Victims who have sustained an injury due to someone else’s negligence may have a right to claim compensation for their damages. To do this, they will have to comply with their state’s laws and procedures. These laws vary from state to state.
If you have never filed a personal injury claim before, the procedure might seem complicated. This is because there are a lot of things involved in filing one. Note that filing a claim is not a trial and error process. If you fail to get it right the first time, you might risk losing your compensation.
Personal injury victims often seek the legal services of a reputable personal injury law firm in their area to ensure that they get everything right according to their state’s laws and procedures. To help you understand the claim process, here are some steps that you should follow.
Report the Accident
After an accident, it is vital to report to the police, your employer if you sustain a workplace injury, insurance companies, and other relevant authorities. Reporting the accident is vital to your claim and compensation. If you fail to report the accident, the at-fault party may claim that the accident did not happen, which will cost you your compensation. Declare your injuries to all concerned parties immediately.
Seek Medical Attention
It is impossible to prove that you sustained an injury without a valid medical report. After the accident, seek medical attention immediately. The doctor’s report, pictures of your injuries, medical reports, and bills will come in handy to prove your case and the damages you claim.
You should seek medical treatment even if you assume that you aren’t injured. Some injuries may take longer to manifest. If you do not go to the hospital immediately after an accident for an examination, you may not be able to claim damages for the injury.
Get Legal Help
To ensure your claim is not rejected, you should consult a personal injury lawyer in your area. These lawyers know the state’s laws and procedures. They will review your case, determine if it is valid and file it. Though most personal injury claims are settled out of court, it is good to have a lawyer from the beginning of the process; they will be familiar with your case should you need to file a lawsuit. Lawyers also know how to negotiate settlements and will ensure that you get fair compensation.
File the Claim
You should file the claim before the lapse of the state’s deadline or the statute of limitations. In the case of a worker’s compensation claim, you should use the specific format as per your employer. Insurance agencies also have a set format for filing claims. Ensure that you have all the requirements needed to file the claim as per the at-fault party’s policies. It would be ideal to have your lawyer handle the process to give you time to heal or keep your hospital appointments.
Negotiate the Settlement
Once you determine the damages to claim, your lawyer will collect enough evidence to support the claim, calculate the damages, and use that to negotiate your settlement. Negotiating a settlement requires a lot of experience and expertise. Insurance companies have several tricks that they can use to ensure that they pay as little as possible.
Talk to a Personal Injury Lawyer
The process of filing a claim after an injury is very challenging. If you choose to handle the claim without a lawyer, you may end up with a lowball offer because you will not know what your claim is worth. Allow your lawyer to handle the back and forth with the at-fault party to ensure you get the right settlement.
If you cannot reach an agreed settlement, you will have to take the case to court, where the judge and jury will decide on the amount you should receive as an award.
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