How to File a Personal Injury Claim
After getting injured, it’s hard to think about anything else. The pain and suffering, the medical bills, and the injustice of it all make the initial injury so much worse. If you were injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may be eligible to seek compensation. Here is a guide to filing a personal injury claim step-by-step that you can follow after an accident to get the settlement you need.
Seek Medical Help
Immediately after your accident, it’s vital that you seek medical care before doing anything else. Even if your situation doesn’t seem too dire, not seeking care can result in long-lasting health problems. Rule out any unseen injuries and take care of your immediate medical needs first and foremost. Doing so will make sure you’re healthy now and prepared to file a personal injury case later.
Consider Hiring an Attorney
The sooner you think about hiring a personal injury attorney, the better. In some cases, like slip and fall accidents or car wrecks, your attorney may be able to arrive on the scene where your personal injuries took place and gather evidence for you.
However, you may not want to hire an attorney in some cases. If your accident and injuries were minor or your insurance settlement is sufficient for your lost wages and other losses, you likely won’t need an attorney at all. However, it’s rare that both of those things are true. Most of the time, you can get a higher settlement by hiring an attorney, not to mention the benefit of having an expert handle the paperwork and settlement negotiations associated with your case.
Evaluate the Settlement Offer
Once you’re injured, you will make personal injury claims with your insurance or the insurance of the other party, if the defendant is liable. Although each type of personal injury case is different, you will likely also need to make a list of demands based on the damages associated with the accident.
The insurance company will respond to the claim with a settlement offer based on your injury and other damages. If this settlement is enough to cover the cost of your injury, you can accept the settlement and be done. However, this is rare.
If you’re not pleased with the settlement, you will need to negotiate directly with the insurance company. Attorneys are particularly useful in negotiations. They know the usual settlement amounts for your type of injury and know how to talk effectively with insurance representatives.
Continue with a Lawsuit
Most cases settle without filing a personal injury lawsuit. However, if you can’t reach an agreement with the other party, you can file a lawsuit against them to seek justice in front of a judge or jury. This lawsuit will likely start with a discovery phase, where each side performs a case review based on medical records and other documents requested.
Take into account that not all lawyers will go through the personal injury lawsuit process. Hire a lawyer that will represent clients in a lawsuit, even if you don’t think your case will end up in court.
In the end, the process of a personal injury case is mostly straightforward but can get complicated quickly if you are seriously injured and aren’t being awarded the settlement you deserve.
So When Do I Need a Lawyer For a Personal Injury Claim?
If you’ve been in an accident or incident of any kind – from slipping and falling to being in a car wreck – you may wonder if you need to file a personal injury claim.
Here’s what you need to know.
PERSONAL INJURY CLAIMS HAVE TO INVOLVE INJURY
For starters, there has to be some kind of damages involved when it comes to a personal injury for your claim to be successful.
Let’s say you’re involved in a minor fender-bender. Someone taps your car from behind and dents your fender. It’s not a big deal – no one is injured – and the insurance companies pay for everything. In this case, there’s no need for a lawyer.
But let’s say you get into an accident, and you get injured. You have to go to the hospital and get treated, but insurance companies won’t pay for all of your treatment. That represents the beginnings of damages you can pursue.
The more serious the injury, the more of a personal injury claim you have, all other things considered equal. You have to be able to show the court that you were wronged and harmed in some way that has value of some sort. This includes medical treatment and lost wages, but also includes payment for pain and suffering.
So, if you were injured, then you should strongly consider a personal injury claim and contact a reputable attorney.
SOMEONE ELSE HAS TO BE RESPONSIBLE
In Alabama, if you are found by the court to be at least partially responsible for your injury, then you won’t receive any compensation. This is not necessarily the case, in situations in other states outside Alabama (such as Tennessee, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi). So, know that a personal injury lawsuit will only succeed if someone else is at fault.
That’s why talking to your lawyer is so important. You need to know what to do and who you should go after when it comes to getting justly compensated.
If in doubt, talk to a lawyer. It’s free and you risk nothing. You may or may not have a case, but until you discuss your options with an attorney, you won’t know for sure.
Wettermark Keith has a roster of experienced personal injury attorneys who have represented families from all walks of life in serious car accident cases. Our commitment to caring for you and your family is built on a strong foundation of compassion. Contact our team to learn how you can get justice for your case.
HERE'S WHAT TO DO NEXT
If you or a loved one have been injured and think you might have a case, call us now for a free consultation.