Every personal injury claim is different depending on the type of injury incurred. However, the claim process follows the same guideline to achieve a settlement. Some individuals may do it alone, but hiring a lawyer is the best option to get the most out of your claim. The following guide presents a step-by-step process for handling a personal injury claim.
Seeking Medical Attention
After being hurt in an accident, getting medical attention is the first and most essential step to take in order to recover from your injuries. After an accident, some individuals incorrectly believe that they do not require medical attention since they do not experience any acute symptoms as a result of the incident. Even if you might not feel any pain or discomfort immediately after the injury, you can find that a year later, you’re in a lot of agony and anguish.
In addition, if you choose to ignore the symptoms of your injuries by avoiding medical treatment, it will hurt your chances of receiving financial compensation for those injuries. Your failure to seek medical attention in the immediate aftermath of the accident will be used by the insurance companies representing the party responsible for causing the accident to cast doubt on the extent of your injuries and the legitimacy of your demand for financial compensation.
Find Out if your Insurance Will Pay for It
If you were hurt and you suspect that another party is at fault, you may want to investigate whether or not your potential defendant carries insurance that would pay for your damages. The ability to actually collect any damages judgment the jury hands down following a personal injury lawsuit depends on this. Even if you win a judgment, it may not end well if the defendant has no insurance to cover the damages or assets to pay the judgment.
Think about the seriousness of your wounds and whether or not your personal insurance policy can help. You should think twice about launching a lawsuit against someone who has no insurance if your injuries weren’t severe, the blame wasn’t obvious, and you had health coverage.
You Should Talk to a Lawyer
When it comes to minor injuries, you may be able to handle the settlement on your own. For instance, if the occurrence was quite minor and you only needed to see a doctor once because of some minor symptoms, you might not need insurance. Personal injury claims laws may differ from region to region; therefore, you should check what works for your region. Therefore as a New Jersey resident, Centerville, NJ, personal injury lawyers may be necessary to help you recoup the full cost of your medical treatment if you have been in a serious accident and/or treatment for your injuries is ongoing or requires repeated visits to the hospital. You should talk to an attorney about your case even if you decide not to hire one.
Limits on how long you have to launch a lawsuit due to things like the “statute of limitations” may apply in ways you aren’t anticipating. You may find that filing a claim is more difficult than you anticipated, even if your accident or injury seems minor at first.
The following stage is to keep up with medical care and document all of your injuries and any losses as thoroughly as possible. In other words, now is the time to gather all of your medical records and bills from your doctors. Talk to your doctor about the full extent of your injuries and the ongoing care you’ll need, and gather estimates for the cost of repairs to your vehicle and other belongings, document any time off work, etc.
Negotiating an Agreement
Before or after bringing suit, your lawyer might send a demand for compensation to the liable party or their insurance company. Personal injury claims are similar to dealing with a used car dealer in terms of the negotiation process. It’s important to remember that both parties will evaluate your claim differently. Both you, the claimant, and the insurance company, the respondent, know what you’re willing to accept and what they’re willing to invest.
However, you cannot assume that the other person will reveal their innermost thoughts to you. Thus, you embark into a process of “back and forth” with offers and counter-offers until either a compromise is achieved or a suit is filed, and the matter continues to trial in order to arrive at an amount that is agreeable to both sides.
A Compromise is made, or Legal Action is Taken
If you and your lawyer have come to an agreeable resolution in your negotiations, you should accept it. But if the response does not make a fair offer, you can always sue for the money you need. However, there are time constraints that the law imposes on filing a personal injury claim, so keep that in mind. A personal injury claim for this accident will be time-barred indefinitely if you don’t file it within the statute of limitations period.
File a Lawsuit
Numerous cases of personal injury are resolved out of court. Legal action may be required if attempts at alternative dispute resolution fail. If you want to win your personal injury case in court, you need to know what to expect from the trial process. This is how it works:
- A lawsuit is started when a written document outlining the plaintiff’s allegations and the amount of money they are seeking in damages is filed with the court.
- During the litigation phase, the parties share relevant information with one another. As part of this process, you may be asked to give a deposition, which is essentially just sworn testimony about your injuries that is recorded for use at trial.
- At trial, both sides will submit their cases to the judge, and the jury will decide which side’s evidence is more convincing based on how they weigh the competing claims of fact.
- In the end, if you win your case, the judge or jury will decide how much money you should get. Most people believe that if they file a personal injury lawsuit, the judge will automatically rule in their favor. However, a jury will typically decide not only whether or not you win your lawsuit but also the amount of money you will receive as compensation unless the matter is tied to the bench in a “bench trial.”
Filing a complaint in the civil division of your state’s court system plays a role in initiating a personal injury lawsuit in the event that your insurance claim is denied or settlement negotiations fail. One of the laws you should be aware of is the statute of limitations for personal injuries in your state. You only have a certain period of time from the date of your accident in which to file a case due to this statute of limitations. Therefore, it’s important to be familiar with it and follow its requirements.