If you are injured in an accident and you believe that someone else is responsible, you are probably asking yourself what the next best course of action is to take. You are probably unsure if you will need help with legal matters or if you can handle things on your own.
Sometimes, you may not need a lawyer. You can take some reasonable steps to represent yourself. This is usually the case where the damage to your property is minimal and you have not been injured. If your injury is minimal, you may also be able to handle the matter yourself. However, make sure you get the right medical opinion about your injury before deciding that it is minimal.
If you decide to handle the matter yourself, you need to do the following:
- Open a file (or use a large envelope) to keep all information / documents that you have and will have regarding this matter.
- Call your insurance company. Obtain your claim number and the full name, address, telephone number and email address of the person handling your claim. You have to stay in touch with this person and inquire about how they will proceed with your claim. This is particularly important if you have Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage on your policy.
- Call your insurance company. Obtain your claim number and the full name, address, telephone number and email address of the person handling your claim. You have to stay in touch with this person and inquire about how they will proceed with your claim
- Gather all information regarding the minimal property damage you incurred. Also, if you had minimal injury, you will need to get the medical bills and records.
Prepare a letter for your insurance company including all the bills and records you have. Also include proof of any time you lost from your work (if you missed work). This should be addressed to the person handling your claim and should contain your claim number. Call to make sure they have it and if they need anything else, they will let you know.
Prepare a letter for the insurance company of the other party. This letter should be addressed to the claim handler, and should have your claim number. Include with this letter all your medical bills and records, proof of lost income and proof of property damage. In addition to these, also point out all inconvenience, pain, and suffering you incurred because of this accident (these are your general damages). Make sure you state in as much detail as possible how the incident negatively affected your regular activities.
You should make a demand. A demand is a request for compensation for the losses you suffered. These losses are called damages. You should demand both the specific losses like the medical bill and lost income. In addition you should also ask for additional payments for your general damages. There is no specific formula to determine how much you can ask for (especially in minor impact/injury cases). You may want to ask for between two to three times more than you specific loss amount.
Having said the foregoing, you may need some representation if any of the following is the case:
- You suffered a serious injury
- You are uncertain about who is at fault
- There are multiple parties involved in the accident
- The insurance company has denied or is delaying your claim
IF YOU THINK YOU MAY NEED A LAWYER,
Law Offices of Fogam & Associates, LLC
8121 Georgia Avenue Suite 715
Silver Spring, Maryland 20910
Telephone: 301-608-1555 or 301-252-6650