If a person was injured in a collision, there are steps you can take to make filing a personal injury claim easier. It is important to stay calm and make good decisions. Your actions can affect the reimbursement received from car insurance companies.
Seek Medical Treatment
Visit a doctor immediately to get evaluated and receive medical treatment. If a person is severely injured, wait until emergency responders arrive to make any movements. This may protect you from any future injury claim you may need to make. Even though you may feel okay after a collision, sometimes symptoms take a few hours to appear. It is common to leave an accident and feel uninjured and a few days later, experience extreme soreness and muscle spasms. If you wait to seek treatment, it may be harder to prove these symptoms were caused by the collision.
If the onset of a serious injury is delayed, it can affect your chances and period of recovery. Back and neck injuries are not easily diagnosed and typically need an MRI or CT scan to show disc injuries. The longer you wait to seek medical attention, the easier it becomes for an insurance company to deny your claims.
If a physician does find an injury, keep up with your appointments and any other medical treatments. Missing scheduled visits can help an insurance company make the argument that the injuries reported were not severe or valid at all.
If you are not at fault:
If you were not at fault for the collision, the other driver’s bodily injury liability coverage will typically cover the injuries. You will need to contact the driver’s auto insurance company as soon as possible to begin the claims process. This will start an investigation into the collision and the injuries reported in the claim. A complete record off all expenses accumulated will be required. This process may take weeks, months or even years.
If the driver does not have enough insurance coverage, they may be responsible paying medical expenses out of pocket.
If you are at fault:
If you are at fault, you are legally required to pay for the victim’s medical and auto repair bills. Your insurance company will conduct an investigation to determine how much responsibility you have in the accident. The more coverage you have on your insurance policy, the less likely you are to have to pay out of pocket.
Other medical coverages that could cover injuries include:
Medical payment coverage
Medical payments help cover injuries suffered by your passengers, injuries to yourself if you are hit by a car, and necessary dental care following a car accident and funeral costs.
Underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage
Underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage pays for injuries caused by a driver with little or no insurance coverage.
Private health insurance carrier
You may also consider using your own health insurance policy to cover part or all of your injuries.
Take photographs of the car accident, injuries and keep notes
Take as many photographs as you can.
Take as many photographs as you can from every possible angle of the damage. Take pictures of the car and the damages including shattered glass, dents and all other body damages. When it is safe to do so, take pictures of all visible injuries.
In order to get a full reimbursement from an insurance company, keep detailed notes of all injuries and medical treatment. Keep the name, phone number and receipts for all accident-related professionals you visit. Also, make sure to write down all the medication you needed and any assistive devices used such as neck braces and wheel chairs.
It may also be helpful to:
Keep a journal about injuries and medical care
It is impossible to keep a mental note of everything that happens after a car accident. No matter how traumatic an accident may be, insurance companies and lawsuits require facts.
What to include
Write a narrative of the car accident. Include as much details as possible, including weather conditions, witnesses and any other details you may remember. A journal can also help track the pain severity and any inconveniences related to an accident. Include every way the accident and the related insured have affected your life. Make sure to include lost wages and opportunities. This journal can be a crucial part of your injury claim investigation, so it is important to give detailed, accurate and complete descriptions.
When to make an entry
Make a journal entry whenever you have something new to report, good or bad. Write as often as you can until all lawsuits are resolved.
It may be beneficial to share your journal with physicians so they may include this information in your medical records. Insurance adjusters are more likely to rely on these medical records than what an injured person says.
Keep and organize all correspondence
It is important to keep every form of correspondence from medical professionals, including bill statements and receipts. This also includes e-mails, notes, phone calls and doctors’ appointments.
File a police report and request a personal copy
An accident report will have important information needed by insurance companies. It is also an unbiased third-part report of an accident. The police report will include:
- The location of the car accident
- The date and time of the incident
- Damages to the cars involved
- Injuries sustained by drivers, passengers and witnesses
- Driver, passenger and witness statements
Do you need more information about bodily injuries? Our agents and customer service representatives are here to help. Call us today at 1-888-949-6289 or visit your nearest Insurance Navy location. For your convenience, Insurance Navy is open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. CST, 7 days a week.
*Please review your own policy carefully for details on bodily claims. Bodily claims processes vary by insurance company.