Accidents happen, but more often than not, they don’t come out of nowhere. People who suffer personal injuries often find that another person’s negligence is at least partially to blame. When that’s the case, they can file personal injury claims to get compensated for their losses.
What Is a Personal Injury Claim?
A personal injury claim is an insurance claim that gets filed after one person suffers some sort of harm as a result of an accident or injury for which another person is legally responsible. In most cases, personal injury claims can be resolved through negotiations. However, some cases also go to court.
There are nearly as many types of personal injury claims as there are ways for people to hurt themselves, so the details for each case are usually quite different. That said, there are some key considerations that apply in nearly all circumstances. Read on to find out more about personal injury claims before consulting a lawyer.
Why It’s Important to Hire a Lawyer
If the responsible party carries an insurance policy that will cover the damages owed to an injured person, it may be tempting to just accept whatever payout comes up and move on. It’s always wiser to speak with a lawyer before accepting a settlement. Most personal injury attorneys will offer free initial consultations to help potential clients determine whether they have legitimate cases and explain available legal options, so there’s nothing to lose and everything to gain.
A personal injury lawyer can determine liability, gather evidence, and negotiate with the responsible party’s insurance company. If the insurance company refuses to offer a fair settlement, the lawyer can take the case to court. Either way, it’s best to have legal representation.
The Claim Filing Process
Personal injury lawyers can also help clients with the claim filing process. However, most people still want to get a general idea of what it involves. Regardless of the type of injury incurred, an accident victim will be expected to:
- Send a demand letter to the at-fault party’s insurance company that details economic and non-economic damages. If the insurance company offers a reasonable settlement, this may be the only step that needs to be taken.
File an official complaint in court if the insurance company refuses to offer just compensation. Once the complaint is filed, the defendant must respond within 30 days.
Go to court, if necessary. Most cases are settled through negotiations, either with or without filing a formal complaint, but a trial may be inevitable if negotiations break down and the involved parties cannot reach an agreement.
There are three different ways that lawyers can get paid. Some charge hourly rates and others charge flat fees. However, most personal injury lawyers charge contingency fees, which means they will get paid a percentage of the settlement after the case is over. This fee schedule is ideal for personal injury victims since it means they won’t have to worry about coming up with extra money upfront on top of what’s required to pay for medical care.
Schedule a Consultation
Been injured in an accident that may have been caused by another person’s negligence? The best way to keep learning about options in personal injury cases is to schedule a consultation with a local lawyer. Make a list of questions to ask at the appointment to get an idea of what to expect and how likely it is that the case will be able to move forward.