No one likes to think of being injured in an accident, but if a time comes when you are injured, it is imperative to understand you will not be entitled to monetary damages until after you have formally filed an injury claim against whoever is responsible. This may prove a complicated process for anyone unfamiliar with the intricacies of the law.
To elaborate on the process of filing such a claim, therefore, we have provided an informative guide on how to effectively navigate the legal system surrounding your claim to ensure any injuries obtained are adequately compensated for. Below are steps on how to file for a personal injury claim.
1.) Initial Medical Treatment
Many people take for granted the importance of seeking medical treatment directly after sustaining an injury. In many cases, injuries are not apparent until some time after the initial incident. If you sought medical treatment directly after an accident, regardless of whether or not an injury was noticed, a potential claim will have a documented medical trail to follow.
If you forgo medical treatment because you do not believe you need it, you may develop symptoms of an injury at a later date. Not addressing those potential injuries at an earlier time may preclude yourself from being able to claim damages in the future. The other party’s insurance company is going to question the nature and seriousness of your injuries to mitigate any damages it may incur. Not having a documented medical treatment record for the court to follow at trial can, therefore, work in their favor.
2.) Speak With an Experienced Attorney
While it is possible to be a pro se litigant in your injury case, it is not advised unless you are certain no injury has occurred. Since that is difficult to access so soon after an accident, speaking with a licensed professional sooner rather than later is severely advantageous.
However, if your injuries involved multiple trips to a healthcare facility, then you could greatly benefit from hiring a lawyer knowledgeable in case law, and the process involved in filing your unique claim. Every state’s court system is a little different. If your accident occurred in the state of Kentucky, there are many attorneys qualified to discuss your claim, but be wary of anyone who makes you promises. Hiring the right attorney could be one of the most important decisions you make. Billy Johnson is a Kentucky personal injury lawyer who can personally help you navigate the claim process in the most effective manner possible without deferring your claim to someone less qualified. This can mean the difference between winning your case and losing it. Without the help of an experienced professional by your side, it is uncertain whether you will be adequately compensated for medical costs associated with your accident. It is imperative, therefore, not to leave your future to chance.
Talking to an attorney after an accident is advised regardless of whether or not you decide to hire him or her. A personal injury attorney will be knowledgeable about the law surrounding your claim. The process can be daunting to those unfamiliar with it. Speaking with someone who understands the intricacies of the law can help establish your unique needs at the onset, obstacles to obtaining them, and how to achieve and overcome those obstacles.
3.) Initiating a Claim
Once a claim is initiated, it is time for the opposing party or parties to be notified. Once the opposing party is notified, a claim can be potentially settled.
4.) Information Gathering
In this step of the process, it is important to gather all of the medical information possible regarding your injuries. The exact diagnosis, along with invoices for received treatment, as well as estimates for upcoming procedures should be gathered to establish the full impact of the claim.
It is also important during this stage to collect any incidental costs incurred such as damaged property and/or lost wages.
5.) Settlement Negotiation
At any time in the claim process, your lawyer can negotiate compensation with the responsible party.
Negotiating a settlement requires the skills necessary to ensure your losses are recouped. No party will want to invest in a costly trial unless they view that going to trial is the least costly alternative. Settlement negotiation, therefore, is often the crux of the personal injury claim process.
6.) Settlement Established
If you reach a settlement agreement with the opposing party, your claim will end here. If however, the defendant is unwilling, or unable, to meet your requests, a lawsuit is filed, and a trial will be set in place to determine if and how much damages should be awarded.
It is important to keep in mind that the timely filing of a claim is critical. If you wait too long, you may be precluded by law from ever filing. This will make damages impossible to recover. Speaking with an attorney before initiating your claim can help mitigate such pitfalls.
The vast majority of personal injury claims are settled out of court. However, if a settlement cannot be reached, litigation is inevitable. An attorney can help you understand the rules surrounding litigation. It is safe to say, it would be foolish to attempt legal action without one.
The Claim Process
A personal injury claim is started by filing a complaint with the court seeking monetary damages. A formal complaint is a form stating an injury claim, and the amount of compensation one is seeking to receive for those injuries. If you file a complaint, you will often be required to swear under oath regarding your injuries. This deposition, as it is called, can be used during the litigation period.
All evidence is presented at trial. A jury generally debates the facts presented and decides which side is more credible. (Unless it is a bench trial in which case a judge will decide who will persevere.)
If the judge/jury decides in your favor, they will determine the monetary reward you are subsequently entitled to. These damages could be specifically what you asked for, or it could be more or less depending on the circumstance.
If you are injured, do not leave your future in jeopardy. An experienced attorney can help you file your claim correctly, so you are not left with unresolved medical debt you struggle to pay back. If you wish to learn more regarding the claim filing process, make sure to contact a licensed attorney to help navigate your future success.