9 Steps to Applying for Compensation

Batman - The JokerSince the Joker fell into a vat of unknown chemicals in 1940, he has been terrorizing the people of Gotham City with hideous atrocities and stupid pranks alike.  Yet, Batman’s arch-nemesis could have reacted to his bizarre deformation in a far more productive way if he had only known what you are about to read:  the process of applying for compensation. When average citizens are injured through the negligence of another, they don’t react with criminal sprees lasting 70 years; they appeal to the at-fault party and their insurance provider for recompense.  However, this process can be complicated, aggravating…and maybe even infuriating enough to make you want to fill a piñata with saltpeter.  Have no fear!  For tips on how to de-louse your claim process, read on:

 1. Document everything.

You will need evidence to back up your claim if you want it to bear fruit.  Hence, you should keep a meticulous account of everything, even things that may seem inconsequential.  If you’re injured in a fall, photograph the scene.  In the event of a car accident, save items that were damaged in the wreck.  Gather medical records, pictures of wounds you took to post on Facebook, bills—whatever you can lay hold to that pertains to your injury to prove that it happened, and that it happened in the way you described.

 2. Secure the contact/insurance information of the other parties involved.

While they are still in driver’s ed., Americans are taught to exchange insurance information with others involved in a collision.  This is because a significant portion of the compensation they receive may come from the other person’s provider (or vice versa).  Without that information, people seeking injury and property damages will have to rely only upon their own coverage, and may have less available to draw from.

Furthermore, witnesses to the accident may be asked to issue statements testifying to what transpired.  Such statements are immensely useful should you need additional support for your narrative.  Often, the only proof that an event occurred in a certain way is an assertion; and the more credibility you have, the better.

 3. Estimate your damages.

While it’s practically impossible to gauge the cost or even the extent of an accident with perfect accuracy, this is precisely what your insurance company and other sources of recovery will have to do.  It will be easier for them and more to your advantage if you have some idea what you will need to recuperate.  After all, you won’t know if you’re being treated fairly if you don’t know how much is fair.

 4. File your claim.

You will want to contact your insurance provider as quickly as possible to ensure that you don’t miss any important deadlines/the statute of limitations, where applicable, does not expire.  If something is filed incorrectly, you will want enough time to correct it.  If you need medical care, you will want to be compensated so that you can pay for it.  Whatever your situation, time is of the essence.

 5. Keep posted on your claim’s progress.

No matter how good your insurance company, they will never be as invested in you as you are.  The best way to motivate prompt recovery is to keep abreast of their activity on your behalf…particularly since delays in the cogs might later be used as a pretense to deny your claim.

 6. Obtain insurance payment(s)/settlement offer(s).

If you have followed the preceding steps correctly, you should receive something for your trouble.  Once you have determined what you can realistically expect, you should next figure out whether this amount is sufficient for your needs.

 7. Negotiate.

It is very rare indeed to be paid what you first set out for.  It is not uncommon for the agents who express an avid interest in your life while conducting routine business to be somewhat less than flexible when you request those more pricey services that you bought insurance for in the first place.  However, it can’t hurt to try.

 8. Talk to a personal injury attorney.

If it is clear to you that haggling is not going to get you anywhere, but your expenses still far outweigh your resources, that is the time to consult with a personal injury attorney.  Even if you don’t end up retaining one, you stand a better chance of success when you reenter the fray if you have some expert legal advice under your belt.

 9. Negotiate again.

Armed with either valuable insights or a legal sidekick, revisit your insurer, the accident perpetrator, etc.  You may find that the knowledge you gleaned or the professional help you enlisted has given you a better hand to lay on the bargaining table.  In most cases, people would rather settle than undertake a court battle and will be more receptive to your appeals once they know you mean business.  If not, you’ll do far better with an attorney than you would acting on your own behalf.

If you have reached the end of your tether, and it seems your only option is a life of crime, stop and try something else:  at no cost to you (or any promise of future business), the office of Christensen & Hymas will direct your course down a road that leads not to Arkham Asylum, but to a higher probability of more adequate compensation.  Our experienced, compassionate team will make you and your welfare a priority to decrease the stress on your shoulders.  For more information, call (801) 506-0800.

Image courtesy of Gulian Bolisay

Ken Christensen
Partner, Founder at Christensen & Hymas
Ken Christensen is the founding partner of Christensen & Hymas. He is an avid cyclist, loves baseball, and enjoys spending time with his family in the outdoors.

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