If you are injured in a car accident because of another party’s negligence, you are entitled to seek compensation for your medical bills and other damages through a personal injury claim. In most cases involving negligent drivers, the money comes from the negligent driver’s automobile insurance provider, but they will generally only pay upon a settlement or a verdict (if a lawsuit has to be filed). Thus, the medical bills usually must first be paid by your auto insurance medical expense coverage or your health insurance. Your auto or health insurance will then want reimbursement for the amounts they pay out of any settlement or verdict you ultimately achieve. If the other driver does not have insurance or enough insurance, you may have to seek coverage under your own auto uninsured motorist coverage.
If you have never filed a personal injury claim before, the process can seem daunting. But once you break it down into small steps, you will see that it can be a fairly straightforward process. Work with an experienced Appleton personal injury lawyer to give your claim the best possible chance of resulting in a fair settlement. Dealing with an uninsured or underinsured negligent driver raises additional issues that will be addressed in future blog posts.
Determine your Damages
Your lawyer can help you determine your damages to determine an amount of compensation to seek. Through a personal injury claim, you can seek compensation for the following:
- Your medical bills and related expenses;
- Your lost wages; and
- Any expenses related to the injury that do not fit into either of the above categories. This can include the need for a mobility aid or your need for hired domestic help while you recover.
Filing your Claim with the Negligent Driver’s Insurance Provider
In Wisconsin, you must settle your claim or file a personal injury lawsuit within three years of the date of your accident. Your lawyer can prepare your claim and submit it to the negligent driver’s insurance provider along with the necessary pieces of evidence to support the claim, such as the accident’s official police report and documentation of your lost wages.
An insurance adjuster will be assigned to your case. He or she will either reject your claim or offer you a settlement offer. Do not accept the settlement offer without discussing it with your lawyer first – usually, this amount is far lower than the amount of money you will need and your lawyer can negotiate a higher settlement for you. If your claim is rejected, your lawyer can help you to file a lawsuit to litigate your claim.
Interactions with the Insurance Adjuster
Let your Appleton personal injury lawyer guide your interactions with the insurance adjuster. It is best to let your lawyer interact with them on your behalf. Your lawyer can also deal directly with the medical expense adjuster under your own auto insurance and your health insurance as may be necessary.
Do not make any statements to the negligent driver’s insurance adjuster and do not admit to fault for the accident. These can be used to justify reducing your settlement amount or even rejecting your claim.
Work with an Experienced Appleton Car Accident Lawyer
If you are involved in a car accident, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed at the prospect of working with an insurance provider to seek compensation for your damages. Medical providers often do not know who to bill for services, and coordinating payments with the different insurers can be difficult and time consuming. But it does not have to be a difficult, uncomfortable process. Work with a compassionate car accident lawyer in Wisconsin who can guide you through the steps of filing and pursuing your personal injury claim. Contact our office today to set up your initial consultation with a member of Hammett, Bellin & Oswald, LLC.