Accidents can happen anytime and anywhere when we least expect them, leaving us with injuries, financial losses and burdens, and emotional distress. If you have been injured due to someone else’s negligence, you can receive fair compensation for your losses by filing a personal injury claim. Filing a personal injury lawsuit can seem complex and daunting, especially if you have never done it before. This step-by-step guide will help you navigate the complicated process and provide you with the information you need to protect your rights and get fair compensation.
1. Get Medical Attention
Your health is of utmost priority, so seek medical attention as soon as possible after an accident. Since some people don’t immediately feel pain or other symptoms after an accident, they assume they don’t require medical attention. However, consulting a doctor despite the severity of your injuries is crucial. Some injuries like whiplash or internal bleeding do not manifest immediately, and delaying treatment can worsen them over time. Additionally, not seeking treatment can also weaken your case. Not only will there not be a documented record of your injuries to be used as evidence, but the defense might claim your injuries existed before the accident or raise concerns about the legitimacy of your claim by arguing that they aren’t severe since you did not seek medical attention immediately.
2. Report the Incident
You will also have to report the incident to the relevant authorities. For car crashes, assaults, or slips-and-falls on someone’s authority, contact the police. They will investigate the scene, gather witness statements, and document the incident details in their report. Obtain a copy of the police report for your records, as it will be valuable evidence in your claim. If the accident wasn’t severe enough to warrant police involvement, directly inform the responsible party, for example, property owner, manager, etc., about your injury.
3. Gather Evidence
Gathering evidence is crucial for a strong personal injury claim. It helps establish the details of the accident, the extent of your injuries, and who is liable. Capture photos of the accident scene from different angles, and take photographs of your injuries over time to document their progression and severity (be sure to capture clear close-up shots!). If anyone witnessed the accident, get their contact information and written statements describing what they saw and heard. Collect all medical records of your injuries and obtain copies of any police reports filed after the incident.
4. Hire An Attorney
The next step is to hire a qualified personal injury attorney through law firms like Garland, Samuel & Loeb. Handling personal injury claims can be overwhelming, especially when recovering from injuries. An attorney takes care of the legal paperwork, deadlines, and communications, allowing you to focus on your health and well-being. Personal injury lawyers have extensive knowledge of personal injury laws, insurance policies, and negotiation strategies. They can accurately assess your case, identify potential issues, establish liability, and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. Your attorney will also handle negotiations with the insurance company of the party at fault. If they agree to ensure you receive a fair settlement covering your medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages, the case can be resolved without going to court.
5. Filing a Lawsuit
If negotiations with the liable party don’t result in a fair settlement, filing a lawsuit is the final step in a personal injury claim. Your attorney will draft and file a formal complaint with the court. This document contains details of the allegations against the defendant, the legal basis of your claims, and the damages you’re seeking. The defendant will be notified of the lawsuit and will be required to respond within a set timeframe. Before the trial, either party can file motions asking the judge to dismiss the lawsuit based on procedural errors or lack of evidence. If no motions are filed, the case will proceed to trial, and the jury’s verdict will determine the liable party and the amount of negotiation the plaintiff should receive.
Remember that this is a general guide, and the specific steps can vary depending on your case and location. Consulting a qualified personal injury lawyer in your area is crucial for personalized advice and representation. They will help you navigate the complex process of filing a personal injury claim and ensure you receive fair compensation for your losses.