Are you suffering from a personal injury at the fault of another person? You may be entitled to compensation from that person’s insurance provider. Insurance providers play key roles in accident cases. To many, said roles may seem quite complex. This post, however, is aimed at providing some clarity.
Insurance Companies and Personal Injury Cases
When you (“plaintiff”) are injured in an accident of any type, and if it was the fault of another person (“defendant”), your initial instinct should be to file a claim for your injuries. Normally, soon after the accident, the defendant’s insurance provider will contact you and you can start the claim at that time. Nevertheless, if defendant’s insurance company does not contact you, then you should contact that person’s insurance provider to start the claim.
Once you begin your claim, you will be corresponding with that insurance provider’s “claims adjuster”. Basically, the claims adjuster handles the insurance provider’s claims. The claims adjuster does not represent you, the plaintiff. Instead, he or she represents the defendant’s insurance provider and seeks to protect their best interest. Therefore, the claims adjuster will attempt to keep costs low in terms of settling your case, if there is a settlement. Conversely, you will normally want to increase their settlement figure.
From here, the claims adjuster will investigate claim and determine liability. You should not give the claims adjuster detailed information about the accident as this could jeopardize your chances of compensation. If the claims adjuster does not find defendant liable, the adjuster may not be willing to settle.
Yet, you do need to communicate with the claims adjuster to an extent. You will need to gather all of your medical bills, medical records, estimates of repairs, lost wages, etc., and send these to defendant’s insurance company’s claims adjuster. Do not forget, you should also include documentation of any lost wages and, if relevant, statements of pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, disfigurement, etc. All this information is combined in a demand packet for settlement purposes.
Later, after the claims adjuster’s investigation is complete, and after a thorough analysis of your demand packet, defendant’s insurance provider may be willing to offer you a settlement. If a settlement is offered, you may, of course, accept or deny it. If you decide to accept the settlement, you must do so in writing. The claims adjuster will then send you a standard “release” form. This form releases the defendant, and his insurance company, from later claims related to the accident.
Lastly, you should know that if all or some of your medical bills were paid by your own health insurance provider, this may require you to reimburse your health insurance provider out of the settlement you get. This is called a “medical lien”.
Statute of Limitations
Suppose you are never offered a settlement from defendant’s insurance company. Or suppose the settlement was too low and they would not increase the amount. Well, in this situation you may want to file your accident case with the court and take it to trial. Yet, per Pennsylvania Title 42 section 5524, you must file such lawsuits within two years of the accident. If you do not file within this limitations period, you will most likely be barred from doing so. Thus, this rule should be strictly adhered to.
Take Action now
For your best chances of getting adequate compensation for your injury, it is critical that you hire an experienced personal injury attorney. Such an attorney can be found at the Law Offices of Eisenberg Rothweiler Winkler Eisenberg & Jeck, P.C. Please contact us at (866) 569-3400 for a FREE initial consultation.