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Filing an Insurance Claim v. Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit

When automobile accidents and other accidents occur, the victim usually has the right to file some sort of claim. The person can either file an insurance claim or a personal injury claim. In some situations, victims cannot file both types of claims on the same incident. The following are some steps that a person can take specifically to file an automobile injury claim. Other injuries apply, as well, but the auto injuries are the most common.

Filing an Insurance Claim

Most drivers have an automobile insurance policy because the law states that they must have it. The automobile insurance policy is supposed to cover victims in case of bodily harm and injury. A standard vehicle insurance policy may offer $5,000 to $20,000 of funds to cover someone's injuries and losses.

An accident victim's first priority is getting himself or herself medical care. The individual will need to get care as quickly as possible. If the victim is able to take pictures or videos of the accident damage, that person can use it later. Having a police report created is a good idea, as well.

A person can start an insurance claim in one of two ways. The individual can call the number on the back of the insurance card, or the person can go to the insurance website and see if the company offers an online claim initiation process. The driver will have to supply information such as the insurance policy number, the license plate of the other vehicle, the location of the accident and some information about what happened.

Claims investigators will then examine the information that they have been given, and they will make a decision based on that. The company will pay for the repairs that the policy states it must pay. Sometimes insurance companies refuse to pay claims for a variety of reasons.

Filing a Personal Injury Claim

A personal injury claim is a little different than an insurance claim is. A personal injury claim must be handled by an attorney. A victim may be eligible for compensatory damages and punitive damages that surpass the amount that he or she would receive from an insurance claim. The compensatory damages consist of a total amount that covers the person's medical bills, medications, therapy sessions, lost work wages and more.

Punitive damages are additional funds that a victim may receive if an offender is extra neglectful. Extra neglectful means that the person did something that showed complete disregard for human life. Drunk driving is an example of something that may warrant a judgment for punitive damages.

A victim can initiate a meeting with a personal injury attorney by calling the office or completing a short form. The attorney will schedule an initial meeting during which the parties can speak to each other about the incident. The attorney will offer his or her services if the case is viable, meaning that the chances for reimbursement are high.

The victim will have to furnish evidence of injures and the expenses that resulted from the injuries. Additional evidence like pictures and videos can work well with for a person who has suffered a personal injury. Some law offices ask for retainer fees, and some of them offer contingency representation to accident victims. Contingency representation is representation that defers the retainer fees until the lawyer wins the case. It is also called no-win-no-fee representation. The attorney will first try to negotiate for an out-of-court settlement, but he or she will take it to court if the negotiation does not work.

Those are the basic steps for filing important claims. A victim can start there to get the compensation that he or she deserves.

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T.J. Smith, Attorney at Law
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Louisville, KY 40202


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