Are you contending with an injury due to negligence? If so, you must familiarize yourself with the bodily injury claim process.
Key steps to take include seeking medical care, filing a police report, gathering evidence, finding an attorney, and filing an insurance claim.
An attorney can make the process easier by helping you find enough evidence for your case. Since there are differences between personal and bodily injury cases, they can also tell you what type of awards you can receive.
This article will highlight the bodily injury case process in greater detail. Let’s explore.
- Seek Medical Care
Seeking medical care is important because you could have underlying injuries. You may not feel these injuries until weeks or months later. Additionally, a doctor will document all injuries that you sustained.
Save all medical bills for your insurance case. A doctor can also write a medical report that connects your injuries to the accident.
Above all, medical reports and testimony are key pieces of evidence. You’ll need compelling evidence for the insurance process. The word of a medical professional is irrefutable.
Insurance reps could downplay the severity of your injuries if you failed to seek medical attention. Also, seeing a doctor tells the insurance company that you took the necessary steps to mitigate your injuries.
Without medical documentation, insurance companies and defense attorneys can discredit your claim. Without sufficient proof, insurance carriers could even deny your claim.
- File a Police Report
When an accident occurs, a police officer will arrive to document the scene. If you don’t need medical attention immediately, talk to the responding officer.
Give your account of events in full detail. Never admit fault at the scene when talking to an officer, even if you’re partially responsible.
The other side will use fault admission against you. Plus, admitting fault at the scene places your insurance carrier in a precarious position.
Get the name of the officer as well. From there, the officer will document the accident scene.
Further, review the police report when it’s filed. Police reports tend to have errors. Since insurance companies use police reports during the investigative process, errors could hurt your claim exponentially. If you find errors, call the department, and request a correction respectfully.
- Collecting Evidence
To win an insurance case or a civil lawsuit, you’ll need more compelling proof. You can gather evidence in the following ways:
- Finding witnesses: If possible, find anyone who may have witnessed the accident. Ask them if you can record the conversation. Witness testimony will be vital during insurance investigations or civil trials.
- Talking Photos and Videos: In particular, document all of your injuries via photo or video. Recording your daily struggles with the injuries can get you a higher settlement. Video documentation may also entitle you to pain-and-suffering damages if you file a lawsuit.
If applicable, you should also take photos of the auto accident scene. Take photos or videos of the car damage as well, including any other type of property damage. Taking these steps will help insurance investigators get a clearer picture of what happened.
- Find a Personal Injury Attorney
After gathering all evidence, you should find an attorney as early as possible. An attorney can help you organize all the evidence. Further, they can tell you if the evidence gathered will be enough to win your case.
Attorneys have additional resources that will help you find more evidence. In fact, attorneys can conduct independent investigations that will bolster your case.
Overall, look for an attorney with the following qualities:
- Experience: Find an attorney who specializes in personal injury claims. A general-practice attorney doesn’t have the necessary experience to win these types of cases.
- Winning Record: The attorney should have a proven track record of winning personal injury cases. More importantly, they should have experience winning cases that are similar to your circumstance.
- Positive Reputation: Read online reviews about the attorney. You may also know friends, neighbors, or family members who used the attorney previously.
Experience matters because you need an attorney who can settle a bodily injury claim.
- File an Insurance Claim
Before filing your claim, you must know the differences between bodily injury vs personal injury. Personal injury is an all-encompassing term that covers the emotional, mental, and physical damage from an accident. Personal injury usually falls under the realm of civil law.
Bodily injury specifically refers to physical injuries caused by the offending party. You’re more likely to hear the term bodily injury in criminal cases and insurance claims. If the other driver has bodily injury coverage, the insurance provider will compensate for various expenses that include medical injuries and attorney fees.
When it comes to the filing process, your attorney can send a notice to the insurance company of the offending party. Your lawyer can also handle all correspondence with the insurance company while you focus on healing yourself.
Before a case heads to trial, the insurance company may offer a settlement. All too often, insurance carriers offer lower payouts to victims.
That’s why you need an experienced lawyer to settle a bodily injury claim. They can convey if the settlement is an acceptable sum. If not, they will stress for a higher settlement. If the negotiations fail, your lawyer may recommend a civil lawsuit.
Key Takeaways from a Bodily Injury Claim Process
The bodily injury claim process will be difficult without physical evidence. Physical evidence can come in the form of medical bills, doctor’s reports, and injury photos/videos.
Eyewitnesses are crucial as well. An attorney can help you gather physical evidence and find eyewitnesses. They can even handle most of the insurance work.
Are you dealing with a personal injury? Read more on our blog to gain insight into other law topics.