personal injury and whether the at-fault party has sufficient car insurance.

Collect Evidence

Once you've sought medical attention for immediate problems, begin collecting evidence at the crash site. This evidence will help you and your personal injury lawyer build the best case possible.

Evidence can include, but isn't limited to:

  • The other party's personal information, including:
    • Name.
    • Telephone number.
    • Address.
    • Car insurance policy information.
  • Photographs of the accident scene, including photos of:
    • Your vehicle.
    • The other party's vehicle.
    • Any surrounding factors that could have contributed to the accident.
    • Any visible injuries you sustained.
  • Information from the accident's witnesses, including:
    • Names.
    • Contact information.
    • Statements of what they saw.

You'll also want to collect and keep record of all medical-related evidence. Such evidence can include, but isn't necessarily limited to, formal documentation of your:

  • Injuries sustained during the car accident.
  • Medical records and files with all doctors and other specialists.
    • This will include information about doctor visits, including dates and times.
  • Prescription medication and other therapy treatments.
  • Information about any lost work time and wages due to your injuries, doctor appointments, etc.

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney

Simply put, a personal injury lawyer can navigate the filing process much more smoothly than what you can do by yourself.

Sure, you can contact your own insurance company and the insurance company of the party you believe to be at fault for the accident and your injuries, but keep in mind that these insurance companies have teams of highly trained lawyers on their sides—lawyers who can make sure their clients (the insurance companies) pay only the minimum amount required as written in the policy.

When you make an appointment with a personal injury lawyer, he or she mostly likely will need certain evidence items before filing your insurance claim. Such items will depend on your specific situation, but they can include the items listed above.

Understand that seeking help from a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible can help you determine exactly the kinds of medical evidence you should save and present for the best possible outcome.

Dealing with Car Insurance

Not only does each state have its own requirements for filing a car insurance claim, but each car insurance company has its own requirements, too.

It is important to understand how your car insurance company or the other driver's car insurance company is going to handle your claim.

Fortunately, a personal injury lawyer can help you navigate both the bold and the fine print of your car insurance policy, and advise you on how to move forward based on your policy's requirements—as well as handle all the contact between you and your agent.

You can learn more about your state's specific car insurance requirements in our section on Car Insurance.