Skip to Content
Your Fight Is Our Fight 828-383-8414

3 Stages Of An Auto Accident Claim


Every accident is unique, and most benefit from personal attention. That said, there are some patterns that personal injury claims for car accidents usually follow. 

Within each of these steps, there are also many smaller processes. The people who handle accident injuries professionally — first responders, insurance adjusters and attorneys, for example — often take things one step at a time while maintaining a strategic overview of the entire claim. 

1. Immediate care and investigation

As explained by the North Carolina Department of Insurance, the first step of the claims process is providing immediate care for injuries. These initial reports are likely to be a factor in any subsequent discussions. Injury victims, investigators, attorneys and insurance companies also collect any other information that could potentially be of use — as soon as possible. 

2. Claims negotiation

Claims negotiation is the next step of the personal injury process for most people. However, what exactly this entails varies widely from one case to another. 

The basic format involves contacting an insurance company, negotiating with the representative and, if possible, reaching a deal. Cases might proceed to litigation if it is not possible to secure compensation that would adequately represent the losses: injuries, pain, damaged vehicles and so on. 

3. Litigation

Litigation — trial, in other words — is often a recommendation when insurance companies do not want to pay for extreme injuries. Extensive burns, paralysis or serious brain injury are some examples. In these cases, insurers might need the extra accountability of the court system. 

These trials happen in the civil courts: in the Buncombe County Courthouse, for example. Trials sometimes take a relatively long time, as the procedure is complex. 

Trials and talks are different. The physical evidence, witness testimony and medical records might be similar in both negotiation and litigation. However, personal injury plaintiff attorneys and insurance defenders with a trial focus often have to practice an additional set of skills than do those who mainly handle mediation.