Battle Born Injury Lawyers | December 8, 2023 | Personal Injury
Insurance companies pay most successful personal injury claims. A car accident victim, for example, might file a claim under an auto insurance policy. A dog bite victim, by contrast, might file a claim under a homeowner’s insurance policy. Settling a claim with an insurance adjuster, however, can be tricky.
Identify the Right Insurance Company
It’s not enough to know whether you will be dealing with an auto insurance company or a homeowner’s insurance company. You need to know whether you will be claiming under your own policy, or filing a third-party claim against the at-fault party’s liability insurance company.
Talk to your lawyer about this, but you will probably be filing a third-party claim against the at-fault party’s insurance policy.
How To Handle an Insurance Claim, Step by Step
Since no two cases are exactly alike, there is no ironclad step-by-step approach that always applies. What you will find below is simply a typical sequence of events.
Step One: Talk With a Personal Injury Lawyer
Almost all personal injury attorneys offer free case consultations. Some of them will even visit you in the hospital if you need them to.
Step Two: Gather Evidence
In a personal injury claim, evidence is your ammunition. Before you begin negotiating with the insurance company, collect the following types of evidence at the very minimum:
- Police reports,
- Photographs and/or video footage of the scene of the accident,
- Photographs of your injuries and any property damage,
- Statements from witnesses,
- Pay stubs or documents proving lost earnings, and
- Medical reports and records.
Collect any other evidence that you or your lawyer think is important. Much of the evidence you need will likely be in the defendant’s possession and, therefore, temporarily unavailable to you.
Step Three: Prepare and Send Your Demand Letter
Prepare a demand letter to the insurance company. A demand letter is a document in which you set out your case and demand compensation. List all your damages, category by category (medical bills, pain and suffering, and more).
Include supporting documents, such as copies of the evidence listed above. Since drafting a demand letter is an art, it’s probably best to have your lawyer draft it for you.
Step Four: Wait for the Insurance Company’s Response and Issue a Counteroffer
You should receive a response to your demand letter in 30 days or less. Expect an outright rejection or a lowball offer. It’s also possible that the insurance company will simply ignore your claim.
If the insurance company ignores you or rejects your claim, you might find yourself with no choice but to file a lawsuit (see below).
Step Five: Commence Negotiations
If the company issues an offer in response to your demand letter, respond promptly with a counteroffer. This will kick-start the process of negotiation. Negotiations could go back and forth for several months.
Step Six: Draft and Sign the Settlement Agreement
Once you reach an agreement in principle with the other side, have your lawyer draft a settlement agreement. The other side will no doubt dicker over the exact wording, but that is not unusual. Once both parties sign the settlement agreement, it has the legal force of a contract.
The Litigation Strategy
If the insurance company ignores you or simply will not offer a reasonable settlement, you might have to file a lawsuit. The idea here is to use your pending lawsuit as leverage for a settlement.
You can also participate in the pretrial discovery process, which allows you to gather evidence from the defendant. This new evidence could turn the tide of the case in your favor. If it does, it’s back to the negotiating table to wrap up a settlement agreement.
A Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help
A personal injury lawyer can expedite your claim, maximize its value, and (probably) keep it out of court. You won’t have to pay anything until your lawyer wins your claim. If they don’t win at all, your bill for attorney’s fees will total precisely $0.00. Schedule a free initial consultation at your earliest convenience.
Contact the Las Vegas Personal Injury Attorneys at Battle Born Injury Lawyers Today
If you or a loved one were injured in an accident in Las Vegas and you need legal assistance, contact our personal injury attorneys at Battle Born Injury Lawyers and schedule a free consultation with our legal team.