The websites of personal injury attorneys often break down the types of cases they handle. While there are a range of specialties in this area, filing a personal injury claim can be complex because there are virtually as many types of cases as there are ways to be hurt, plus every case has its own specific circumstances. As complicated as things seem upfront, the following steps can get you on track to filing any type of personal injury claim.
Start Your Personal Injury Claim
Step 1: Seek Medical Care
Even if you don’t have symptoms, seek medical treatment immediately. It can save your life and avoid painful, debilitating issues later. Not to mention provide the evidence and record of your injuries and treatment to prove your claim and negotiate a settlement amount. Also, by not seeking medical treatment, the responsible party’s insurance company can question the severity and cause of your injuries.
Step 2: Review the Other Party’s Insurance Policy
First, check whether the other driver has insurance. Their coverage should kick in when a claim on a covered injury is filed. In the case of a slip and fall, the property owner should have liability coverage. Reviewing their policy can determine whether you would collect damages in a settlement or following a jury trial. Even a favorable judgement won’t result in compensation if the defendant doesn’t have applicable insurance coverage, unless your injuries are significant and the other person is clearly at fault.
Step 3: Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer
If your injuries require extensive treatment and you’ve spent a significant amount of time in the hospital, recovering the cost of treatment is critical. Most people can’t afford such expenses. If someone else is at fault, then they should be held responsible for your expenses and hardship. But you can only file a lawsuit within the statute of limitations. There can be other complicating factors as well, so it’s important to have the help of an experienced attorney.
Navigating Your Personal Injury Claim
The following steps will determine whether you have an injury claim or not and how you go about filing it:
Step 4: Case Review
Your lawyer will look at the facts of the case and the evidence you present them. They’ll also see if an insurance policy covers your claim; if not, they can still accept the case if there’s a chance of collecting. You’ll need all notes, photographs, medical records, proof of vehicle/property damage, details of lost wages, and other applicable documentation for them to review.
Step 5: Demand for Compensation
Once the basis of your claim is established, your attorney can submit a demand for compensation, to either the responsible party or their insurer. This can happen before or after the lawsuit is actually filed.
Step 6: Negotiation
You and your attorney will determine a fair settlement amount and what you’re willing to accept. On the other hand, the insurance company knows what they want to invest. Each side has it’s own perspective. To reach an agreement, offers and counteroffers may be made several times. After going back and forth, hopefully a compromise will be reached. You can continue negotiating until the respondent delivers an acceptable offer
Step 7: Filing a Lawsuit
In the absence of an acceptable offer, you can file a personal injury lawsuit to seek a certain amount of compensation. However, a claim must be filed before the statute of limitations runs out, or else you’ll never be able to file a claim for the accident. A lawsuit is filed by:
- Submitting a written document with your claims and the compensation you’re seeking.
- Exchanging information with the other parties, which often includes a deposition.
- Presenting evidence to the jury, if the case goes to trial.
The jury or judge can decide how much compensation you’ll be awarded. However, you can agree on a settlement at any point in the process. Most personal injury claims never go to trial.
Contact The Law Offices of Jacob Emrani
Personal injury law is often complex and time-consuming. You don’t want to take on the insurance companies yourself. Our Los Angeles personal injury attorney knows how to navigate any type of case and award clients the financial compensation they deserve. We serve all of Southern California; our representatives will fight for you and are available for a free consultation. Call 888-952-2952 to learn more.