Have you ever considered filing a personal injury claim but thought it was all too hard?
Sure, there can be some paperwork involved, and the last thing you want to do is have to suit up and go to court. Not to mention that this is all happening while you’re likely still in pain and recovering from the accident.
However, the process is not as strenuous as it seems. With some help from a knowledgable personal injury attorney, the claim can be relatively painless, and you can get back on your feet financially in no time.
If you’ve been in an accident recently and wondered how you’re going to pay all the bills, then let us walk you through the steps to help you get the compensation that you deserve.
Defining Personal Injury
A personal injury can either occur as a result of an accident or negligence. Some of the most common causes can include but is not limited to:
- Work-related injuries
- Accidents or illnesses whilst abroad
- Injuries occurred while playing sport
- Injuries occurred during a crime
- Injuries while serving in the military
- Misdiagnosis from a physician or healthcare professional
When an accident occurs as a result of someone else’s negligence or lack of duty of care, then you’ll need to prove that you’re eligible for compensation. You should supply evidence to support your grievance as the case will rest on the burden of proof that the injury happened as a result of negligence.
If you are at fault at all, then the process can become a little more complicated. But if the majority of the liability sits with the other party, then you are still eligible to file for compensation.
Depending on the context of the situation where you share liability with the other party, it may result in a reduced settlement.
Being treated for your injury is not only crucial for your continued recovery but also to document evidence of the effects the injury had on you. Most successful personal injury claims will cover the medical bills as part of the financial damages. Receiving a treatment will also demonstrate to courts that you are looking to get better and not just after a cash grab.
It’s also essential to get appropriate medical care as soon as possible to avoid any future complications. Even though the claim may cover the pain and suffering you endured as a result of the accident, you want to reduce the chances of any future complications by getting the help you need as soon as possible.
Contacting a Personal Injury Attorney
When you feel willing and able after treatment, your next step is to contact a personal injury attorney. After you’ve been in an accident, you’ll have several people wanting your autograph. These can include medical providers, insurance companies, and potentially representatives of the person at fault.
Signing some of these documents can cause issues to your claim, which is why it’s important to have a legal professional look over anything before you put pen to paper. It’s not uncommon for the defendant’s lawyers to attempt to get you to sign a release or early settlement offer. But once you’ve got yourself an attorney, all communication from these representatives will go to your lawyer first so they can explain to you all of your options.
You should also avoid giving any verbal statements of the events that occurred until your attorney arrives. These words can come back to haunt you if you have to go to court.
Another benefit that a personal injury attorney brings is helping you save money with some of the medical providers. They can hold off on copays and coinsurance until your claim gets finalized.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim
When it comes to producing a personal injury claim, you will want to know what the statute of limitations is for your state. Once you’ve filed this, the process may go outside of this period. Throughout this time, you and your attorney will be fielding negotiations for settlements to avoid having to step in front of a judge.
But the purpose of filing the claim is to provide official notification to the defendant and court that you are seeking some sort of compensation for your injury. Many people settle through mediation as it allows them to quickly recover any expenses they’ve accumulated while recuperating. Others prefer to go to court and attempt to get the full amount they feel they’re owed.
Depending on your situation, you’ll want to discuss with your lawyer your options. They will provide advice and recommendations on the path you should go to get the best compensation possible.
Supporting Your Case
While the personal injury claim is going through the process, it’s important you continue to focus on your recovery and document everything involved in your recuperation. Some claims can take years to be resolved, and the best way you can prepare is by keeping any supporting evidence you have.
You should have records of any visits to doctors or therapists that relate to your injury. It’s important to be honest with these providers about your level of pain so they can not only help in healing you but also so that they can provide accurate accounts if they’re ever called upon.
If your injuries are visible, you should keep photographic and video diaries of their progress. Some people even keep a journal of any pain they’re feeling and to track how recovery efforts are helping or hindering. This can be a therapeutic method to help while the personal injury claim process is playing out and can be used as evidence if required.
However, you do need to be aware of what you post on social media. Posts on Facebook or Instagram can be considered public statements. They may end up being used either for or against you if you have to go to mediation or court.
Settlement or Trial Process
The last step in the personal injury claim process is to determine whether a settlement can be reached or if a judge should determine the end result. If you have followed this guide so far, then you’ve laid the groundwork for your lawyer to succeed on your behalf.
The definition of a settlement is a negotiation between the two parties to end the suit for a set of funds. Most companies will prefer to settle during a mediation due to the expenses that come from trials and the risk that you will receive a higher dollar amount.
But going to court does not always favor you either. You can run the risk that a judge or jury may not see the matter from your perspective. If this happens, then it may lead to lower compensation or potentially no financial outcome at all.
If this ends up being the final judgment, you can end up with lost wages, unpaid medical costs, and legal bills. This is why many people prefer settling through mediation and give up the potential for higher compensation. It not only resolves the claim quickly but also guarantees that your costs will get covered.
If your claim goes before a court hearing, then your lawyer will help you with your preparation so that there are no surprises. Some of the topics you’ll prepare for are:
- All of the relevant court processes for your claim
- The standard duration of court proceedings
- How to prepare to give evidence if required
- What you should expect if you get cross-examined
- What the legal costs implications will be if you win or lose
Part of the preparation may involve having a barrister represent you at court. They will also arrange the attendance of any witnesses needed to testify on your behalf and support your case.
If you do lose the court case, then it’s not necessarily the end of your claim. You can appeal the judge’s decision to a higher court. However, it’s best to speak to your lawyer about this option and other alternatives that can result in the outcome that you’re looking for.
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