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A personal injury claim is a litigation taken by an individual after being injured or involved in an accident because of negligence or actions/inactions of another party. Asbestos-related diseases, work-related diseases, food poisoning, scalds, sprains, broken bones, spinal injuries, brain injuries, and scarring are some of the common personal injury damages that result in the filing of a personal injury claim.
Talking to an attorney about a compensation claim can be daunting. The truth is that it’s one of the conversations that no person ever wants to have. However, for people who have been injured, including their families, making a personal injury claim is something that can lead their way to recovery.
This post provides a step-by-step guide to making a personal injury claim.
Take a look at the process below
1. Speak With An Attorney
A personal injury lawyer is one of the best people to advise you if you’re unsure of what to do after getting involved in an accident. They can prepare and submit your personal injury claim application by assisting you in gathering the needed information in one place. An attorney will require details of the accident, photos of the injuries sustained, details of your previous injuries or any pre-existing condition, details of the person you think is at fault for the accident. They’ll also ask for a list of expenses incurred because of the accident, such as medical bills.
When making a personal injury claim, identifying the right person at fault is crucial. If upon review, the authorities assessing your situation don’t agree that the person you’ve identified is really the one at fault, you could end up paying their legal fees instead. It’s where an attorney becomes a great help.
Note that you’re entitled to pursue a personal injury claim even without the assistance of an attorney. You can act on your own behalf. Suppose you’re planning to go that route. In that case, it’s best to learn your rights as a victim and understand how to value your injury, determine liability, and negotiate with insurance companies. You may also seek the help of websites that provide free claim guide, such as Injury Claim Coach.
2. Seek Necessary Medical Treatment
After getting injured in an accident, another very important thing to do is to seek medical treatment. Because they’re not feeling any immediate symptoms, some people commit the mistake of assuming that getting examined by a physician isn’t necessary. Many accident victims actually find themselves in serious pain after a year despite not feeling any discomfort or pain immediately following the emergency.
Also, since you’re after being compensated for your injuries, foregoing medical treatment will only work to your disadvantage. That’s because the fact that you didn’t seek necessary medical treatment can be used by the responsible party against you. The severity of the injuries and your compensation claim can be called into question because of it.
3. Obtain Medical Reports
Another reason why you have to seek necessary medical treatment is that the medical report can be used to strengthen your claim. It confirms the details of your sustained injuries. Your lawyer can send a request to the medical practitioner to request the report. To illustrate the details of your injuries, as well as the estimated recovery time and the necessary treatment details, a doctor’s prognosis can be obtained. Your claim will further be strengthened by the medical prognosis.
If you’ve sustained psychological injuries and had to be treated by a psychologist, the same process will be taken.
4. Set Up A Personal Injury Claim
Informing the individual who’s liable for your injuries that you plan on filing a claim will be your next step. Again, you can either do it on your own or be assisted by a personal injury attorney. The insurance provider of the liable party should also be informed that you’re setting up a claim against their client. Letting the other party and their insurer know about your plan can, sometimes, result in your claim getting quickly settled.
5. Negotiate For A Settlement
Before or after filing suit, you, with the guidance of your lawyer, can make a compensation demand to either the person responsible for your injury or their insurance provider. That’s why informing them that you’re setting up a claim is important.
If you’ve tried negotiating with a used car dealer before about the price of a certain vehicle that they’re selling, negotiating a claim will be a familiar situation to you. During the negotiation process, each side will usually have their own idea of the case’s worth. The liable individual or their insurance company knows how much they’re willing to invest, and you know how much you’re willing to accept. The problem is that what the other party is really thinking remains a mystery to both of you.
What happens next is that you’ll enter into a process of exchanging offers and counter-offers. You’ll only arrive at an amount that’s agreeable to both sides when a compromise is reached. Otherwise, a lawsuit will be necessary, and the case will undergo a trial.
6. Assessment Of Your Personal Injury Claim
If the negotiation between you and the liable party or their insurer fails. The decision will have to come from the authorities. They’ll assess your claim by reviewing all pieces of evidence. If they conclude in your favor, they’ll come up with a suggested settlement amount that the party at fault has to pay to you.
Note that you’re only given a limited time to accept or reject the suggested amount. Also, the offer can’t be negotiated. While the final decision still rests with you, it’s best to consult with experts about it. This stage of the process can have two possible outcomes—it’s either an “order to pay” will be issued if you and the other party agreed to the suggestion from the authorities or authorization to move to trial comes out so that legal proceedings can resolve the matter
The step-by-step guide discussed above should help you successfully make a claim. However, note that every state has a personal injury statute of limitations. That’s one key law that every accident victim should keep in mind. The law limits the amount of time an accident victim has to file a lawsuit after sustaining an injury. If you want your plan of making a personal injury claim to push through, understand and abide by such a law.