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Claims Process Overview

The claims process is relatively straight forward in the majority of car accident and personal injury claims. You will almost always be dealing with an adjuster from the insurance company. They are just like you. They are not attorneys. The only thing they know, which you will also know with the help of ClaimClinic, is how to document and evaluate personal injury claims. The process usually takes the following path:

  1. Notify insurance company of your claim.
  2. Document/investigate your claim.
  3. Submit Demand package.
  4. Negotiate.
  5. Finalize settlement.

Your Injury Claim Is A Financial Transaction

Your personal injury claim has put you in the middle of many businesses that are all about money. There is the insurance company, who wants to pay you as little as possible so that it can increase its profits. There are the hospitals and doctors, who see a car accident or personal injury claim and think they can run up bills that insurance companies will pay on your behalf. There are the body shops repairing vehicles, which walk the fine line of keeping you happy but also keeping the insurance company who pays their bill happy so they get more business. Finally, there are the personal injury lawyers, who take anywhere from a 1/3rd to 40% of your settlement. You are here because you have figured out that you can handle your own claim.

For you, your claim is personal. For everyone else, it is just a financial transaction.  Sometimes this results in frustration. Adjusters and others can talk and act in a cold manner when dealing with claims. Just remind yourself of this anytime you are frustrated by someone’s seeming lack of apathy.

What’s a Personal Injury Claim?

A personal injury claim is really a “negligence” claim. For another person or company to be liable for your injuries, you must prove they were negligent by showing the following 4 things:

  1. Duty – a person’s obligation not to harm you. A driver owes you a certain “standard of care,” such as maintaining a proper lookout, keeping enough distance between cars, and following the rules of the road. A good place to look for all the rules the other driver may have broken is your state’s driver’s manual.
  2. Breach – did someone fail to do their duty? In other words, did the other driver break one of the rules?
  3. Causation – did the other person’s failure to follow the rules cause you injuries? Typically, this will be a question of whether the force and manner of impact caused the injuries you are claiming. Sometimes insurance companies will admit their driver caused the accident but deny the accident caused you injury.
  4. Damages – the various types of money and compensation you are entitled to.  There are multiple categories and you need to ask for everything. An adjuster is not going to offer you money voluntarily. ClaimClinic has an entire module on personal injury damages so that you understand, demand, and receive all types of damages.

When to Stop Handling Your Accident Claim

You need to mindful of when your State’s statute of limitations runs. A statute of limitation is the time period in which you have to file a lawsuit. If you miss the deadline, you are forever precluded from recovering in a personal injury lawsuit barring the small chance you are subject to some tiny exception.

You should give yourself at least 3 months before the statute of limitations date in your State to quit handling your own claim and retain a lawyer. This leaves you enough time to locate and interview personal injury attorneys. It also leaves your attorney with enough time to properly review your personal injury case and prepare the filings.

Personal Injury Statutes of Limitations by State
Alabama 2 Years
Alaska 2 Years
Arizona 2 Years
Arkansas 3 Years
California 2 Years
Colorado 2 Years
Connecticut 3 Years
Delaware 3 Years
District of Columbia 3 Years
Florida 4 Years
Georgia 2 Years
Hawaii 2 Years
Idaho 2 Years
Illinois 2 Years
Indiana 2 Years
Iowa 2 Years
Kansas 2 Years
Kentucky 1 year
Louisiana 1 year
Maine 6 Years
Maryland 3 Years
Massachusetts 3 Years
Michigan 3 Years
Minnesota 3 Years
Mississippi 3 Years
Missouri 5 Years
Montana 3 Years
Nebraska 4 Years
Nevada 2 Years
New Hampshire 3 Years
New Jersey 2 Years
New Mexico 3 Years
New York 3 Years
North Carolina 3 Years
North Dakota 6 Years
Ohio 2 Years
Oklahoma 2 Years
Oregon 10 Years
Pennsylvania 2 Years
Rhode Island 3 Years
South Carolina 3 Years
South Dakota 3 Years
Tennessee 1 Year
Texas 2 Years
Utah 4 Years
Vermont 3 Years
Virginia 2 Years
Washington 3 Years
West Virginia 2 Years
Wisconsin 3 Years
Wyoming 4 Years
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