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Opening and Reporting Claims

Know Your Options for Filing a Claim

When you open a claim with an insurance company, you are reporting the fact that an accident occurred. Reporting a claim is different than presenting a claim, which involves sending a package to the insurance company demanding compensation related to an accident. Before you get to presenting the claim, you must first open the claim with the insurance company after there has been an accident.

Whether or not you should file a claim with your own insurance company following an accident may depend on the type of accident you were involved in as well as your individual policy and company. If you are not the at-fault driver in a motor vehicle accident and you sustain injuries from that accident, you have several options that involve both your own insurance company as well as the insurance company of the at-fault driver.

Opening a Claim with At-Fault Insurance

First, you may choose to file a claim with the insurance company of the driver determined to be at fault by the investigating officer in the accident. The at-fault insurance company will cover reasonable expenses incurred as a direct result of the accident, including the cost of medications and medical treatments, lost wages, mileage to and from medical providers, as well as damages for pain and suffering. Your personal insurance policy will not be affected if you open a claim with the at-fault insurance company.

Opening a MedPay Claim

Your second option involves both your own insurance company and the at-fault driver’s insurance company. After opening a claim with the at-fault company, you may choose to file a claim with your own company for MedPay, also known as Medical Payments coverage, if you have this type of coverage on your policy. Opening this type of claim is considered a no-fault claim to your insurance company. MedPay is an optional coverage you can purchase from your automobile insurance company that covers the cost of medical bills for you and your passengers if you are ever involved in a motor vehicle accident. Since you pay for MedPay coverage on your policy, it makes sense to open a claim to obtain the money you are entitled to by your own insurance policy. However, some insurance companies strongly discourage opening MedPay claims when you are involved in an accident and may drop clients for frequency of incidents.

Opening a Claim with Your Own Insurance

The third option is to open a claim only with your own insurance company rather than either of the first two options. If you choose to do this, your deductible will apply but may be refunded to you later when your insurance company completes the subrogation process with the at-fault insurance company. The at-fault insurance company must accept liability in order for you to be reimbursed for this deductible, as subrogation basically entails your insurance company obtaining the reimbursement from the at-fault insurance company on your behalf. This claim is also considered no-fault, but sometimes an inexperienced representative may inadvertently key in the claim as at-fault, which hurts you as the insured. Some companies strongly discourage opening claims like these through your own company and suggest that if you are in an accident and you are not at fault that you file the claim through the at-fault insurance company instead of through your own company.

If You Are the At-Fault Driver

If you are the at-fault driver in an accident, your options for opening a claim are limited to filing with your own insurance company. Your insurance company will cover the cost of the damage to your car, your medical expenses if you have MedPay coverage, the damage to the person’s car that you hit, and the medical expenses of the person whose car you hit if they are injured. In this case, your collision deductible would apply and you may be faced with a surcharge depending on your individual policy and company. If you report your involvement in an accident for which you have been deemed at fault to your insurance company, they may choose to cancel your policy. Additionally, it is extremely likely that your insurance premium will increase as a result of reporting your claim.

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    The at-fault driver failed to reduce speed and collided with our client's vehicle. Our client passed away shortly after the collision.

  • $900,000 Wrongful Death

    Our client was thrown from his motorcycle and was pronounced deceased on the scene.

  • $122,000 Car Accident

    Vehicle made a left-hand turn, failing to yield the right of way.

  • $104,000 Serious Injuries

    Client was a passenger in a vehicle that was driving through an intersection when another vehicle ran a stop sign and t-boned the vehicle our client was in.

  • $104,000 Severe Injury

    We were able to not only receive policy limits for our client but were able to negotiate her medical bills and liens to ensure that she was able to keep a good portion of the settlement.

  • $102,000 Serious Injuries

    Elderly client was a passenger in a vehicle that was t-boned in an intersection where a driver failed to yield the right of way.