Filing a car accident claim can seem daunting, especially if you’re unsure of what to expect. The process consists of several steps, and it’s essential that you are ready for what comes next. Below, we’ll provide you with the knowledge that allows you to safeguard your rights throughout the entire claim.
The claims-filing process includes the following steps:
- Filing your claim
- Insurance company’s decision
- Settlement offers and negotiations
- Filing a lawsuit
- Motion to dismiss
- Going to trial
Filing Your Claim
Because New York is a no-fault state, you’ll file a claim with your own insurance provider in most situations. However, in the event you experience damages that surpass the state’s serious injury threshold, you can file a claim against the at-fault driver and their insurance provider.
Even if you have a minor accident, you may not be able to trust your insurance provider to payout the full amount of compensation you deserve. Working with a lawyer from the very beginning of the process can provide you with the protection you need to pursue the most favorable outcome.
Make sure you:
- File with the Department of Motor Vehicles if necessary
- File accurate information
- File in a timely manner
Insurance Company’s Decision
Whether you go through your insurance company or another driver’s provider, they will inform you of their decision to provide compensation for your losses. They may decide to pay out your claim or deny you any compensation. However, even if they accept your claim and pay out compensation, it may not be the amount you need.
- If the insurance company accepts your claim, you’ll typically receive a settlement offer.
- If the offer is sufficient, you can accept it and effectively end your claim.
- If the offer is not sufficient, you can negotiate your claim or take legal action.
The insurance company’s decision will dictate the next steps and what needs to be done moving forward.
Settlement Offers and Negotiations
If the insurance company accepts your claim, they’ll most likely offer you a settlement amount. In some situations, the amount they offer you may cover your losses. However, they often provide a settlement offer that is not nearly as much as you deserve, and you may need to go through negotiations.
Because your evaluation of your losses and the insurance adjuster’s evaluation may differ, it helps to have a lawyer when negotiating. A lawyer can position your losses in a way that levels the playing field against trained insurance adjusters and in your favor.
Make sure your settlement offer covers:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
Filing a Lawsuit
If the insurance company decides to deny your claim to try and protect their profits, you may need to file a lawsuit to pursue the compensation you need. A lawsuit gives you another option to obtain compensation by positioning your case in discovery or in front of a jury of your peers that can help make decisions regarding the case.
Your lawsuit should detail:
- The extent of your damages
- The amount you are seeking
- The evidence in your case
Motion to Dismiss
If you file a lawsuit, insurance companies may file a motion to dismiss. This is the insurance company’s way of asking a judge to dismiss the case entirely. It’s vital to detail the validity of your case, giving the judge reason to continue on with the process.
Going to Trial
Very few cases go to trial, especially when a lawyer is involved and can provide sufficient evidence during the discovery phase. However, if a case does go to trial, it may mean a verdict determined by a jury, and providing evidence to show negligence and your injury’s severity is imperative.
No matter which method you must go through, know that our New York car accident lawyers are here to help you. At The Paris Law Group, PC, we put your needs first and work hard to obtain the compensation you deserve. We know how insurance companies may try to deny your claim wrongfully, and we work hard to combat their tactics to pursue the outcome you need when you need it most.