Car Accident Injury Claim: Compensation for Auto Accidents

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Written By Rocky Horton

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Car accident injury claims are common since an accident can change your life in one terrifying moment. Physically, emotionally, and financially, your whole world can turn upside down due to one bad decision on the road, one reckless driver, or one wrong turn. No matter how serious the accident, your mentality will change to survival mode after a car accident.

Your focus will be on repairing the damage not only to your car but also to yourself. A car accident injury claim may be your only means to get your life back to normal. We’re here to help you through the crucial steps you should take after sustaining an auto accident injury so that you can make a successful claim and pick up the pieces of your life.

What to Do After a Car Accident

Even a minor car injury can have a lasting impact on your physical and mental well-being, often in ways that are not clear at first. A car accident injury claim can secure your future by making sure you are compensated both physically and financially for your condition.

Crucially, failing to take certain steps or making the wrong moves after sustaining an auto injury can ruin your chances of making a successful case. Below, we review the critical steps that help ensure your claim is successful after a serious car collision.

Critical Steps to Take Immediately After a Car Accident

Move to a safe area: Your immediate safety, as well as the safety of your passengers, is the most important step to take after an accident.

Check for injuries and call 911: Call 911 even if no one seems to be hurt to ensure that police and paramedics are alerted to the accident and can respond quickly.

Get medical treatment: When paramedics arrive, accept their medical evaluation and help. Refusing treatment can ruin your car accident injury claim by making it seem like you weren’t injured by the crash, even if you were.

Stay calm and exchange information: Exchange driver’s license IDs, license plate numbers, phone numbers, addresses, and insurance information with the other driver.

Gather evidence at the scene: This includes photos of the cars, the license plates, the roads, any property damage, and anything else that seems relevant.

Notify the insurance companies: Failing to report an accident to the insurance company on time may make it impossible to file an injury claim.

Consider consulting an attorney: A capable car accident injury lawyer knows these steps and can help you avoid potentially costly mistakes after a serious accident.

The Auto Insurance Claims Process

The claims process can be difficult to maneuver without help, which is why we summarized the steps you need to take below.

Steps of Auto Insurance Claims Process

  1. Notification – Notify your insurance company as soon as possible so they can process your claim.
  2. Recorded statement – Get a copy of the police report, but don’t make a statement yourself.
  3. Car repairs – Get your car assessed and repaired right away so the damage is reported.
  4. Early settlement offer – Don’t accept the adjuster’s early settlement offer.
  5. Begin negotiations – With the assembled evidence, you can start to negotiate for your bottom line.
  6. Final settlement – If all goes well, you will be compensated for the damages.
  7. Failed negotiations – Negotiations with the insurance adjuster can fail if you have insufficient evidence.

Negotiating a Car Accident Injury Claim

Negotiating an accident claim is a complex process that requires a combination of restraint and initiative. Refuse any early offers and refrain from posting about the accident on social media, which could hurt your case.

Instead, you need to spend time preparing, which means tallying expenses, gathering reports and receipts, and coming up with a bottom line, which is the amount you will ask for as the total car accident compensation from your insurance policy.

Keeping this number clear in your head is a key negotiating tactic because it will prevent you from accepting an offer you don’t deserve.

How Fault Impacts Car Insurance Injury Claims

Most states are at-fault states, which means that insurance companies factor the accident’s circumstances into their settlement. 12 states are no-fault states, which means that claims are treated the same regardless of the fault established.

You need to know the fault status of your state to calculate the insurance claim. An attorney can help you through the differences between states and whether you need specific evidence to verify your innocence in the accident. The initial police report from the scene could play a crucial role in determining fault later, which is one reason you need a copy of it.

How Long Do I Have to File a Car Accident Injury Claim?

The statute of limitations is the time you have between when an accident occurs and when insurance companies will no longer accept claims. The statute exists to prevent people from claiming injuries that did not result from the accident.

For someone who suffers an auto injury, this means that you have a certain amount of time to make your claim, which differs by state. The average is around four years, but in some states it’s as few as two or as many as six.

Check with your state’s guidelines to learn how long you can wait before filing a claim.

How to Calculate Car Accident Compensation

Calculating car accident compensation involves figuring out the total damages. The trick though is that not all types of damage are immediately apparent. You can easily calculate the economic damages to your car, but you should also add the physical and emotional pain you sustained.

Other numbers to consider include the costs of past and future doctor’s visits, medical tests and medications, physical therapy, and lost wages. Since it can be difficult to give emotional pain a number, an attorney can help you figure out what is reasonable to ask for based on your situation and the standards of legal compensation.

