Filing a Car Accident Claim in Annapolis

The process of filing a car accident claim in Annapolis can be laid out in four basic steps: reporting the accident; taking care of the damage; insurance company evaluation of the claim; and litigation (if necessary). An Annapolis auto accident attorney can help an accident victim through these four steps.

Step 1: Reporting the Accident to Insurance

Filing an Annapolis car accident claim is first done by reporting the accident to the insurance company for the at-fault party. Once counsel is retained, then a letter of representation is sent to the insurance company advising the insurance company of representation and all communication thereafter should be with the attorney.

That sets up a claim with the insurance company and, by doing so, initiates communication with the insurance company. The insurance company will want information about the accident and about the known injuries at the time as well as identifying information of the parties involved. They will conduct their investigation concerning the accident, which includes obtaining a police report and obtaining any witness statements. They will obtain a statement of their insured and then they will evaluate based on that information whether to acceptance or deny liability.

Step 2: Taking Care of the Damage

If the insurance company accepts liability, then their first responsibility is to take care of any property damage. If the investigation is going to take some time or if they are denying liability, then it is incumbent upon the injured party to report the accident to their insurance company and their insurance company has a responsibility to then take care of the property damage.

It is important that that occur provided that the injured party has collision coverage under their policy so that the property damage can be swiftly taken care of. This way the car is repaired and rental vehicle expenses are paid so that there will not be storage fees incurred over and above what is absolutely necessary in getting the car repaired or, if the car is a total loss, payment will be issued for the value of the vehicle so that they can obtain a new vehicle.

If the claim is accepted by the at-fault insurance company, then the next step would be to follow along with the treatment of the injured victim. Their counsel will obtain medical records and bills and will obtain any other proof of lost wages and economic damages. They will also obtain support and substantiation of non-economic damages and will then prepare and submit the demand package to the insurance company to try to resolve the case by way of settlement.

Step 3: The Insurance Company Evaluates the Claim

Once the demand package is received by the insurance company, they will evaluate the claim and settlement discussions will be pursued. If a reasonable settlement can be reached, then the case can be settled. If the insurance company either denies liability or a reasonable settlement cannot be reached, then the next option would be to consider filing suit in court before the statute of limitations runs, which in Annapolis and Maryland in general, is typically three years from the date of the collision.

Step 4 (If Necessary): Litigation Begins

Once suit is filed, then the litigation process begins. The insurance company lawyers will defend the at-fault party and they will answer the complaint that has been filed in court and served on the at-fault party that is now the defendant in the court action.

There will be a discovery process of written discovery, which are written questions exchanged between the parties, as well as requests for documents. Depositions can be taken—that is a statement under oath in front of a court reporter and the respective parties are questioned by the attorney representing the other party under oath and the court reporter transcribes everything said and provides a written transcript of the deposition. Medical examinations of the injured victim can also take place at the request of the insurance company attorney. Once discovery is completed, then the case is scheduled for trial and trial can take place.

Along the way, there are opportunities to try to resolve the claim to try to settle the claim short of going to trial.