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Do You Have a Case? A Quick Guide to Filing a Personal Injury Claim

May 09, 2019

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Over 2 million people are injured or disabled annually because of road accidents.

Although these accidents are sometimes inevitable, compensation to the victims may help lower the burden of medical treatment. Unfortunately, due to the complicated process involved, some victims go uncompensated for, leaving them to incur further losses.

This begs the question; how do you file for a personal injury claim?

And, how do you determine whether or not to file for the claim in the first place?

Here’s a comprehensive step-by-step guide to help you out.

1. Seek Medical Treatment

Before filing for a personal injury claim, you first need to seek medical attention. This helps you determine whether it’s worth filing for the injury claim. If it’s just a few minor bruises, there’s no need for a personal injury case.

Even when there are no physical injuries, a visit to the doctor will help diagnose any unseen issues such as internal bleeding.

Additionally, if you forego medical treatment, the responsible party’s insurance will dispute your claim on the basis that there were no severe injuries since you didn’t seek medical attention.

If you have severe injuries after a car accident, you need to file a personal injury claim once you’re discharged.

2. Is the Party At Fault Covered?

Having a claim ruled in your favor is one thing, getting your compensation is another.

Therefore, before filing a claim for your injuries, you need to determine whether the involved party is adequately insured. If it’s an auto accident, it’s likely the driver at fault has a liability cover for injuries caused by his/her own negligence. So, it may be important to file for one.

However, if your personal injuries stem from an accident on another person’s property, it may get a little complicated if they have no form of insurance or asset.

3. Determine Whether You Need an Attorney

Sometimes, the settlement for a claim is reached without having to involve an attorney. This usually happens in less severe injuries where the party at fault willingly pays a certain amount that you’re comfortable with. Furthermore, it can be more economical to negotiate on the settlement on your own rather than involving a lawyer.

But, this doesn’t mean you should shy away from consulting a personal injury attorney. In fact, some may be willing to offer a free initial consultation to discuss the merits of your case.

Hiring an attorney is advisable if you sustained severe injuries and/or unable to reach a fair settlement for your claim.

4. Set up Your Claim

Setting up a claim involves informing the defendant and their insurance provider that you plan to file a claim. By inviting their co-operation, you may get your compensation quickly.

Also, you need to collect essential information for the case, including the total cost of your medical bills and estimates of other damages.

Make sure your doctor clearly documents all the details of your treatment including the date of injury, diagnosis, and other ongoing treatment. If you’ve got any witnesses, this is the time to reach out to them.

5. Negotiate a Settlement

Depending on the details of a case, negotiating the right compensation can be time-consuming. For instance, if you incurred injuries at your place of work, some employers may agree to compensate you for the injuries. Others, however, may try to blame you for your negligence as the cause of the accident, thus may not pay you.

If you can’t reach an agreement or aren’t content with what you’ve been offered, you have the option to elevate the claim to a lawsuit.

Factors That May Affect Your Personal Injury Lawsuit

Here’s what you need to know when filing for a personal injury lawsuit:

Consider Statue of Litigation

This refers to the duration set by the law within which you’re supposed to file for the personal injury lawsuit. Failure to initiate a lawsuit before the given period means that you’ve lost your chance of getting compensation.

Remember, the countdown begins when the car accident occurred. So, if the claim is taking too long, it would be better to prepare for a lawsuit.

Don’t Share Too Much

Sharing too much information with the insurance adjuster will do you more harm than good. While this isn’t supposed to discourage from sharing your encounter with the adjuster, it’s best you do it in the presence of your attorney.

This is due to the fact that adjusters tend to side with the defendant, thus may ask you questions whose answers may compromise your case.

Sharing too much also entails the posts you make on social media, especially photos. If you share photos of yourself prior to the case that may suggest you weren’t severely injured, you may have problems with your lawsuit.

Your Medical History

As you’re putting your medical records in order for the case, it's important to note that any medical history tied to your injuries can lead to less compensation.

For instance, if you’ve been seeing a chiropractor for your back pains, and you get involved in an accident that worsens your pain, the court will take it into consideration.

The Defendant is Served

Finally, if it has been ascertained that a legitimate case exists, the plaintiff’s lawyer should file a complaint that’s served to the defendant. Besides stipulating what the defendant did as claimed by the plaintiff, the complaint should also inform the at-fault party about the date they must appear on court.

Don’t Hesitate to File for a Personal Injury Claim

Apart from auto-related accidents, personal injuries can happen anywhere including at workplaces and hospitals.

Equipping yourself with the right steps to take when filing for a personal injury claim eases the process and gives you some peace of mind knowing that you have all that’s required to get fair compensation.

Are you trying to recover from the trauma due to a recent accident? This video should lift your spirits.