Let’s face it. Accidents happen, and sometimes they can happen because of someone or something, leading to more than just physical harm. Imagine you are on your way home after a long day at work and another driver swerves towards your car out of nowhere. Turns out, the other driver was texting and driving. You are left with an insurance claim and mounting medical bills, not to forget the mental trauma it brought along. If you want your damages compensated, you will need to file a personal injury claim. Filing a personal injury claim can help you hold the responsible party accountable. Starting up on a claim may seem complicated at first, but we have broken down the procedure to make it easier for you to get started should the need arise.
Step 1: Medical Check Up
The first thing you need to do after an accident is to get a medical checkup. Just because you are not experiencing any immediate pain does not overrule the cruciality of a medical checkup. Hidden pains can show up after months or even years if an immediate medical intervention is not observed. If you do not get a medical consultation, it can invalidate your personal injury claim. The responsible party will question the severity of the damages in question, and you could walk out without any compensation.
Step 2: Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
Small injury or minor accident claims can be settled on your own without a lawyer. However, major accidents and incidents that require prolonged treatments and multiple visits to the hospital need a personal injury lawyer
to help you cover your medical bills. Even if you are not open to the idea of hiring a lawyer, simply discussing your case will help you navigate your case by looking into requirements you did not know of before, limitations or complications like the time frame to file a claim. Even the simplest injury can have a complicated claim, so it is best to involve a lawyer.
Step 3: Setting up a Claim
This step involves informing the responsible party and their insurance provider about your intentions of filing a personal injury claim. This can either be done by you or your attorney. This helps in speeding up the settlement process.
Step 4: Gathering information and getting treatments for your injuries.
You will need to gather as much information about your injuries and other damages as possible while continuing with your treatment. Your agenda at this stage will be to gather medical invoices, get insight about your injuries and treatments from your doctors. You will also need to keep a tab on the personal property damages, the repairing and replacement costs.
Step 5: Negotiating a settlement
Your attorney will make a demand to the defendants or their insurance provider before or after filing a claim. The claimant’s attorney makes a demand for the compensatory amount before proceeding to court. This demand will be a compensation for the inflicted damage. Insurance providers will make an offer that will best suit the party they represent. Each party has a better idea of what they want from the opposing party. This can start a series of “back and forth” between the two. Between offers and counteroffers, you can either settle at a consensual amount or the case continues to trial.
Step 6: Reaching a Settlement or Filing a Lawsuit
If you are not happy with the amount offered by the responsible party, you can file a lawsuit to get a compensatory amount that fills your demands. Once a lawsuit has been filed in court, this sets course for the discovery phase. It is when both parties begin investigations into the other party’s claims and defenses. The discovery phase requires extensive documentation so it may last as long as a year.
Step 7: Filing a Lawsuit
Many personal injury claims are settled without filing a lawsuit. However, in the event of not reaching a settlement, a lawsuit becomes necessary. If you understand the process, your chances of winning the case become better.
The process starts with filing a complaint. This will be a written document, describing the damages and compensation you want to seek. The litigation period that proceeds after would require both parties to give a deposition. Meaning both will need to testify under an oath regarding the injuries. This is recorded for later use. Once the case goes to court, the evidence is presented before the jury. The jury then gauge the evidence and decide which evidence has more credibility. If you win the lawsuit, the jury will decide the amount you will be awarded.