What happens when you make a claim for a car crash?

You were on the highway when it happened. A driver didn't notice you and hit your car. The crash wasn't very serious, but your vehicle was badly damaged and you have some minor injuries that require treatment.

After a crash like yours, it's important to report your claim to the other driver's insurance company. As soon as possible, the other driver should give his or her car insurance information to you, and you should provide yours. If he or she does not have insurance, you may need to file a lawsuit to obtain the compensation you need. The party without insurance may also face criminal charges.

If the driver does have insurance and you file a claim, there will be an investigation. This investigation looks into the claim, deciding if it's valid. The investigator, who is usually the claims adjuster from the insurance company, will need to see police reports, interview witnesses and gather other information before he or she makes a decision.

Most car accident cases end with settlements. Settlements may include compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, disability, car repairs or lost wages among other financial losses. You'll have approximately one year to file a claim if there is only a personal injury or up to three if the claim involves property damage, so filing as soon as possible is important.

Your claim can always be adjusted as more information becomes available, so long as you don't accept a settlement. It's a good idea to have your attorney review any settlement offer you receive to make sure that it's fair.

Source: FindLaw, "Tennessee Car Accident Settlement Process and Timeline," accessed Feb. 16, 2018

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