Motor vehicle accidents happen every day. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 3,700 people die of vehicular crashes across the world. However, not all motor accidents lead to death; some result in serious personal injuries.
When this happens due to no fault of your own, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, time off work, and other expenses. It’s important to know the steps you should take if you have been injured in a collision. But first, you have to understand what you’re dealing with.
What is a Personal Injury?
A personal injury is an injury to one’s personality, reputation, or character. It can also refer to damage done to someone’s body, home, car, or other possessions. Almost any act that results in personal harm could be considered to be a personal injury, such as slip and falls, medical malpractice, sexual abuse, and the most common of them all, motor vehicle accidents.
What is a Personal Injury Claim?
A personal injury claim is when one party (the plaintiff) sues another party (the defendant) for compensation after an accident causes injury or property damage. It could be because of negligence on behalf of the other person involved in the incident, or it could be because of reckless behavior on the part of the defendant. But it could be because of intentional harm done to another person.
Why Should You File a Claim?
If you are injured in an accident, one of the top priorities should be your recovery. However, while recovering is necessary, there are other benefits to filing a claim that can impact you long after your injuries have healed.
One of the most important reasons why you should file a personal injury claim is because it ensures that you will receive fair compensation. If you are injured, insurance companies will often try to reduce the value of your claim by arguing that your injuries were not as serious as you say they were or that it was not their fault that you were hurt.
Another reason why survivors need to file a lawsuit is that it can help hold negligent parties accountable for their actions. Victims may not be able to hold negligent parties accountable on their own, but with the help of a reliable car accident lawyer who will strengthen their case, they’ll have a much higher chance of succeeding.
How Can You File a Claim?
Filing a personal injury claim is a big decision — and you don’t want to do it wrong. To ensure success, follow these seven steps:
- Figure out if you’re eligible for compensation, and how much it can be worth.
- Gather as much evidence as possible to substantiate the incident.
- Talk to an attorney about your case, and decide whether they’re the right fit.
- Complete the proof of loss paperwork and submit it to the insurance company.
- Settle with the insurance company, and begin your recovery.
- Choose between going to court or accepting a pretrial settlement.
- Finally, collect all the compensation you’ve been awarded.
If in case, the insurance company contests your claim and you’re forced to go to court, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit with the help of your attorney. Here’s how the process would go:
- The attorney will take your case and file a personal injury lawsuit.
- You’ll go through discovery, in which you will provide proof and deposition.
- If the case goes to trial, a judge or jury will ultimately decide your verdict.
- Finally, if you’re awarded compensation by a court order or jury decision, it must be paid by your insurance company.
How Long Does it Take to File a Claim?
It can take anywhere from several months to several years for an injury claim to be finalized, depending on how much evidence you have and how long the opposing party takes to respond. The length of time also depends on whether you settle with, or go to trial against, the insurance company.
What Do You Need to File a Claim?
You do not need much for an injury claim, but you’ll want to gather as much evidence as possible, including:
- A police report of the incident
- Photos of property damage or injuries
- Detailed statements from witnesses who saw the accident
- An inspection of the scene, if possible
- A doctor’s note to explain your injuries and treatment plan
- Any other documentation that can support your case
If you have any or all of these items, keep them organized in a file. You may also want to keep a journal so that you can write down dates related to your claim as they come up. This way, when you are asked about the length of time your injuries have been affecting you, you will be able to answer it accurately.
Getting involved in an accident that wasn’t your fault can be devastating. But through a personal injury claim, you’ll have the opportunity to seek restitution for what you’ve lost. So, follow these steps, and hopefully, filing a claim will become much easier for you.