Steps to Calculate a Car Accident Settlement

To summarize, these are the three steps to calculating compensation in a minor injury settlement

  1. Add up your economic damages – These include not only car and property damage but also medical expenses, loss of wages, and more.
  2. Account for your pain and suffering – Injuries can cause lasting emotional damage that you should be compensated for.
  3. Combine both amounts for a total demand – The two amounts should be combined to arrive at the requested settlement amount.

Remember that over or underselling your injuries can destabilize your claim due to the insurance company’s investigation into your case. It’s best to be honest with your lawyer and try to reach a fair settlement.

Factors that Influence Your Car Accident Compensation

Car accident compensation is determined by many factors, including:

  • Shared fault and negligence laws – Whether the driver was hired by a company can cause shared fault and negligence laws to factor into a settlement.
  • Amount of economic damages – This includes bodily, property, and vehicle damage.
  • Severity of injuries – More severe injuries generally receive higher compensation.
  • Auto insurance policy limits – No matter what you claim the damages were, an insurance policy can only pay out up to its coverage limit.
  • Who’s at fault for the accident? – Drivers may have to pay damages differently depending on the circumstances of the accident and whether they were at fault.

Proving fault requires evidence from the incident, which could include:

  • Citations
  • Accident photos
  • Cell phone records
  • Witness statements
  • Police records

To preserve this evidence, make sure that you get any information you can from the scene, including a police report and witness contact information.

Common Types of Car Accident Injury Claims

A car collision can cause many types of injuries. They all have varying degrees of severity that can change your settlement but only if they are treated and documented by a medical professional such as an emergency room doctor.

Common injuries include:

  • Head and neck injuries such as whiplash, skull fractures, headaches, and concussions
  • Internal injuries such as cracked ribs, organ damage, or bruising
  • Broken bones anywhere on the body
  • Neurological injuries
  • Lacerations, which can cut as well as scar
  • Burn injuries
  • Seatbelt injuries
  • Emotional trauma

Any form of medical treatment or therapy, including emotional, should factor into your calculations for expenses when discussing your settlement.

Tips for Dealing with the Insurance Company

The key to negotiating a car accident claim is to realize that the insurance adjuster is not your ally. You have to watch what you say, even at the scene of the accident, to prevent them from proving that your claims are false.

Your ally in the negotiation process is the evidence. Never sign anything, give a statement, or start your recovery process before the damages are discussed with a medical professional. In addition, make sure your vehicle damage has been verified before you repair it so that the insurance company can’t claim later that the accident was not the cause.

Common Reasons that Car Accident Injury Claims are Denied

Just because you claim car accident compensation doesn’t mean your claim will be successful. The insurance company could deny your claim based on a number of reasons. These include:

  • The accident was avoidable – Depending on the circumstances of the crash, the adjuster may claim that you were reckless and should be denied compensation.
  • You didn’t file a claim in time – If you try to file after the statute of limitations as passed, the insurance company can deny your claim.
  • Delaying medical care – By denying medical attention, you can ruin your chance to make a claim because the insurance company can claim that you weren’t hurt at the time of the accident.

Benefits of Hiring a Car Accident Lawyer

With so many steps to remember, it’s crucial to plan everything after you are involved in a car accident. A car accident lawyer can help you do this by using their expertise, reputation, and experience to get everything you need.

Their expertise can help you communicate with the insurance company, negotiate a deal, file the right documents at the right time, and make the right statements throughout the settlement process. Every step of the way, they can help you make the right moves and prevent you from taking a bad deal. Their reputation alone may even improve your final settlement.


A car accident injury claim is a complicated process with many steps. The safety of yourself and your loved ones is always the most important thing. Beyond that, however, you should be diligent about the expenses accrued from the crash, the documents you need to obtain, and the records you need to keep.

Since an auto accident injury is a life-changing event, a personal injury lawyer can help you navigate the complex process of compensation. They have expertise in similar cases, contacts in relevant departments, and a working knowledge of the claims process, all of which can help you get the settlement you deserve.

Ultimately, your car accident injury claim will come down to whether you notified the insurance company in time, whether you keep track of your expenses, and whether you can prove that the accident is to blame for your pain. A personal injury lawyer can help.

Rocky Horton

Rocky Horton


Rocky Horton is a health and safety expert from Chapel Hill, NC. He is the founder of AccidentAdvisor and has been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg, and other publications. Learn more.