If you have been hurt in an accident, you have the right to be compensated for your physical injuries, emotional harm, and financial loss. In a car accident, your first source for compensation is your own No-Fault insurance. For other accidents, including pedestrian accidents, motorcycle crashes, and boat accidents, Michigan law lets you file your accident claim against the person or business responsible for your losses. This also applies to some car accidents that involve serious injuries.
Who Do You File Your Accident Claim With?
Your accident claim is almost always processed and paid by the insurance company of the person who was at fault. If there are multiple people or corporations involved, you may have to file an accident claim with several different insurance companies. Since insurance companies make profits by paying as little as possible on claims like yours, they will offer you less than what your claim is worth. They are good at under-valuing your losses and making you believe you are entitled to less than they owe.
Hire a Specialist Help With Your Accident Claim
The insurance companies are going to put up a fight. That’s why it’s best to have lawyers of your own who are experienced personal injury specialists to help you through the adversarial process. You wouldn’t go to a brain surgeon to treat your broken leg, or to an electrical engineer to design your hydraulic pump. So don’t trust your accident claim to anybody but a lawyer who specializes full-time in your kind of claim.
Preparing Your Accident Claim
Your attorney will prepare your accident claim with you. This includes investigating the claim to make sure that all the possible at-fault parties have been found and notifying them and their insurance companies of your claim. Next your attorney will research the facts of your case and develop the legal theories that establish liability and prove fault.
Supporting Your Accident Claim
Once the accident claim is filed your lawyer will gather all the evidence to support your damages. This might include:
- Medical records and test results to show your serious physical injuries;
- Doctor’s opinions on your recovery and prognosis;
- Invoices for medical expenses and out-of-pocket costs;
- Employment information to show lost wages or income;
Each of these forms of evidence must be meticulously documented. Often, expert accountants or economists will be hired to calculate your future medical expenses and loss of income.
Negotiating with the Claims Adjuster
Once all the evidence is gathered, your attorney will present it to the insurance company’s claims adjuster and try to negotiate a settlement that covers your losses. If the insurance company will not offer you a fair settlement, your lawyer will recommend filing a lawsuit in court. Because the insurance company is watching its bottom line, a court case is often necessary to get the compensation you need.