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What to Expect When Making a Personal Injury Claim
Individuals who experience physical, mental, or emotional harm as a result of another person's or company's negligence may file a personal injury claim for financial compensation. This type of legal action is considered a civil issue rather than a criminal one and is most often settled outside of court before going to trial. If a person experiences any trauma that results in missed work, medical bills exceeding a thousand dollars, or significant distress, it may be beneficial to file a lawsuit.
Reasons for filing a personal injury claim
Automobile accidents are the leading cause of personal injury claims. Insurance companies may often be resistant to paying out a settlement to cover medical costs. Sometimes, the amount is not enough to include long-term care and other areas of life affected by the injuries. This usually results in legal action from the injured party. Other situations that may warrant this type of lawsuit could include various injuries involving the actions of others:
- Animal bites
- Slipping and falling
- Injuries occurring at another person's home
- Medical malpractice
Legal responsibility in these circumstances can vary. Individuals should seek advice from a personal injury law firm to determine if the case is worth pursuing.
Process for seeking compensation
There are several steps involved in filing a personal injury claim. The amount of time required for each stage varies based on the type of claim and the parties involved.
Anyone suffering from even a minor injury at the fault of others should seek medical evaluation right away. This ensures that proper treatment is received to prevent more serious health issues and to provide a basis for the lawsuit. Insurance companies and lawyers involved need to see medical records to prove the seriousness of the injury.
Consultation with a lawyer
Once an individual decides to file a lawsuit, it is important to meet with several lawyers to find the most qualified firm for the specific case. The selected law firm will begin an investigation into the accident by conducting interviews and reviewing official records. Once this information is thoroughly reviewed, and the lawyer decides to take the case, the attorney helps determine whether to attempt a settlement or go to court.
Litigation, settlement or trial
When the injured party has reached what is known as maximum medical recovery, a lawyer can file a personal injury claim for compensation. Most often, a settlement will be negotiated between both parties outside of court. While the length of the negotiation phase can vary, most individuals should expect a duration between six months and one year. In some cases, if an agreement cannot be reached, a trial is scheduled, and a jury determines if the plaintiff should be awarded compensation and what the amount should be.
Those who experience a significant accident due to the carelessness of others may be wise to file a personal injury claim. This lawsuit can help provide the funds needed to cover medical bills and lost income. A professional lawyer can offer guidance to seek compensation through either a financial settlement or trial in court.
NOTE: This is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.
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Posted on: March 10, 2020 by Kim Bodnar