Dealing with the aftermath of a car accident can mean a lot of phone calls and paperwork, and things can get very complicated if one or another party doesn’t want to pay their share. Thankfully, filing a car accident claim in Indiana is not very difficult.
Legally, car insurance should provide just financial compensation for your accident. You must file an accident claim by reporting your collision both to your insurance company and the insurer of the at fault driver.
A lawsuit against the at fault driver’s insurer in your collision cannot occur until you’ve attempted to receive compensation through insurance. If an insurance company’s settlement offer is considerably less than the losses you’ve experienced or your claim is denied, it may prove wise to hire a car accident lawyer.
Thankfully, the steps to file a car accident claim in Indiana are easy to follow. Once your claim is filed, you’re one step closer to receiving the settlement you deserve.
U.S. and Indiana car accident statistics
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, every minute there are 13 car accidents in the U.S. In 2020, a shocking 4.8 million people were injured in collisions, and 42,060 people lost their lives in car accidents.
In 2021, Indiana car accidents claimed 914 lives and caused 4,684 debilitating injuries. Law enforcement officers issued 45,677 traffic citations within the course of that year.
Thus, it comes as no surprise that car insurance companies annually earn millions of dollars in profits in Indiana. Despite the quiet roads at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, auto insurance companies raked in almost $30 billion in 2020.
Large insurance companies have the means to pay out car accident claims but aren’t always eager to do so. Nonetheless, after your accident, you should quickly file an insurance claim. The sooner you start the process of working with your insurance company, the more likely you are to get what you deserve.
When should you file a car accident claim
Many insurance companies have limitations on how long you can wait to file a claim. Typically, this time window is open for 30 days. Nonetheless, immediately after your car accident in Indiana, you should take the following steps:
- If possible, pull over safely to the shoulder of the road.
- Contact police and wait for law enforcement to arrive.
- Fill out a police report and ask for the at-fault driver’s contact information.
- Obtain the badge number, name, and contact information for any police officers who responded to your accident.
- Do not admit fault or apologize. When speaking to police, try to recount the accident with as much detail as possible sans any admissions of guilt.
- Take photos and video of the accident scene as documentation.
- Note any eyewitnesses to the accident and make sure their contact information is included in the police report.
When you’ve completed these steps, contact your insurance company to file your claim. Although you can directly contact the at fault driver’s insurance provider, it may prove wise to contact your own insurance to expedite your claim. After you have been assigned an insurance agent, the claim process will begin.
The steps of the claims process
Once you contact your insurance provider, the claims process begins. The basic steps to file a claim include:
- A claims adjuster is assigned to your case.
- You will receive a case number that you can refer to in any subsequent correspondence about your claim.
- You’ll need to provide your adjuster with a detailed, recorded account of your accident.
- An insurance agent will visit you to assess your property damage and injuries.
- Your insurance company will then contact the insurer of the at-fault driver with an estimate of the compensation you’re owed.
- Your claim will then be processed within 15 to 40 days.
Your insurance company will deal with any other insurers of parties involved in your accident. However, you may need to contact the other insurers personally. If you do so, it’s important to remember most insurance companies don’t want to pay your claim.
Again, do not admit any fault in your accident or share anything other than pertinent information. Legally, you do not have to give a recorded statement to the at-fault driver’s insurance company. If the insurance company requests documentation of your car repairs and medical treatment, wait until these processes are complete before sending your documents.
What to do if your claim is denied
Occasionally, the at fault driver’s insurer could deny your car accident claim. If this occurs and you feel your claim is valid, ask for the reason for the denial in writing. You may want to consider consulting a lawyer, too. There are several reasons your claim could be denied, including:
- Lack of documentation: If an insurance company does not receive all documents pertaining to your case, your claim might be denied. For example, if you include personal injury in your accident claim but do not provide medical documentation.
- Avoidable accidents: An insurance company could object to your claim by stating that you could have avoided your accident — even if you’re not at fault.
- Late Claims: You filed your claim too late. For example, if an insurance company allows 30 days to file a claim, and you wait for six weeks to begin the claims process. In Indiana, the statute of limitations to file a personal injury lawsuit is two years.
How a car accident lawyer can help
Your accident may have caused you pain and suffering, and added financial burden to your stress. Adding attorney fees to your mountain of overwhelming circumstances may feel like the last thing on your mind. However, many lawyers offer their services on a contingency basis — in other words, you pay no upfront fees and your lawyer gets paid only if you receive a settlement.
A car accident lawyer can help you even if you don’t file a lawsuit. After you’ve filed your car accident claim, an attorney can advise you on what compensation you should expect to receive. If negotiations with the insurance company are required, your lawyer can act as your representation.
If your claim is denied, or you are offered an unfair settlement, a car accident lawyer can help you file a lawsuit against the insurance company.
At Yosha Law, we are passionate about our clients, and consider them part of our family. We will help with your car accident claim and fight for what you’re owed.
We also offer an initial free case evaluation so we can help you explore the merits of your case and guide you through the legal process.