Personal injury can be described as an injury sustained by a person due to another’s negligence or wrongdoing. Personal injuries can range from minor scrapes and bruises to severe injuries that require extensive medical treatment and rehabilitation. As a victim of personal injury, you have certain rights and may be entitled to compensation for your losses. Here are some of the key points to consider when filing a personal injury claim.
1. Get a lawyer
A personal injury lawyer will help you understand your rights and represent you throughout the process. Your lawyer will be able to offer you personalized advice and counsel regarding your claim, negotiate a settlement on your behalf, and advocate for your interests in court if necessary. Additionally, these experts have extensive knowledge of the laws governing personal injury claims, so they can make sure you get the most appropriate compensation possible. It’s important to note that most lawyers offer free initial consultations and only get paid if they win your case. Also, in most states, personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, meaning they will not ask for payment until you have been compensated for your injuries.
2. Know the statute of limitations
You need to be aware of the time limit that applies in your state for filing a personal injury claim. Each state has a different statute of limitations, which is the deadline for submitting a legal claim. If you fail to file within this time frame, you could lose your right to pursue compensation for your injury. It’s important to note that filing an insurance claim does not extend the statute of limitations; only court action can do so. While the exact time limit will vary depending on the situation and state laws, it is typically anywhere between one to three years.
3. Gather evidence
As with any legal case, it’s essential to gather evidence in order to support your claims and maximize your chances of success. This includes obtaining records such as medical bills, proof of lost wages or earnings due to injuries, and witness statements if available. You should also take pictures of any visible property damage resulting from the incident. Your lawyer will be able to advise you on the type of evidence needed for your specific case. It’s also important to note that any evidence you submit must be relevant and accurate.
4. File an insurance claim
Once the extent of your injuries is known, you can file a claim with the insurance company of the at-fault party. It is important to provide detailed information about your injury and medical expenses in order to receive full compensation for your damages. This should include any documentation from doctors or therapists that detail the type of injuries sustained and how long it will take for them to heal. You should also keep track of all relevant financial costs associated with your injuries, such as lost wages or out-of-pocket expenses incurred due to the accident.
5. Hire a third-party adjuster
If the insurance company refuses to pay your claim or offers a settlement that is much lower than expected, you may need to hire a third-party adjuster. This individual will review the evidence and work with both sides of the case in order to reach an agreement on a fair compensation amount. If necessary, they can also negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf in order to get you the best deal possible. Having a third-party adjuster involved can significantly increase your chances of getting full and fair compensation for your injuries.
6. Consider alternative dispute resolution
If you and the other party cannot reach an agreement through insurance claims or a third-party adjuster, you may need to consider other options for resolving your dispute. Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is a form of negotiation that can help both parties come to a fair agreement without the need for a trial or court hearing. This could include mediation, arbitration, or even online dispute resolution methods. It’s important to note that while ADR may be faster and more cost-effective than going through the court system, it won’t necessarily give you the best possible outcome.