If you’ve been in a bad car accident that wasn’t your fault or injured yourself due to someone else’s negligence, you might wonder if you can file a personal injury claim. While it’s true that claiming damages is something that the law allows for, the process is never in black-and-white.
A Personal Injury claim is a legal course of action taken by an injured person against the person who caused the injury. The claimant may be able to recover compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Each case is different, and certain things must be considered when filing. This post will help answer some of your questions about when to file a personal injury claim.
Who Can File a Personal Injury Claim?
Anyone injured by another person’s negligence can file a claim. For instance, if you got hit by a car that ran a red light, you could file an injury claim if you sustained injuries from the accident. Likewise, suppose your child was injured in a playground accident due to negligence from the playground equipment manufacturer or owner. In that case, you can file a personal injury claim against them.
How to File a Personal Injury Claim
Get the Details of the Accident
The first thing, write down everything that happened at the accident scene. Write down your name and contact information and any witnesses’ names and phone numbers. If there is damage to any property, note that and take photos. If you are injured, try to get pictures of your injuries. If any police officers were present, ask them for their badge numbers so that you can later verify their identities if needed.
Get medical treatment immediately after an accident and notify the insurance company.
Go to an emergency room or doctor following an accident involving injuries, even if you seem fine after the accident. It’s always better safe than sorry when it comes to medical care, especially if there is any chance that you could have been seriously injured during an accident.
After your medical treatment, the next step is to notify the insurance company of your injury. This allows them to investigate the incident, which may help prevent a denial of benefits.
Hire an Attorney
After the accident, you may have questions about whether you should seek legal representation. There are many reasons why hiring an attorney after a car accident is beneficial, including:
- Having someone on your side who can explain everything in terms you understand and help simplify the process of filing your claim.
- Your attorney can explain how the law works and what is required for a successful claim.
- Your attorney will negotiate your claim and handle all communication between you and the insurance company.
- Your attorney will help you evaluate how much your claim is worth so that you aren’t underpaid by the insurance company when they settle with you.
You should also be aware that in some situations, even if you did not receive treatment within 24 hours of an accident, you still have up to one year after an accident to file a claim with an insurance company.
The insurance company will send you a claim form or request to complete one online. You should fill out this form completely and return it with any supporting documents such as medical bills or police reports within 30 days of injury. Without the requested information, your claim may be denied.
File Your Claim
You must file a claim in court within a specific time after the accident. If not, then you may lose your right to compensation. E.g., most states require that you file your claim within two years after the incident occurred or within six months if someone was killed or seriously injured in an accident caused by another person’s negligence or recklessness.
After filing your claim, it is up to the insurance company to settle out of court or go through with litigation to determine fault and liability in your case. Suppose they do not want to settle out of court. In that case, it is up to a jury of people who are selected randomly from voter registration lists and other sources such as driver’s license records for each county across the state where the accident happened (if contested).
Receiving a Settlement Offer
You will receive an offer for settlement from your insurance company. However, the amount of money you receive will depend on how much money they think you can recover, so hiring an attorney with experience with personal injury cases is essential. An experienced lawyer knows how to calculate what your case is worth and will be able to negotiate a fair settlement for you.
Filing personal injury claims can be confusing when so many steps are involved. It can also be time-consuming, especially if you need to find specific pieces of evidence or records to file your claim. In addition, you will have to deal with insurance companies, who might try to fight your case or even deny that the accident was their fault. However, as pointed out above, hiring a personal injury attorney can simplify the process and help you get the compensation you deserve.