According to the National Safety Council, there are more than 55 million personal injuries every year. These range in severity, cause, and culpability.
If you are among these individuals injured in an accident, you may be considering seeking damages. The personal injury claim process is complex, with many important steps along the way. It will look different depending on where you live and your unique case.
Yet there are some basic components common to all cases. Once you understand these, you will have a better sense of what your case will involve. Keep reading to find out more.
In the first step of the personal injury claims process, a prospective attorney will want to know everything involving the incident. If it was a traffic accident, for instance, they will need details surrounding the event, including traffic citations.
They will want to get a sense of the severity of your injuries and how they have affected your life. Details such as loss of work and medical costs are two important pieces of information. A good attorney will want copies of all your medical records, so be prepared to access them.
Insurance Claim and Settlement
The first action in the personal injury claim process is to open up a claim with your insurance company and that of the responsible party. Next, you will need to complete all medical treatment. This is known as the point of “maximum medical improvement“–where you have recovered as much as possible.
This will give you a total of the expenses associated with your injury. (If your injury is permanent or rehabilitation ongoing, a seasoned attorney will be able to calculate the losses.)
Once you have a dollar amount that you would like to be compensated for, your attorney will submit it. If the other party agrees to the terms, they will pay the settlement and the case is over.
If a settlement is not reached, your attorney can file a lawsuit. Keep in mind that different states have distinct timelines, or statute of limitations, for how long following an injury a suit can be filed.
The discovery phase of a bodily injury claim process is when each attorney requests information from the opposing party. They also will take depositions, interviews with witnesses, or other people involved. Discovery can take several months to more than a year, depending on the complexity of the case.
During or after all this information is collected, new settlements can be made and accepted. Or, the attorneys may bring in a mediator to help resolve the case, as an alternative to going to trial.
If the case goes to trial, a jury is selected, and they determine the outcome of the case. Lawyers prepare opening and closing remarks, call witnesses, and work to get the best possible outcome for their side.
A trial can last a day or two but is often several weeks (even longer, for more complex cases). Remember that an experienced attorney will know how to handle a personal injury case from start to finish, so they will keep you advised on timelines along the way. Take a look at this site for additional reading and resources on the topic.
Learn More About the Personal Injury Claim Process
Now that you have an idea of what the personal injury process entails, you can plan accordingly. Remember to talk to a reputable attorney about the timeline and what you can expect. It will help complete your case as soon as possible.
We hope this information on the personal injury claim process was helpful to you. If so, be sure to look at some of our other posts on law, education, business, travel, and many other topics.