Kansas Car Wreck Settlement Process
The pain and the shock of being in a car wreck causes unimaginable mental trauma. Unfortunately, for the seriously injured the ensuing uncertainty simply adds to their anguish. At DeVaughn James, we know that the lack of clarity poses a serious hurdle to your physical and emotional recovery.
Based on thousands of personal injury cases, our attorneys have compiled a generic timeline of the car wreck settlement process in Kansas for you. We will start at hour 1 and go right up to the verdict, explaining what happens at each step along the way and what you should do.
At the time of the collision
Anybody who has been in a car wreck is bound to be traumatized. It’s like your brain goes into shutdown mode. Unless you are seriously injured, to the point of being incapacitated, lapses and oversights during that time can put you at a disadvantage later. Here are three things that you must do if you are in a collision:
1. Don’t leave: You could get yourself in a lot of trouble with a hit and run charge if you leave without exchanging information and getting permission from law enforcement officers at the scene.
2. Report the crash: If the police have not already arrived at the scene, you should dial 911 immediately even if you do not actually need police assistance. You are legally required to report a collision if:
- It has caused property damage exceeding $1,000.
- A person was injured or killed.
- If the other driver involved has left the scene or is hurt and cannot take your contact information.
If you do not report the collision in such instances, you may lose your driver’s license
3. Gather evidence from the crash site: If you can, make a note of the following:
- The name, contact information driver’s license number, insurance details of the other motorist.
- The names and contact details of witnesses.
- The name and badge number of the police officer in charge.
- Information about the vehicle such as the make, model, year, license plate number and general description.
Take pictures of vehicle damage, skid marks, damage to public property if any, road condition, etc. Look around to check for cameras in the area that may have captured the wreck. Make a note of their location, so that you can get a copy of the footage.
4. Get medical help: If you are hurt seriously, you will of course be taken to the ER. The problem starts when people think that their injuries are minor enough to not require medical attention. No matter how inconsequential you feel the injuries are, have them checked by your family physician. Even if there are no visible bruises/wounds, but you feel shook up or are in pain, see your doctor.
Within 1 week of the collision
1. File a notice for PIP Coverage: If your medical bills do not exceed $4500, you are covered by the No-Fault component of your policy. To avail this cover, you will have to get in touch with your own insurer. After you send them a notice, it may take up to 30 days for them to clear your claim.
2. Co-operate with your insurance provider: If you have auto coverage that protects you against property damage, report the incident to the carrier. You have to do this as soon as possible regardless of whether you were at fault or not.
You are obligated to cooperate with your insurance company even if you don’t intend to pursue a claim. This means you must share all the evidence you have collected with the insurance adjuster/investigator.
3: Maintain all the paperwork: Unless you can back your claim of personal injury and/or property damage with hard evidence, you don’t stand a chance against insurance behemoths. So, be it your medical bills, prescriptions, doctor’s summary or car repair bills, keep all the original copies.
Even if you don’t immediately intend to file a claim; these may come in handy later. Maintain a journal of what transpired after the collision, including details on everybody you spoke to and what was said during these interactions, concerning your collision. Furthermore, record all phone calls and save all email communications that are linked to the incident and your claim.
4. Don’t let anybody force you into accepting a settlement:
The most important thing to understand if you are injured in a car wreck or have suffered property damage is that no matter on which side the insurance company is, they will only look out for themselves and not you.
They will use persuasion and even scare tactics to compel you to accept a low-ball settlement. If you feel you are being denied fair compensation, you have the right to seek legal action.
If your claim is only about property damage, it is very likely that the insurance company will start processing it within a week of you reporting the collision to them.