If you have suffered an injury due to an accident it may be necessary to file a personal injury claim. However, filing a personal injury claim is a bit complicated and can be confusing if you are unfamiliar with the process. And if you have experienced the process before, you know it is not something you should learn through trial and error.
The following step by step guide will take you through the personal injury claim process and assure you do not make mistakes that can jeopardize your claim.
1. Seek Medical Attention
You should seek medical attention immediately if you are injured in an accident. Many people mistakenly believe that if they do not experience immediate symptoms there is no need to see a doctor. Some injuries do not cause immediate pain but can become a serious problem a day, weeks, or even months down the line.
Ignoring medical treatment will also hurt your personal injury claim. The lawyer for the other party will argue the accident did not cause you an injury worthy of compensation if you do not require the attention of qualified medical personnel.
2. Find A Personal Injury Attorney
Some small injury claims can be settled with the help of an attorney. One example is when a minor accident happens and no one suffers an injury. However, if you receive a legitimate injury in an accident and are receiving the ongoing medical treatment, you are in definite need of a personal injury lawyer. Do not make the mistake of underestimating the complexity of the personal injury claims process.
3. Initiate The Process
The next step in the process is to inform the other party to the accident, and their attorney, that a claim will be filed. Your lawyer will prepare the necessary documents for you. This will get the ball rolling and possible speed up the claims process.
4. Information Gathering
As the treatment for your injuries continues, make sure to document everything. You should obtain a copy of medical records and put all invoices away in a safe place. Other important information to record is the damage to your vehicle or personal property, money lost due to absence from work, and travel expenses to and from medical treatments.
5. Settlement Negotiations
Your attorney can seek to negotiate financial compensation from the other party to the accident or their insurance company before or after a personal injury lawsuit is filed.
When negotiating a personal injury claim, each side will have an idea in mind of what a fair settlement will look like. You and your lawyer will have a general idea of what is acceptable and the insurance company representing the other party will have an idea of what they are willing to pay. This will start a sometimes tense back and forth since neither side knows what is acceptable to the other side.
If a compromise is reached through the negotiation process, there is no need for a suit to be filed.
6. When No Settlement Is Reached
At this time it is necessary to file a lawsuit with the court if no acceptable settlement offer is received. One thing to keep in mind is that there are time limits in place for the filing of a personal injury claim. Information on the website of Preszler Injury Lawyers suggests the filing of a lawsuit early in the process. This will not eliminate the opportunity to continue settlement negotiations.
However, if you allow the allotted time period to run its course without filing your claim, you may forfeit your right to be compensated for your injury.
7. Filing With The Court
Many personal injury claims are settled without the need for a trial. However, if a settlement has not been reached by this point, a formal petition to the court must be filed. It is important to understand the trial process to improve your chances of success.
- A complaint about damages should be filed. The amount of compensation requested should be included.
- Information will be exchanged between you and the other party during the litigation process. This will often include providing a sworn deposition that will later be used at trial.
- Once the trial begins, the court will examine all available evidence. A jury will weigh the merits of the case and decide what testimony is credible.
- If the jury decides in your favor, the judge will then decide how much compensation you will receive.
A personal injury claim is necessary to receive compensation when you are injured in an accident. There are strict guidelines to how a personal injury claim should be filed and mistakes in the process can prove costly. The seven steps above provide you with exact instructions to handle your personal injury claim from start to finish.