A personal injury claim is a lawsuit or case you file against another person, a company or an organization that may have caused any injury or harm to you. As you may have noticed, I mentioned the lawsuit and the case separately.
A case becomes a lawsuit when the plaintiff (the person filing the case) and the defendant (the person whom the case is filed against) cannot settle the problem between them and the case goes to civil court.
In the US, millions of personal injury cases are filed annually. People who face an accident or get their properties damaged file a case against the person or company responsible for their injuries to get compensation for their loss.
Most people do it by hiring a lawyer, but some try to save the cost and try to handle the situation themselves. While hiring a lawyer makes things easier, you can definitely dry to handle things yourself.
What to Expect
Like any other legal case, a personal injury claim is not an easy one to win, especially if you are facing it without a lawyer. Insurance companies try to trick people who claim personal injuries without the support of a law firm.
Not hiring a lawyer usually makes you seem like a weak target. It may make you look desperate or make you seem like you are trying to save money. The latter usually is true. People usually try to handle the case themselves because they don’t want to spend on a lawyer.
Insurance companies deal with people who try to save money by not hiring a lawyer all the time. That is why they know how to trick people into giving up or giving them next to nothing.
If the claim is for minor injuries like a scratch, the defendant usually offers to settle things out of court. However, if you face major injuries, insurance companies try to mislead individuals who do not have a lawyer.
To sum it up, you look like a weak target to the defendant. But don’t worry; there are ways to handle the situation and get as much money for your loss as possible.
Medical Bills and Records
You need to collect all your medical bills and records of your injuries and loss. Do not let the other party handle this. Although it’s very time-consuming, it’s more beneficial if you do it yourself. It gives you an upper hand on the situation.
From ambulance rides to doctors to pharmacists and medicines, get your hands on all bills and records. You will need authorization forms to get these bills. The medical provider will ask you to pay a certain amount of money.
Don’t forget to write that in the billing section too. Every little payment counts if you want to get compensated for all your pain and suffering.
If the accident contained a car or any other property damage, you’ll need to make a copy of the repair bills and estimates and add it to the list of bills. You will also need a police report copy for the damaged property.
Keep in mind not to give original reports to the defendant. Always make copies of everything.
If your vehicle, house or any other property has been damaged during the accident and you are planning on getting compensation for it, take clear photographs of the damage and the accident scene so that your claim is strong and has the vital proof. You can also collect witness statements to make a stronger case.
If your injuries are so severe that it has cost you your wage, you can also add that in your losses. All you have to do is obtain wage loss information from your employer. The other party will have to pay for every pain and suffering caused if you collect all records and make your case properly.
Wage loss can also include future loss. For example, if you face such severe injuries that they have cost you future wage loss by not allowing you to work, an estimate for future losses can be made and included in your wage loss report.
Statute of Limitation
The statute of limitation means the amount of time you have to reach an agreement with the other party. It varies from state to state. You will have to gather all the bills and proofs in time to claim your losses.
How to Present Your Demand
Make sure you have thoroughly looked at your injuries and made a reasonable evaluation of your injury claim before you make your demand letter. This is important because your demand letter will be the key to represent:
- Exactly why the defendant is liable for your injuries,
- Your injuries and all the medical treatments,
- Your financial losses, and
- Any other losses you incurred including pain and suffering.
Make a demand within the statute of limitation and choose the best settlement offer that will make up for as much of your loss as possible.
While getting fair compensation for minor injuries is very easy, it is extremely hard for major cases, especially if you deal with it without a lawyer.
For example, if you slip in a store and get your leg bruised, the store manager would pay for the medical bills and pay a little extra for the inconvenience as it doesn’t cost that much. However, if you are in a car accident and face major damages, it’s hard to get fair compensation.
It’s so much easier to deal with this if you hire a lawyer. Many try to save money by not hiring one, but what they don’t understand is that a lawyer can make the defendant pay more than a fair amount since a lawyer is more experienced.
Also, there are many legal ways that a well-versed defendant could use to manipulate the case and turn it against the plaintiff since not all individuals are familiar with legal terms.
It’s also hectic to have just been in a major accident and deal with all the legal procedures while trying to recover your health. Hence, it’s better to hire a lawyer and let them deal with all the legalities while you focus on getting better.