If you’ve never filed a personal injury claim before, the process can appear unduly complex. In this post, I will break down how to file a personal injury claim in six easy steps.
If you’ve suffered from an injury due to another’s negligence or incompetence, you can file a personal injury claim and be duly compensated for the harm.
Intentional torts, assault, medical malpractice, dog bites, automobile accidents, slander, and defective products that caused harm are things you can file a personal injury claim for.
However, if you’ve never filed a personal injury claim before, the process can appear very complex. While filing a personal injury claim is not very difficult, taking the trial and error approach is not the right way to go.
In this post, I will break down how to file a personal injury claim in six easy steps to help you understand the process.
How to File a Personal Injury Claim
Step #1: Seek Treatment
If you’ve been injured, the first thing you should do is seek medical treatment.
Not every injury has immediate effects. Do not dismiss the need to visit a medical care facility even if you do not feel any pain following the accident.
There’s a chance that the injury may cause severe pain and discomfort a year down the line.
Getting medical treatment is vital from a legal standpoint as well. If you forgo medical treatment, the responsible party will use that fact to question the severity of your injury.
Not only will seeking medical care help you recover and avoid an increase in the severity of discomfort, but it will also validate the claim’s sincerity.
Step #2: Hire A Personal Injury Lawyer
If you’ve had a minor accident and were not injured or required only one hospital visit, you can settle the personal injury claim yourself without getting an attorney involved.
However, if your injuries required you to visit the hospital multiple times or require ongoing treatment, you must hire a personal injury attorney. It’s the best way to recover the full cost of your treatment.
If you don’t wish to hire an attorney, make an effort to contact one and discuss your claim.
There may be some requirements you don’t know about or some limitations you may not be aware of.
Doing your due diligence as you approach a sensitive legal matter is critical – your claim may turn out to be a lot more complicated than you initially thought.
Step #3: Inform the Liable Party
Either you or your attorney must inform the liable party — typically the individual and their insurance provider — that you are filing a personal injury claim.
Doing this sometimes results in a faster settlement.
Step #4: Collect Medical Records and Other Invoices
As you continue receiving medical care, you must gather as much information about your injury as possible.
Medical records and invoices from the care facility are only the beginning. Speak to your doctor and learn the extent of your injury, and find out what continuing treatment you’ll require and for how long.
You must also get an estimate of how much the treatment will cost, get a quote on the repair costs of the damage caused to your vehicle or your property, and keep track of lost wages.
You could collect a lot more information to help fortify your claim, which is why I recommend you hire an attorney to help.
Step #5: Negotiate a Settlement
You can ask your lawyer to make a demand for compensation to the insurance company or the person responsible for the injury. It can be done before or after filing the lawsuit.
An attorney representing the defendant may also offer to settle. But regardless of who makes the offer, you must negotiate correctly and aggressively.
You have a different idea about how much the claim is worth than the defendant does. Only you know how much you’re willing to settle for, and only the insurance company knows how much they are ready to invest.
But neither party knows what the other party is thinking.
A settlement isn’t agreed upon in a day. The parties typically go back and forth for a while till a compromise is reached, and an amount that is agreeable to both sides is negotiated.
If you’re content with what the parties are offering, you can accept the offer. However, if you’re not satisfied with the amount offered, you can file a lawsuit and seek the compensation you need.
You must remember that there is a limit to how long after the incident you can file a personal injury claim. If you don’t file a claim within the legally prescribed limits, you will never be allowed to file a claim for that incident.
Step #6: File A Lawsuit
Most personal injury claims are settled, and no lawsuit is filed.
However, you must file a lawsuit if
what the party is offering doesn’t satisfy you.
Being aware of the trial process can help you make better decisions. It will also help you get the best compensation possible.
Here’s a breakdown of the trial process:
- A complaint about damages is filed, and the document submitted includes your claims and the amount you are seeking as compensation. This is how a lawsuit is initiated.
- Next comes the litigation period. Information will be exchanged between the parties involved, and you will likely need to give a deposition – meaning you will need to testify under oath regarding your injuries. Depositions are recorded for later use in the trial.
- The case will then go to trial. The court and the jury will be presented with the evidence.
- It’s a common misconception that the judge decides how much you will be compensated if you file a personal injury claim. However, unless it’s a bench trial, the jury will determine if you win in the lawsuit and the amount you will be compensated.
Collecting the right evidence and hiring the right lawyer can be of great help for getting the proper compensation, especially if you’ve been severely injured.