Below, we cover the basic steps of the typical auto accident claim process.
#1 Notice of Representation
First, our firm notifies the insurance company that the victim of a car accident hired our motor vehicle collision attorney. We do this through a letter called a Notice of Representation.
The purpose of this letter is to ensure that the insurance company contacts our firm instead of reaching out to you. All communication regarding your claim flows through our legal team or takes place with your attorney present.
If the insurance company contacts you, do not give them a statement. Instead, simply provide them with your attorney’s name, phone number, and email.
#2 Gathering of Facts & Evidence
As you undergo your medical treatment, your attorney begins to investigate your claim. This means they gather the facts of the case. Your attorney seeks out police reports, witnesses, information on the other drivers, medical records, and photographs and video from the accident.
At the end of your medical treatment, the doctor typically provides your records within a matter of weeks.
#3 Organizing a Demand Package
The next step in the auto accident claim process is a thorough evaluation of your damages and injuries. Once we have your relevant bills and records, we put together a demand package that we send to the insurance company.
In this package, your attorney demands a settlement amount designed to help you move forward in life. At times, this amount is higher than the calculated damages as a starting point for the negotiation process.
#4 The Value of Your Claim
A major aspect of the auto accident claims process is calculating the value of your claim. Oftentimes, the media exaggerates how much money car accidents are worth. This gives people a false impression of how much compensation might come their way.
However, your attorney works through every aspect of your claim to ensure it includes all appropriate damages. From current and future medical expenses to lost income and repairs, there’s much to consider.
#5 Negotiations with the Insurance Company
Once the insurance company receives a demand package, they evaluate the settlement on their end. Insurance adjusters often have a certain level of authority that allows them to settle a claim. However, if the amount exceeds their authority, it goes up the ladder.
Unfortunately, this process takes anywhere from a few weeks to several months to complete. Moreover, it’s crucial to remember that in the auto accident claims process, the goal of the insurance company is to settle your claim quickly and cheaply. Their priority is to preserve the profit of the company, not help you recover.
#6 Settlement or Trial?
Ultimately, it is your decision whether you accept or decline a settlement offer. While your attorney can offer advice, it’s up to you whether you take the settlement, go back to negotiations, or go to trial. At this stage, it’s important to consider many aspects of your situation.
Oftentimes, lawsuits take months or years to process. Additionally, there’s a level of risk that comes with trial. Still, your attorney has the experience and expertise necessary to guide you through the process.
Starting the Auto Accident Claims Process?
If you or a loved one sustained an injury due to someone else’s negligence, you are on a deadline to report your injury and file your claim. At Herbert Trial Law, our Houston car accident attorneys fight for the compensation and benefits you deserve.
To learn more about your rights and legal options, contact our personal injury firm today. Schedule a free consultation with our team and see how we can guide you through the auto accident claims process.