Filing and Negotiating an Injury Claim

It is possible to deal with your own personal injury claim without the assistance of an attorney. However, it is important to know what to do at each stage to give yourself the best chance of achieving a fair settlement. The most important first step is to consult a doctor: until you've done this, you can't prove you're injured and in most cases the insurance adjuster will want proof that you have suffered an injury.

Speak To Your Insurers

Then, contact your own insurers to inform them about the accident and explain that you have already seen a doctor. This is vital because in the vast majority of states it will be your insurers who pay for your medical bills until such time as a settlement can be reached. Your insurers will send you two forms: medical authorization and wage information that you must fill in and send back to them without delay. Some forms ask for a lot of information, e.g. full medical and employment histories. If you have concerns about providing so much information contact your insurers and ask them to accept lesser information. For example, medical information relating only to the part of you that has been injured, such as your neck, back, hand etc.

Medical Issues

In terms of treatment of your injury, it is important that you do as your doctor says. Often, the pain from accidents does not materialize for some time, and you may not experience the effects of, for example, whiplash until a few days after the accident occurred. Ask your doctor to refer you to a specialist such as a therapist, chiropractor, etc. If you do not, the insurers may not consider that the injury from which you profess to suffer is real. Similarly, once you have been referred for specialist treatment you should ensure that you attend your appointments for treatment. Failure to do so will extend your recovery time, and may create further difficulties when you are trying to ‘prove' the extent of your injuries.

Don't be afraid to report back to your specialist or doctor about whether or not the treatment you are receiving is working or not. If it is not, seek other treatment. Some disingenuous doctors may try to keep you as a patient for longer than is necessary so once you feel better, tell them. It can also be very helpful to keep a journal after the accident to show the effect of the injury on your life, as this is a good negotiating tool when it comes to calculating the amount of general damages you should receive.

Receipts and Expenses

Although it might seem obvious, make sure you keep records of the money you have spent as a result of your injury as well as receipts for medical treatment, and any time you had to take off work (lost wages.)

Making the Claim

Submit your claim to the insurer of the person at fault in the accident. If you are required to send copies of documentation to them, ensure you retain at least one copy for yourself. Often the insurer will revert with a settlement figure, and you may feel as though you are expected to accept that at first instance. However, insurers always have room for maneuver this is the time to negotiate!

Using An Attorney

Although the vast majority of claims are settled prior to getting to trial, there may be situations in which it is necessary to go to trial. In these cases, it is espescially important to hire a personal injury lawyer. If you are having problems with the insurance adjuster speak to an attorney about your personal injury claim today.

Talk to a Personal Injury Lawyer

Need a lawyer? Start here.

How it Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you
Make the Most of Your Claim

Get the compensation you deserve.

We've helped 285 clients find attorneys today.

How It Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you