If you or a loved one were injured in an automobile wreck, you may be wondering how automobile claims work and what happens next. At Paynter Law, we know how overwhelming this process can be, and we want to help, so we put together this timeline to provide you with a little more information about what you can expect.
INSURANCE CALLS: You will likely have insurance companies calling almost immediately, whether you were injured as a result of an automobile wreck that involved a car, truck, or tractor-trailer (18 wheeler), or whether your accident was the result of being hit as a pedestrian or while on your bicycle or motorcycle. Your insurance company will probably want to talk to you about how the wreck happened, who was at fault, the damage to your vehicle, and any injuries you sustained. The insurance company for the person who caused the wreck will probably want to talk to you about these things as well, and they may ask for a “recorded statement”. This means they ask you questions about the wreck, and they record your responses. Generally, we caution our clients about giving recorded statements. There are times when recorded statements may be advised, helpful, and/or productive, but often they can be problematic if you do not fully understand what is being asked and why. Once we represent someone, we are able to take over the communications with the insurance companies. This means our clients can worry less about insurance calls and can just focus on themselves, their loved ones, and getting better!
PROPERTY DAMAGE: The first part of a claim to be addressed is usually the property damage. The insurance company will probably have your vehicle looked at by a property damage adjuster and/or a repair shop. Then they will make their determination as to whether your car, truck, motorcycle, bicycle, etc. can be fixed. If there is too much damage to fix your vehicle, the insurance company will likely begin the process of trying to determine the “fair market value” of your vehicle and then make you an offer based on that value. You can evaluate their offer by looking up your vehicle using NADA, the Kelley Blue Book, and auto sell/trade websites and magazines in your geographic area.
TREATMENT: The next step for our clients is usually focusing on medical treatment. Sometimes this means physical therapy, surgery, and/or appointments with primary doctors and/or specialists. We stay in touch with our clients throughout this process and track their medical progress. We’re also there for our clients if they just need to talk during this time.
ESTATE: If you lost a loved one as a result of the wreck, you will likely be dealing with the process of opening an estate. North Carolina has some great resources that can help with the process of opening an estate. Many clients choose to open and handle the estate themselves, but other clients prefer to have an estate attorney handle that process. We work with our clients to determine what they prefer and what is best for their specific situation, and then we help them get going in the right direction!
LITIGATION: Ultimately, we talk with our clients and decide how to proceed with their case. Sometimes, if our clients finish treating within a few months or a year or two after the accident, we put together a demand package to send to the insurance company. A demand package often consists of items such as our client’s medical records and bills, injury and/or vehicle photos, the accident report, and a demand letter, among other things. Demand packages can be effective at helping get a case settled without having to go through the time and expense of a whole lawsuit. Other times, we are unable to get a claim resolved this way so we, together with our client, make the decision to file a lawsuit. We work with our clients to consider all options and to make the decision that is best for our client.
RESOLUTION: Our ultimate goal is to help our clients get back on their feet and receive compensation for everything they have been through. Every case is different, and our representation focuses on the specific, unique facts of each one of our client’s cases. Some cases resolve without the necessity of filing a lawsuit, others resolve sometime after the lawsuit is filed, and others have to go to trial. Our personal injury team works for and with our clients with the goal of achieving the best possible result for their case.
Our personal injury team is here and available to talk. We offer a free case evaluation, so please do not hesitate to call us. We can be reached by phone at (919) 245-3116, toll-free at (844) 472-9683, or by filling out our contact form. We look forward to talking with you and helping you make the best decision for you and your loved ones during this difficult time.