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In a minor accident case, you typically can start the claims process directly with your insurance company rather than needing a lawyer to do it for you.I’m confident that you can handle your own accident case without the need for a car accident attorney, even if you don’t think you can settle your case on your own. Remember, the first steps are always the hardest – which is why I’m writing this article. I’m going to show you the right steps to take to begin settling your accident case. 

Contacting the Right Insurance Company 

Honestly, step one should be to seek medical attention for any minor injuries you’ve sustained from your accident. Once you’re on the mend, it’s time to do some paperwork. When it was another person’s fault, such as the driver of another car that hit you, you’ll file a claim with their insurance company. 

Before you do that, if you have your own car insurance (and you should!), you should take the time to review your declarations page on your policy. You may be able to file an accident case with your insurance if you chose to carry “comprehensive coverage” or “medical payments” coverage. Your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage may also be an opportunity to collect payment for your medical bills and losses. 

If you have the right coverage, you can submit your medical bills to your own insurance company. They should pay up to the limits on your policy. If you don’t have this coverage or your policy limits don’t cover all of your medical bills, you’ll be relying on the other person’s insurance to make up the difference. 

Collect Your Evidence 

One of the best things you can do to help your accident case is to obtain your own medical records. You don’t want to authorize an insurance company to obtain your records for you because they will often seek information about pre-dated medical conditions that have nothing to do with your current injuries. This may not seem like it matters, but if you had a past knee operation and your knee was injured in a car crash, the insurance adjuster could claim that it was the old injury acting up and not an injury from the recent accident. 

Other forms of evidence that you may need: 

  • records of lost wages and salary;
  • expenses related to being laid up (needing to hire a babysitter, cleaning service, etc.);
  • medical equipment purchases;
  • photographs of the accident scene and damages; and
  • expenses related to damaged property (car repairs, etc.). 

These are just the basics of the evidence gathering and presentation process. There’s a lot more to learn by reading my book and even more information on the next page. 

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Ben Glass
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Ben Glass is a nationally recognized car accident and ERISA disability attorney in Fairfax, VA.