If you have been injured in a personal injury accident, it is a very responsible idea to notify anybody who was involved. At this point, it is not a matter of who was at fault, but simply thinking about who might have been at fault concerning your possible claim. In the beginning, you will not have to give the people involved or their insurance companies any detailed information about the accident or your injuries. The things you must let them know is that there was an accident at a certain time and place, that you were injured, and that you intend to file the personal injury claim.
The first step is determining who may be responsible. Before you can go forth with notifying those who may be responsible, you must decide who you think you need to notify. This could greatly depend on the type of accident sustained. If there was a vehicle accident, for instance, you would need to notify the drivers of all vehicles involved. Depending on the varying circumstances, each time of accident will require you to notify different sorts of people.
The Claim Notification Letter
Next in the process comes the letter of notification. Even if the others involved have assured you that they will notify their insurance companies, it is still important to write this letter. If you know the other party’s insurance company, you are also welcome to send the copy of your notification letter to their claims department. But what else must you include in your claim notification letter?
The notification should be a simple, typed letter giving only basic information and asking for a written response in return. What it should not include is fault, responsibility, or the extent on your injuries, as they will be covered in your formal demand letter later on. Here are some things that should be included in the letter:
- Provide name and address. You are not expected to include a phone number but you may want to include this when you begin dealing with an insurance adjuster so you can communicate by phone.
- It is also important to include the date, time of day, and location of the accident. You will want good descriptions of the accident at hand to identify with.
- If your letter happens to be directly to an insurance company, ask that it confirm by return letter whom it represents and whether it is aware of anyone else who may be responsible for the accident.
- Include the date on each letter and make a copy of all files. There is no need to send your initial notification letter by certified or registered mail but, if you receive no response within two weeks, you should repeat the process.
Remember: Do not delay in giving notice! It is always best to start the process of a notification letter early, within the first couple of weeks following the accident. Filing a notice does not mean that you obligate yourself to file a claim against them. However, if you do decide to file a claim, they will not be able to say you unfairly surprised them. Speak to a lawyer you trust to help you through this process. At WTW, we can answer all of your questions and help you with your possible case.