Find A Lawyer Legal Articles Attorney Login

Car Accident Claims Process

Injured? Call Now
Talk to a LAW.COM Premier Attorney today!

Not sure what to do after a car accident?

A Premier Attorney can guide you through the process.

Car accidents are an unfortunate reality of our daily lives. Whether it's a minor fender-bender or a more serious collision, the aftermath can be overwhelming. Dealing with the personal injury claims process and understanding how a car accident settlement works can be confusing, especially when insurance companies and legal jargon come into play.

If you need legal help after a car accident, speak to a Premier Attorney who can help you file a car accident claim and get fully compensated. Contact a lawyer near you and schedule a free legal consultation.

A Lawyer!

Free Evaluation

Tell us about your potential case.

By submitting you agree to our Terms & Privacy Policy.
Top firms must pass our verified criteria:
Based in the United States and admitted to practice law.
Earned recognition from their peers for high-quality legal work.
Extensive experience and a winning track record in car accident cases.
Additional information:
Injured? Speak to a LAW.COM
Premier Attorney

1-866-828-0442 or Submit Your Case Form

After a car accident, you should first ensure your safety and the safety of other parties involved. If anyone is injured, call 911 for medical assistance immediately. Also, call the police to report the car accident.

In the meantime, exchange contact and insurance information with all parties involved. Gather names, phone numbers, addresses, driver's license numbers, and insurance details. If there are witnesses, obtain their contact information as well.

Once the police arrive, an officer will document the crash scene and create an official report. This report will be valuable when it comes time to pursue your car insurance claim. You can also take photos of the crash scene to gather fresh visual evidence. Be sure to include the positions of the vehicles, damage to both vehicles, road conditions, and any visible injuries.

After the car accident, you’ll need to report it to your insurance company as soon as possible. Provide only basic information on the date, time, location, and parties involved in the crash. Avoid discussing blame or making statements that could jeopardize your claim. 

You should also get prompt medical attention, even if you don’t believe that you’re injured. Some injuries take hours or days to produce symptoms. Getting a medical evaluation allows you to address potential injuries before they get worse and create a record of your injury.

Lastly, speak to an experienced car accident attorney who can investigate your crash and fight for a fair car accident settlement.

My car was hit and insurance won’t pay

There can be several reasons why an insurance company might refuse to pay after you’ve been hit by another driver.

Your insurance policy may have specific exclusions that limit coverage in certain situations. For example, your policy may not cover certain types of accidents, such as hit-and-run incidents, if you don't have the appropriate coverage. However, if you have uninsured motorist (UM) coverage, you can recover damages, even if the hit-and-run driver can’t be identified. This also applies if the driver who hit your car is uninsured or underinsured.

On the other hand, if your insurance policy has lapsed due to non-payment, your insurance company may refuse to cover the damages. Also, failing to report a car accident promptly or provide correct information to your insurance company can lead to a claim denial.

In some states, the "no-fault" system is in place for car insurance claims. In a no-fault state, each driver's Personal Injury Protection (PIP) policy covers their own medical expenses and lost wages, regardless of who was at fault. This system is intended to streamline the claims process and ensure prompt compensation, particularly for minor injuries.

What happens when a car accident claim exceeds insurance limits?

When a car accident claim exceeds insurance limits, it can complicate things. However, you’re not completely out of options. For example, if you’re not at fault for a car accident, your attorney will negotiate with insurance companies for the full extent of your damages.

You can also pursue compensation from your own insurance company if you have uninsured motorist coverage (UM) or Medical Payments (MedPay). Plus, you can use your own health insurance to cover some of your medical costs. But depending on your deductible and policy terms, you may have to pay an out-of-pocket fee for medical services.

Understanding car accident settlements

Car accident settlements can vary, depending on the severity of your car accident, the extent of your injuries, and your insurance coverage. Here are a couple of car accident settlement examples to help you get a better understanding:

  • A minor rear-end collision with no injuries might result in a settlement of a few thousand dollars.
  • A more serious accident with significant injuries and medical bills could lead to a substantial settlement, potentially in the six or seven figures.

One common question that arises is: How long does a car accident settlement take? The timeline for auto accident settlements can vary, but the process typically follows these stages:

  • Initial investigation: Once an attorney decides to take your case, they’ll launch an initial investigation into your crash. This includes getting a copy of the police report, speaking to witnesses, and determining how much money you’re eligible for. This stage can take a few weeks.
  • Negotiation: Once the investigation is complete, negotiations with the at-fault driver’s insurance company typically begin. This can take several months as both sides work to reach a mutually acceptable settlement.
  • Settlement agreement: Once a settlement is reached, it may take a few more weeks for all documentation to be processed, and for the settlement check to be issued.
  • Trial: If your attorney is having difficulty reaching a settlement with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, they may take your case to trial. Your attorney will present evidence, call on witnesses, and argue for a maximum financial verdict before a judge and jury. This process can take several months.  

Is insurance claim money taxable?

In most cases, insurance claim money is not considered taxable income. Whether you receive a settlement for property damage, medical expenses, or pain and suffering, it is typically not subject to federal or state income tax.

However, if your attorney pursues punitive damages, you may be subject to taxes. That’s because punitive damages are meant to punish the at-fault driver and deter future negligence. It’s not meant to reimburse you for damages you accrued from your crash.

Do insurance rates go up after a no-fault accident?

How a no-fault car accident affects your insurance rates depends on your state, your insurance company's policies, and the specific circumstances of the crash. Some states prohibit insurance rate increases after no-fault car accidents, while others may allow them. Be sure to check your state's laws and consult with your insurance provider to understand their policies.

Does a no-fault accident go on your record?

In no-fault insurance states, a car accident usually won't be noted on your driving record since the focus is on each driver's insurance covering their own expenses. However, in at-fault states, car accidents are typically recorded on your driving record. This can potentially affect your insurance rates in the future, especially if you were partially at fault for a crash.

Documents required for a car insurance claim

When filing a car insurance claim, you may need to provide specific documents to support your case. These can include:

  • The police report.
  • Medical records, bills, and receipts.
  • Vehicle repair estimates or invoices.
  • Witness statements and contact information.
  • Photos of the car accident scene and vehicle damage.

The amount of a car accident settlement can vary. For fender benders with minor injuries, settlements may be a few thousand dollars. However, in cases involving severe injuries, long-term medical treatment, or permanent disabilities, settlements can reach substantial amounts. In some cases, they can exceed six figures.

Need help pursuing an auto insurance claim? Consult with a Premier Car Accident Lawyer who can help maximize your compensation. It won’t cost you any money upfront. That’s because our verified attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, so you only pay if they win your case.

To learn more, contact a Premier Lawyer in your area and set up a free consultation. They will answer any questions you have and help you further explore your legal options.

Injured? Call Now
Talk to a LAW.COM Premier Attorney today!

Free Evaluation

Tell us about your potential case.

By submitting you agree to our Terms & Privacy Policy.
Injured? Speak to a LAW.COM
Premier Attorney

1-866-828-0442 or Submit Your Case Form