When you are injured in an accident, a whole legal process can be a little confusing and overwhelming. This process includes finding a trustworthy attorney that will represent your interests while dealing with insurance companies and if necessary, in court.
Knowing these basics about the development of your claim will greatly benefit you by giving you a familiarity with what is coming next and allowing you to plan ahead. Let’s break down each area of the personal injury claim process.
Retaining an Attorney
The first thing you need to do after being injured in an accident is to research and retain a personal injury attorney. Doing so will offer assistance that will significantly offset any negatives in the end. It is known that injury victims who hire an attorney collect larger settlements, have less stress to deal with, and have an advantage over the process since they have an educated professional working on their behalf.
Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, meaning they don’t get paid unless they settle your case.
Understanding a Personal Injury Claim
A personal injury claim is a formal procedure in which the injured party (plaintiff) seeks financial compensation from another party (defendant) that they feel is liable for the accident.
Sending a Demand Letter
Once you have completed your medical treatment, and your attorney collected all of your medical bills and records it’s time send a demand letter. The demand letter is the central focus of any personal injury claim. In it, the injured person lays out their argument to the insurance company for why they should pay for the damages. This includes:
- Why the defendant is legally responsible or liable.
- A summary of the injuries sustained.
- What medical treatments were required and how much they cost.
- How much income the plaintiff lost because of time off work.
- Any other damages suffered, like pain and suffering.
- The insurance company may review the claim and decide to pay or they may decide that they will not pay out at all (called a denied claim). Insurance companies may deny a claim because:
- they feel the accident was the injured’ s fault,
- because of a lack of evidence,
- because they think the injuries weren’t caused by the accident,
- or any other reasons they see fit.
If the insurance company won’t pay—or won’t pay nearly enough—then the injured party and their attorney may move on to the next step in the process: filing a complaint. Which we will explain in our next blog.
Thank you to our friends and contributors at Bott & Associates, LTD. for their insight into personal injury.