How do I write a personal injury claim to the insurance company? 16 Answers as of January 16, 2014

I was recently hit by a car while walking across a pedestrian walkway. The driver was given a ticket and I have minor injuries i.e. scratches, bruises, and a bump on the back of my head that's sore to touch (I've also had a headache since the accident and occasionally have difficulty walking on the side of my body where the car hit me.) I do not believe my case is serious enough to need to hire a lawyer but I have no idea how to start writing a claim to the insurance company. They have agreed to pay medical bills, lost income, damaged property, and pain and suffering but about how much should that be? I don't need a specific amount just a guide on how I should proceed. I've already talked to the insurance company over the phone, should I tell them to contact me by email instead? I just want everything to be fair. I am not trying to rip of the insurance company nor do I wish to be ripped off by them. Thank you.

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Law Ofices of Edwin K. Niles | Edwin K. Niles
There are plenty of lawyers who will be interested in your case. An independent study showed that claimants did better with a lawyer, even after fees. Don't sell yourself short.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/16/2014
James M. Chandler | James M. Chandler
Just send them a letter advising them that you have serious injuries from the accident and send them copies of bills. Try to get a prognosis from your doctor. With the medical report and all of the bills you can make a demand. They might make you an offer once they get all of the information.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/15/2014
Glisson & Morris | Stan Glisson
You really should meet with a lawyer about your claim. There is almost no way for you to properly value your claim without the experience of having handled many similar cases in the past. The insurance company is not going to offer you any more than the minimum they think you will accept. They do not make money by paying claims, they make money by denying claims when they can, then making small settlements whenever they can get away with it. An attorney will be able to compare your case to several similar cases and determine the real value of the case, and demand that you actually get it. An attorney will charge a percentage of the claim that you receive, but in almost all cases you still will end up with more money in your pocket at the end of the day. Do not agree to anything without discussing your case with a lawyer; once you sign a settlement the case is closed permanently and it is too late to recover any future damages.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 1/13/2014
James E. Hasser, Jr. P.C.
James E. Hasser, Jr. P.C. | Jim Hasser
Case values vary widely from case to case and place to place. Experienced personal injury lawyers are familiar with such values. Consider consulting one.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 1/13/2014
Lombardi Law Firm
Lombardi Law Firm | Steve Lombardi
Answer: Interesting question but one without an easy answer. You don't just write a personal injury claim. You can make one but from start to finish is a process that takes months, not minutes to complete. No one can tell you a quick recipe for a personal injury claim. Go and hire a lawyer.
Answer Applies to: Iowa
Replied: 1/13/2014
    Peters Law, PLLC
    Peters Law, PLLC | Mark T. Peters, Sr.
    Try two to three times the medical bills.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 1/13/2014
    Candiano Law Office
    Candiano Law Office | Charles J. Candiano
    The fact that you may have sustained a brain injury (as evidenced by difficulty walking) should be more than enough reason to hire an attorney. Get a neurological consult and MRI of your brain ASAP.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 1/13/2014
    Wayne J. Wimer, Inc. P.S.
    Wayne J. Wimer, Inc. P.S. | Wayne J. Wimer
    Lets see if I have this right. You would like a very detailed statement from a practicing attorney explaining how to self-deal with an insurance company so as to maximize your recovery and so as to make certain that the insurance company doesn't stiff you in the process, and you want the attorneys on this "service' to donate their time in instructing you on this area of the law? Isn't that a bit cheeky?
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 1/13/2014
    Pennington & Martinez
    Pennington & Martinez | Dennis A Pennington
    I would not worry about ripping them off. The insurance company will not hesitate to rip you off! Document your losses. In the letter, enclose all related medical bills, provide a letter from your employer stating what your actual lost wages are (and be certain that the missed work days correspond with your medical appointments), and provide your medical records which clearly demonstrate your injuries. If you have any permanent injuries, you should hire a lawyer. If you have been treating for more than 6 weeks you should hire a lawyer. Do an online search for cases in your jurisdiction that demonstrate what the value is of your injuries (same type of injury and duration). Then calculate your actual out of pocket losses, combine them with the value of your general damages (pain and suffering), and tell them you will settle for that amount. Be prepared to receive a response that will shock you. But keep negotiating. Come off your original number only in small increments.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 1/13/2014
    The Law Office of Stephen R. Chesley, LLC
    The Law Office of Stephen R. Chesley, LLC | Stephen R. Chesley
    First of all you should obtain an attorney. ?The car that hit you under the no fault law would be obligated to pay medical and incidentals. ?In order to get pain and suffering you must show you are seriously hurt under no fault law. How much a case is worth after you can establish the threshold would depend upon injury and treatment.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 1/13/2014
    Law Offices of David W. Barlow
    Law Offices of David W. Barlow | David W. Barlow
    A claim can be sent to the insurance company by writing a summary of the damages and injuries you have suffered along with the amount that you are asking for. Be sure to include all of the medical bills, medical records, and paystubs. If you can get an attorney to take your case on a contingency basis, than you will usually end up with a larger net amount for yourself, even after paying the attorney fees. This is because the insurance company will certainly take advantage of you because they know that their lawyers will do much better in court than someone without an attorney. Even though you do not want to "rip them off", unfortunately, this sentiment will not be mutual.
    Answer Applies to: Hawaii
    Replied: 1/13/2014
    Law Offices of Ronald A. Steinberg & Associates | Ronald A. Steinberg, BA, MA, JD
    In my opinion, a lawyer will get you more than you could get for yourself because there is more to it than writing a letter. You need proof; of all your injuries and damages and you probably do not understand how to put it together. I am not drumming up business for lawyers. I believe that anyone who represents themselves is foolish.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 1/13/2014
    Ferguson & Ferguson
    Ferguson & Ferguson | Randy W. Ferguson
    If you are still having issues, you need an attorney. It is a one time settlement. If it blows up on you tomorrow there is no coming back for more money. Get your head, back and legs checked out. You could be worse than you think.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 1/13/2014
    Ginsberg & Associates | Jacob Ginsberg
    While it may seem simple you have to remember the insurance companies goal is to pay as little as possible. You on the other hand are trying to get a fair settlement or as much as possible. You do not do this for a living. An attorney will be able to maximize the settlement value of the claim. You should consult an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 1/13/2014
    Pius Joseph A Professional Law Corp. | Pius Joseph
    You need to figure out the nature and extent of your injuries,. If they are truly minor and if you are unrepresented claimant insurance company will offer you typically $500-$1,000.00 IF you are lucky it may go up to 3,000. If you have more substantial bills, it may be more. insurance company will factor in that you do not have a lawyer and will pay you the least possible amount. If your claim as you perceive is too little you can demand something like $10,000 and collect whatever you can get.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/13/2014
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C.
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C. | Andrew Velonis
    First of all: they did not "agree" to pay your medical bills, lost income and damaged property. They have to as a matter of law, so they are not doing you any favors. As for the rest, you say you don't want to be ripped off by an insurance company, but you don't want to hire a lawyer either. Pick one.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 1/13/2014
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