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What to Expect in a Personal Injury Claim

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What to Expect in a Personal Injury Claim

Getting hurt is nothing to take lightly. Every year, millions of people get into accidents, either at home or at work. Generally, however, despite this high number of hurt people, what to do is sometimes a mystery. There’s a lot to deal with, from insurance companies to lawyers, especially if the accident or injury came at the fault of another person. Luckily, filing a personal injury claim isn’t something you’ll have to do alone. Below are some helpful tips on what to expect when dealing with a personal injury claim:

Getting a Solicitor or Lawyer

Immediately following an accident and before you can actually file a claim, you’ll need a legal professional. Your solicitor will be the person to contact the person or company responsible for your injury. They will list the damage to you and how it happened.[1] The solicitor will also let you know how much your claim is worth in terms of money. Whether you choose to accept the first number or want to negotiate, it’s your solicitor who will actually do this.

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He/she will be your guide throughout this entire process. They will tell you whether or not your claim is worth more than what the insurance company is offering. They will also advise you on whether or not you should push for an actual trial, especially if the defending party refuses to claim responsibility for your injury.

An Investigation

Anyone can make a claim but it needs to be supported with facts. Your solicitor/lawyer will step in and be the only source of communication between you and the insurance companies. If the police were called at the time of the accident, there will be a report listing all parties involved and a general summary of what happened and where. Depending on how severe the incident was, your lawyer will spend a few months gathering more details or interviewing witnesses. All of this will verify and strengthen your claim.

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(Optional) Medical Treatment

If it’s necessary, you will be directed to a medical office that specializes in injury recovery. Your level of injury (from minor to extreme) will also influence how much the insurance company will pay you. If you prefer to use your own health network, you can request specialist recommendations from your doctor. The medical reports and treatments, including prescription medications, will be added to the file to further bolster your case.

Settlement Options

Once you’ve received a medical evaluation and your lawyer has determined your total damages (to you personally and any of your belongings), you will receive an offer from the insurance company. The settlement value is calculated using your medical expenses, who’s at fault, and the cost of replacing what you lost.

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A well-trained and successful pianist was awarded over $2 million when an injury from a crash ended his career.[2] His settlement was a combination of actual physical injury and the future loss of income. Your solicitor will make sure your case takes all factors into consideration.

(Optional) Pre-Trial Conference

While not an absolutely vital part of a personal injury claim, this step happens when a settlement cannot be agreed upon. There will be a meeting between the lawyers involved and a presiding judge to determine the issues of the claim and once again, try to reach a settlement.

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There will be a written document outlining the following: the evidence in the case, why you are entitled to receive damages, and why the defending party is responsible for proving those damages. Generally, this is the last step in a personal injury claim, as negotiations and settlement amounts are finalized.

Collecting Your Money

Depending on the success of your case, you will win a monetary amount and the defendant pays the court’s amount. However, sometimes there are complications. Your lawyer will let you know about the methods for collection. The majority will be paid, but sometimes you’ll need to garnish personal or company wages.

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(Optional) Appeal

If you did not win your case (or the defendant refuses to accept the decision), there will be an appeal filed. An appeal will basically restart this process. This step will also increase the number of judges who hear the case, as they try to determine a different or similar outcome.

Featured photo credit: stevepb via pixabay.com

Reference

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