If you have suffered injuries in an accident due to the fault or negligence of another person or party, the personal injury claims process can be a bit confusing. While the claims process can be complex, it is also rather straightforward for most cases.
If you have incurred severe injuries as a result of a personal injury accident, it can be tempting to skip all of the steps and head directly to a settlement offer. However, this route typically results in unsatisfactory settlements that only cover a fraction of your actual damages. Learn more about the personal injury claim process below.
1. Act Quickly
After an accident has occurred, you have a limited amount of time to file a claim and/or pursue a personal injury lawsuit. In states like Florida, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims and suits are:
- General Personal Injury Cases: Claims must be filed no more than four years from the date of the accident
- Personal Injury Claims Against The Government: Must be filed within three years of the injury
- Medical Malpractice: Required to file within two years from when the patient was aware of or should have been aware of the injury
- Wrongful Death Suits: Must be filed within two years of the date of death
It should be noted that every state is different. Your personal injury attorney will advise you of the statute of limitations for your specific case.
2. Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
It is possible to file a personal injury claim without the help of an attorney, but it is typically not in your best interest. Negotiating with insurance providers on your own can be an uphill battle, especially when you are in the midst of recovering from an injury. Their goal is to entice you with quick offers, but not pay maximum compensation.
An experienced personal injury lawyer will conduct in-depth investigations, connect with expert witnesses, and negotiate for the compensation that you deserve. Fortunately, most personal injury attorneys offer a free consultation and don’t charge you fees unless you win your case.
3. Send a Demand Letter
After you have decided if you are hiring an attorney, it is time to send a demand letter to the insurance company. This letter will outline your argument to the insurance company for why they should pay for the damages that you have incurred. Examples of what is included in the demand letter can include:
- Reasons why the defendant is at fault
- Injuries that you have sustained
- Medical treatments received and treatments required in the future
- Cost of damages
- Other general damages suffered
4. Accept Settlement of File a Complaint
If the insurance company makes you a fair offer, you have the choice to accept it or decline. The negotiation phase is where a personal injury attorney is most beneficial. Most cases are settled out of court. The amount of evidence that you have against the defendant as well as the experience of your attorney will typically dictate whether or not your claim is successful.
In the rare case that you and the insurance company can’t reach an agreement, your lawyer may advise you to file a personal injury complaint with the court. This action officially notifies the court and the defendant that you intend to take your personal injury case to trial.