Claim: Legal Definition

A claim is an assertion or demand for compensation after a loss, wrongful act, or injury. The party filing the claim is called a “claimant.” 

Generally, a claim is filed against an insurance company or government agency representing the party that allegedly caused the incident. To have a successful outcome, claimants must prove that another party’s negligence caused them harm and they are entitled to receive compensation.

Information for a Claim

A claim should provide specific details about the event. The details should answer the following questions: 

  • What happened?
  • How did it happen?
  • Where did it happen?
  • When did it happen?
  • What individual or government agency was involved?

Additionally, the claimant may support the assertions by collecting such information as:

  • Photographs of property damage or vehicle damage
  • Copies of invoices for bills owed
  • Copies of receipts, if bills were already paid
  • Contact information for eyewitnesses
  • A police report (if applicable)
  • Video footage of the incident

A claimant that asserts a physical injury may be asked to provide medical records that show the type of injury sustained, treatment given for the injury, and which medical professional provided the treatment.

After collecting the information, a claimant can file a “Notice of Claim” form provided by the company or government agency.

Investigating the Claim

The agency receiving the claim will investigate the claimant’s event prior to awarding compensation. The investigation may involve interviewing witnesses, reviewing videos, requesting the claimant undergo a physical examination by an independent doctor, or asking the claimant for additional information.

A claimant’s failure to provide the requested information could delay the claim process or result in denial of the claim.

Filing Requirements

Government agencies have specific filing requirements for claimants. Since claimants have a limited time to file a claim, failure to meet deadlines imposed by governments or provide required information may result in a denial of the claim.

Additionally, governments limit the amount of compensation a claimant can receive for an injury. The governmental entity provides information on its compensation limits for paying out claims.

While insurance companies do not have specific filing requirements like government agencies do, insurers will investigate a claim to determine whether to award a claimant the requested compensation amount.

Preparing a Claim With or Without a Lawyer

A claimant can file a claim without help from a lawyer. Having a lawyer, however, may benefit a claimant who has not filed a claim before or runs into problems when an insurance company or government agency disputes the claim.

Lawyers who file claims on a regular basis understands the state laws, and knows what governments and insurers require. Lawyers can also secure supporting documentation that can strengthen a claim.

Contact the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC Today

If you were involved in a personal injury accident or your loved one died because of an accident, we can build a well-documented case to help you file a claim for compensation.

Call the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC today at 865-546-1111 to schedule a free, no-obligation case review.