Getting into a car accident can be extremely traumatic, even if it is a relatively minor collision. You might think that you’ve been able to walk away without any physical damage, but delayed injuries can appear hours or even days later.
That doesn’t always match up with the insurance company’s schedule.
Usually, you need to file a report with your insurance company as soon after the accident as possible. You’ll want to read your policy to be sure, but generally, providers require a report to be filed within 30 days.
Your insurance provider will probably also require you to report the accident to the police. Usually, you will do this while still at the scene of the crash. They will file a police report, which you will need to file a claim.
Next, you need to ensure that you have all the required documentation on hand. That includes names, addresses, phone numbers, and policy information of everyone involved in the crash. You will also want to take pictures of the accident, and record things such as the sequence of events, weather, and any other relevant information.
Now that you have the information that you need, call your insurance provider. They’ll assign you a claims adjuster, who will investigate your accident and determine what you are entitled to.
In most cases, all of this will happen within about a month or so. However, if you have injuries that show up after the accident, you might need to file a claim later.
Usually, you’ll know right away if you have been injured in a car accident. However, sometimes the symptoms of delayed injuries don’t show.
For example, whiplash occurs when your head is thrown forward from impact. You might not feel the effects of whiplash for up to five days after the collision. Minor whiplash typically improves within a month or two, but severe requires physical therapy. You’ll want to ask your insurance provider to cover the cost.
Symptoms of back injuries can also be delayed after an accident, often due to adrenaline. It’s only after you’ve calmed down a bit that you notice the pain in your back. You’ll want to see a doctor and make sure that information gets added to your insurance claim.
Concussions, soft tissue damage, and even PTSD can also be delayed after an accident. Even if you didn’t notice it then, you still deserve to have these delayed injuries tended to by a medical professional. That care should be covered by insurance.
When filing an insurance claim, you always want to comply with the requirements of your insurer. That means that you might need to file a claim before you know the full extent of damages to yourself or to your car. That’s fine – there is a difference between filing a claim and settling the claim.
If you have already filed a claim with your insurance company and then noticed you have delayed injuries that were not reported, it’s not too late to get them covered. You can contact your claims adjuster and tell them about your injuries. They will be added to the claim.
The longer you wait to file, the more difficult it will be to prove your injuries were a result of the collision being covered and not some unrelated activity. Your claims adjuster will look very closely at the information you provide to ensure that they are only covering what they are legally responsible for.
If your insurance provider refuses to cover the delayed injuries, there may come a time when you need to file a lawsuit. At that point, it is essential to consider the personal injury statute of limitations in your state. If you decide to take your insurance provider to court for the remainder of the money, you will need to do so within this window.
Before you settle your claim, you want to be confident that you are going to reach “maximum medical improvement” with the current offer. That means you’ve either healed as much as you will be able to, or you’ve determined the long-term financial impact of your injuries and how that will be covered. Often this requires the advice of a medical doctor who can evaluate the severity of your injuries.
A car accident can be a very traumatic experience, and the essential administrative duties following it can be overwhelming. However, taking the necessary steps goes a long way towards getting all the damages covered. If you need help with filing a claim or receiving the compensation you deserve, contact a San Antonio personal injury attorney. The attorneys at the Villarreal & Begum Law Firm provide experienced legal services for those injured in the San Antonio area.