Documenting Your Claim: Binder System
Staying organized is a large part of your claim’s success. You should setup a binder (or if you prefer you can setup a paperless claim management system all on your computer) with the following tabs:
- Police Report
- Medical Bills
- Medical Records
- Witness Statements
- Wage Information
- Property Damage
- Insurance Documents
You should put a cover Claim Master Sheet as the very first page in front of the first tab. This will be your cheat sheet for calling and contacting all the different people you need to prepare your claim.
Behind this sheet, and still in front of the first tab, you will put your Records Request Log (RRL). This is a spreadsheet/table where you will track all your requests for documents from various people. This document is the key to keeping your claim preparation moving forward. Requesting and getting documents from hospitals, doctors, body shops, etc requires you stay on top of your requests. You are depending on other people to send you information and must track your requests.
You will see below that we recommend you keep a “Clean Copy” of many documents and then make a “Work Copy.” The work copies are for you to highlight and markup. You want a clean set of records to send to the insurance company as part of your Demand Package. You do not want the adjuster seeing your notes and thoughts. Keep the Clean Copies off to the side in envelopes or some other container, while putting the Working Copies in your Claims Binder.
This section will contain all letters to/from any person or company, including letters from and to insurance companies and adjusters. Call Log Sheets should also be put in this section. The section should be organized with the most recent correspondence on top and the oldest at the back. Every time you add a new sheet, simply hole punch it and put it directly behind the Correspondence tab on top of all the existing documents. This way when you read through the correspondence materials, you have them in a rough chronological order.
2. Accident Report
This section will contain a working copy of the Police Report along with your notes about it. Print out the ClaimClinic Accident Facts Worksheet and put it in this section. Once you get your car accident police report, make a working copy to put in your binder and set aside the clean copy for your Demand Package later.
3. Medical Records
This section will contain a working copy of your medical records. Put the “Clean Copy” off to the side and a working copy in the binder behind this tab. Like everything else, order the sets of records with the oldest in the back and the most recent on top. You may want to put sub-dividers behind this tab so you can quickly move across sets of medical records. For example, you could use lettered tabs A – C for A) Emergency Room, B) Family Doctor, and C) Physical Therapist. You may need to quickly get to a certain medical providers set of documents when you are negotiating with the adjuster later on.
4. Medical Bills
Put copies of all your medical bills behind this tab. Like Correspondence, you should try to put the bills in chronological order by their dates of service – the dates you received the treatment. Put the oldest bill in the back and the put the newer bills on top, with the most recent bill being on top. On top of the stack of medical bills, you should have a Medical Expenses Worksheet itemizing all your bills. The billing itemization sheet should be updated any time you receive a new bill or explanation of benefits from your health insurer. This gives you a current view of what your total medical bills are. This chore is absolutely essential if you live in a No-Fault State because you need to know how close you are to getting out from under the No-Fault System so you can receive pain and suffering damages.
This is where you will put a copy of any witness statements you obtain. If you interviewed any witnesses, your interview notes will be here as well. As with other documents, make a working copy to put in your binder and set aside a clean copy to later go out with your Demand Package.
Put your accident scene and car photographs here. If you have a color printer, you can print out your digital photographs and hole punch them. If you have real pictures, buy a 3 hole pocket or sleeve from your local office supply store or Walmart/Target and keep your photographs in it.
7. Wages & Work
Put your completed Wage Verification Form here.
8. Property Damage
Put a copy of the estimates and invoices for repairing your car. Make sure you have all the supplementals, too. Again, a working copy in your binder and clean copy of to the side.
Behind this tab you will put a copy of the other person’s insurance Declaration Page if you can get it in your State. You should also put a copy of your auto insurance Declaration Page here as well.
Put any documents that don’t belong anywhere else here. You will keep your Pain & Suffering Journal in here. You will also keep your Travel/Mileage Log here as well.