What Steps Are in an Injury Settlement? | Studinski Law, LLC
February 23, 2021

What Is the Car Accident Injury Settlement Process?

If you’ve been seriously hurt in a car accident, the immediate aftermath can be devastating. You may be facing disability, mounting medical expenses, and time away from your job that you can’t afford, among other things. Seeking an insurance settlement to cover your expenses can be a difficult and lengthy process.

The experienced car accident lawyers at Studinski Law, LLC understand what a difficult time this is for you and your family. We have built a reputation for successfully handling the most complex car accident cases. We routinely take on difficult cases that other firms will not. We will fight diligently to pursue a settlement that covers your physical, financial, and emotional damages. 

The car accident injury settlement process can be complicated. Generally, the process involves the following steps: 

Filing an Insurance Claim

If you were hurt in a car wreck caused by another driver, the first course of action is typically to file a third-party insurance claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance policy. It is referred to as a third-party claim because you are making a claim against the other party’s insurance policy and not your own. Filing a claim against your own insurance policy is known as a first-party claim.

When filing a third-party insurance claim, your lawyer will contact the insurance company of the other driver to begin the claim process. Whether the claim is filed online or via a written letter, the following information is generally attached:

  • Your name and contact information
  • Names and contact information of other passengers in your car at the time of the crash
  • The name and insurance policy number of the other driver
  • The police report
  • Accident photographs or videos
  • Your vehicle repair shop’s name and contact information
  • Medical records of your injuries

A formal insurance claim should be filed soon after your car accident. In some cases, it is also a good idea to file a claim with your own insurance company for a number of potential benefits, such as additional coverage or medical payments benefits. Your car accident attorney will review all the details of your case and recommend your best course of action.

The Insurance Company’s Investigation

Once you’ve filed a claim, the insurance company must promptly investigate the allegations. Based on its policy with the other driver, the insurer will determine whether it is liable to pay you compensation. The insurance company’s investigation will likely include reviewing the police report, examining your injury-related medical records, taking your statement, and considering the opinion of the insurer’s experts.

It is important to have an experienced car accident attorney by your side through each step of the insurance company’s investigation to protect your rights. Insurance companies are generally focused on their bottom line, not your best interests. During its investigation into your case, the insurer may overstep its bounds or violate your rights. For example, you may be asked to sign medical records authorization that provides the insurer access to your complete medical history, which could potentially damage the strength of your case. A seasoned car accident lawyer will ensure your rights are protected throughout this process.

Conducting Your Own Independent Investigation

When the insurance company conducts an investigation, its priority is to protect its own best interests and those of its client. Because of this, it is crucial for your car accident lawyer to conduct an independent investigation on your behalf. Your independent investigation may include the review of accident-related photos and videos, the police report, and other relevant documents. Your attorney may also hire expert witnesses to strengthen your side of the story. 

Claim Coverage is Approved or Denied

Following its investigation, the insurance company will either approve or deny coverage for your claim. It’s important to understand that if the insurer does approve your claim, it is merely agreeing that its policy covers the other driver’s conduct. It is not necessarily agreeing to provide the full and fair compensation you need to cover your current and future losses.

If the insurer denies your claim, it must give you a written explanation for the denial. The insurer may claim that there is a technical reason for the denial, or that the other driver’s conduct is not covered by its policy. In the event of a claim denial, it is especially important to have experienced legal counsel in your corner. A seasoned car accident attorney will fight on your behalf if the claim was unjustly denied and pursue the maximum compensation to which you are entitled under the law.

Settlement Offers and Negotiations

If your claim was approved by the insurance company, the insurance company will send you an initial settlement offer. These offers are typically low, and you are under no obligation to accept it. If your settlement offer does not reflect the true extent of your damages, you have the right to deny the offer and request a higher amount. Depending on the details of your your wreck, you may be able to seek compensation for:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Diminished earning capacity
  • Emotional distress and mental anguish
  • Disability
  • Disfigurement
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

Car accident injury settlement negotiations are often extremely complex, and require the knowledge and skill of an experienced attorney. At Studinski Law, LLC, our car accident lawyers know the tactics used by insurers to devalue your claim. We know how to determine your claim’s true value, and we won’t be intimidated by big insurance companies and their legal teams. We are committed to helping you obtain the justice and compensation you deserve for your injuries.

Requesting Mediation, if Necessary

If a fair settlement amount cannot be reached through the negotiation process, you or the insurer may request mediation. In the mediation process, you, your lawyer, and a representative of the insurance company will meet with a mediator. A mediator is an objective third party whose responsibility is to keep the conversation on track. Mediators cannot force you to accept a low offer or make the insurance company pay a fair settlement.

Finalizing the Settlement

You can finalize the settlement once you have come to an agreement on the settlement amount with the insurance company. When finalizing a settlement, you will likely be required to sign a release of liability document. This will waive your rights to pursue additional claims against the insurer or its insured, including the right to take the insurer or its client to court for more compensation. You will be required to dismiss your personal injury lawsuit, if it has been filed.

Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit

If the insurance company refuses to offer a fair settlement, filing a lawsuit may be your best course of action. An experienced car accident lawyer will ensure your lawsuit is filed properly, in the appropriate jurisdiction, and at the appropriate time. Depending on the complexity of your case, your lawyer may recommend filing a lawsuit earlier in the settlement process, in order to take advantage of the discovery process. 

Contact Our Car Accident Lawyers Today

If you’ve been injured in a car wreck, you shouldn’t have to face the subsequent physical, financial, and emotional burdens alone. The accomplished car accident lawyers at Studinski Law, LLC can help you seek the compensation you deserve for your medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. 

When you work with Studinski Law, LLC, you will have direct access to your dedicated lawyer and legal team. We will communicate clearly with you through each stage of the process and keep you up-to-date on the status of your case. Our firm is committed to achieving the best possible outcome in your case, and we have the results to prove it.

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Please call (715) 343-2850 today for a free consultation with our car accident lawyers. Studinski Law, LLC helps injury victims throughout Wisconsin, including Stevens Point, Wisconsin Rapids, Marshfield, Plover, Wausau, and other areas.

Jason Studinski Injury Attorney
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