If you are thinking of filing a personal injury claim, it is not just a matter of filling in a form or two and then you collect a payment. There is a process that needs to be followed in order to reach a successful settlement. If you have been injured in an accident that was not your fault, hire an experienced personal injury lawyer who will go through the process with you and make sure everything is covered.
Seek medical treatment
First thing first – you must have suffered an injury to make a personal injury claim.
Secondly – your injury must have arisen from an accident or incident that was not your fault.
This means you must visit a doctor or a hospital for your own peace of mind and to ensure that some evidence that outlines the extent of your injuries. Your doctor should also make a note or issue a report with your treatment program and the expected timeframe for treatment and outcome of treatment. If you avoid seeing a doctor as soon after the accident as possible, you run the risk of having your claimed injury challenged, with accusations that it has nothing to do with the accident. If there is any doubt that your injury was caused by the accident, this gives the insurer the opportunity to reduce, or refuse any offer of compensation.
Choosing a lawyer
Most personal injury claims are large enough to warrant hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer and you should make your choice as soon after the injury as is possible. This allows your attorney to follow your case through from almost the day you were injured to the settlement date. Some lawyers don’t ask for upfront fees. This will only be the case where your lawyer has reviewed the circumstances of your claim and believes you have a chance of being successful. Lawyers normally deduct their fees when your claim has been settled and before you receive payment.
Generally speaking, if your injury means you must take time off work for more than two days, a bone has been broken, or your medical bills are likely to be higher than you can cover, you should consider hiring a personal injury lawyer.
Your lawyer will investigate your claim and review medical records
Typically a personal injury attorney will know if you are likely to win a personal injury lawsuit just by reviewing an outline of the incident and details of your injuries. Some detailed questioning will take place to ensure all the facts regarding the accident are properly recorded. If the injuries are serious, a personal injury claim could take some time to finalize as you are entitled to medical treatment costs for the complete length of treatment. In some injuries, this could run into years. You may qualify for other types of support while you are recovering too, such as adapting your home to suit any short or long term disability and the cost of home nursing. Your lawyer will want to ensure that no stone is left unturned when calculating the true value of your personal injury claim.
If the claim can be settled amicably an out of court settlement may be negotiated between your lawyer and the insurer of the other side. This won’t be the case if there are any permanent injuries to be accounted for. Your lawyer will file the suit to ensure you get the full amount of compensation available.
Many lawyers will wait until the treatment has been stopped before filing a personal injury claim. This protects you against undervaluing the case. Once the lawsuit has been filed the clock starts ticking. There is usually a limited time allowed to finally settle the claim depending where in the world the lawsuit is taking place.
The filing of the lawsuit is not the end of the matter. Evidence has to be collected, prepared, filed and tested to help determine the value of your claim. Once all of the evidence is collected, the matter is prepared for trial. The determination of the court after trial will finalize the amount of your claim to be settled. It may take some time after judgment is given before you receive your final payment. Personal injury claims are not like winning the lottery. A lot of time and hard work is involved before getting a payment.