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How to claim insurance benefits after a serious injury

Imagine you were injured in a car accident, and you want your or the at-fault party's insurance company to cover for the damages. You'll need to file a claim as soon as possible. Filing this claim is essential if you are seeking compensation. It's also essential that you file the claim correctly.

To do this, you will first need to determine whether you're filing a first-party or a third-party insurance claim.

The difference between first-party and third-party claims

A first-party insurance claim is a claim filed with your own insurance company, while a third-party insurance claim is one you file with the insurer of another business or individual. You'll probably file a first-party claim if you're the one at fault for the crash. If the other driver was at fault, you'll file a third-party claim. Sometimes, a third-party claim following a car accident will not involve insurers for either of the drivers. For example, a third-party claim might also involve the insurer of a city or municipality that maintained the roads, or a negligent automobile manufacturer that made mistakes or errors when assembling a vehicle.

Filing the actual claim

You may need to file your claim — or at least report the accident — with the insurance company within 24 hours of the event. The insurance company might ask you to provide photos from the accident scene as well as the names of witnesses. You will also likely be required to describe the nature and extent of your injuries and damages and give them any other information pertaining to the accident. If the incident involved injuries, it could be necessary to get an independent medical examination performed by a doctor who is approved by the insurance company.

If the insurance company approves your claim, it will then offer you a settlement check. If it denies your claim or offers you too little, you will have the opportunity to appeal the decision. During the appeal process, you might have to send more information to the insurer and submit to more medical exams.

The insurance appeals process

It's important for all accident victims who make insurance claims to remember that the insurance company is a for-profit business. As such, know that it is doing its best to pay you as little as possible. It's therefore important for accident victims to maintain a shrewd eye when evaluating any settlement offers tendered by insurance companies.

Ultimately, the more individuals know about insurance regulations, the better they understand the coverage offered in their policies. Learning about Pennsylvania personal injury laws can position you better to protect your legal rights while negotiating with insurance providers.

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