Personal injury claims are a legal process by which an individual seeks compensation for damages sustained due to someone else’s negligence. Personal injuries can occur in various situations, including car accidents, slips, falls, dog bites, medical malpractice, etc. If you have been injured in an accident, it is essential to understand the personal injury claims process and your legal rights. This guide will explain the personal injury claims process in detail.
Step 1: Seek Medical Attention
The first and most important step after an accident is to seek medical attention. Even if you feel fine, it is crucial to have a medical professional evaluate you for any hidden injuries or underlying conditions that may not be visible to the naked eye. This medical report will also be essential evidence for your personal injury claim.
Step 2: Gather Evidence
The next step is to gather evidence. That includes taking photos of the accident scene, including any damage to vehicles or property, and collecting contact information for any witnesses. Keep track of any medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses related to your injury.
Step 3: Contact an Attorney
It is always best to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to determine if you have a viable claim. A personal injury attorney can provide guidance on the legal process, negotiate with insurance companies, and represent you in court if necessary.
Step 4: File a Claim
Once you have decided to pursue a personal injury claim, your attorney will file a claim with the insurance company of the at-fault party. The insurance company will investigate the claim and determine whether to accept or deny liability.
Step 5: Negotiate a Settlement
If the insurance company accepts liability, your attorney will negotiate a settlement. This settlement should cover all your medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages related to your injury. Your attorney may recommend taking the case to court if a settlement cannot be reached.
Step 6: Litigation
If your case goes to court, your attorney will represent you and present evidence to support your claim. The court will then decide whether to award you damages and the award amount.
Types of Damages
There are two types of damages that may be awarded in a personal injury claim: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages such as medical bills, lost wages, and property damage are easily quantifiable. These damages can be proven with invoices, receipts, and other documentation.
Non-economic damages are more subjective and include pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life. These damages are more difficult to quantify but can still be awarded in a personal injury claim.
Statute of Limitations
It is important to note that there is a statute of limitations on personal injury claims. This means that there is a specific deadline by which you must file a claim. In most cases, the statute of limitations is two to three years from the date of the accident, but this can vary depending on the state and the type of claim.
Personal injury claims can be complex and require the expertise of an experienced attorney. If you have been injured in an accident, seeking medical attention, gathering evidence, and consulting with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible is essential. An attorney can guide you through the legal process, negotiate with insurance companies, and represent you in court if necessary. Remember that there is a statute of limitations on personal injury claims, so acting quickly to protect your legal rights is essential.