Wednesday, April 20, 2011

How To Handle An Automobile Accident Claim

 How to Handle Auto Accident Claims


Auto accidents have been inevitable ever since the car was invented.

Hundreds of auto accidents occur every day, and someone will be responsible for investigating the claim. It will be the investigator's responsibility to determine what caused the accident and what damages, if any, are associated with the claim. The investigator may work for an insurance company as an adjuster or may be a legal assistant for the law firm of the injured party. Regardless, the procedures and information retrieved will, in essence, be the same type of evidence to resolve the claim

Step 1

Interview all witnesses as soon as possible.

Interview all witnesses as soon as possible. The first and foremost witnesses to interview would be the actual parties to the car wreck. All parties should be interviewed as soon as possible to record what each one claims caused the accident, and what injuries, if any, are being asserted. Get the name and addresses of any witnesses and take their statements as soon as possible. Be sure to get all verifiable addresses and phone numbers for future contact. Forward medical releases to the injured parties so any medical records can be obtained.

Step 2

Police reports contain valuable information

Retrieve all initial reports filed. In most car accidents, the authorities are called to the scene of the accident. A policeman will usually be at the scene to issue any citation and to prepare an accident report. This accident report will contain valuable information about the accident. It will quote the observations of the parties and any witnesses. It will give an initial assessment of damages, including any physical injuries. A diagram will be drawn to duplicate the officers' assessment of how the accident occurred. Every city or county files these reports at the local police station. The reports are normally available to the public for a small fee.

Step 3

Photographs can document much of what happened

Take photographs of all relevant evidence. As soon as possible, visit the scene of the accident and photograph the scene from several directions. Note and photograph any skid marks that may be relevant. Go to the body shop to photograph the damaged vehicles from several angles. These photographs will be valuable information to any experts retained and can be used in a prospective trial to help explain how the accident occurred.

Step 4

Doctors' assessment of injuries is vitally important

Acquire all medical records and doctor's office notes relevant to the injuries allegedly sustained in the auto accident. Request medical records from the emergency medical team at the scene, as well as the emergency room records and names of the treating doctors. The medical providers should also provide an itemized list of any and all medical expenses incurred. The treating doctor should address the issue of causation. Did the accident at issue cause the injuries at issue? The treating doctor should address whether there will be any permanent impairment or future medical bills related to the injuries sustained in the car accident.

Step 5

Work out a settlement.

Attempt to negotiate a fair settlement. Once all the relevant evidence has been acquired and the injured party has been released by the doctor with a final prognosis, the parties should attempt to settle the matter out of court. The settlement usually is in a dollar amount, considering all the injured party's out-of-pocket expenses and any lost wages in the past or projected in the future. A reasonable amount should be included for pain and suffering. Relative fault also should be a factor in any proposed settlement.

David Burlison practiced law for 25 years In Tennessee and Mississippi. He has traveled extensively throughout the world, and once lived and worked in the U.S. Virgin Islands. He has published numerous articles with Demand Studios, Ezine Articles, GoTo Articles and Hubpages. His publications have covered subjects dealing with law, travel and various social issues.


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