The personal injury claims process can be confusing, and this is especially true for clients who are going through the system for the first time. That’s why we want to lay out a complete step by step guide for how the claims process works and what checkmarks you should be hitting along the way. So below, you’ll find 10 steps you’ll work through as you navigate your personal injury claim.
A Guide To Personal Injury Claims
Here’s a quick look at the 10 steps you’ll likely complete as you work towards filing for and collecting compensation after an injury.
1. Medical Care – The first thing you should do is seek medical care for your injuries. Medical documentation will be the driving force behind determining your award eligibility and amount. Aside from getting medical attention for your injuries, this examination provides evidence to strengthen your claim.
2. Injury Report and Documentation – You’ll may need to file a police report or a work injury form with human resources depending on where the injury takes place. You’ll want copies of any document pertaining to your injury, because you’ll need these when you officially file your claim.
3. Talk With A Lawyer – Take a free consultation or meet with a personal injury lawyer to learn about your options. They can give you ballpark estimates, help strengthen your case or even file on your behalf so that you can focus solely on your health. Oftentimes a lawyer pays for their services and more by helping clients get much more than they’d be able to obtain on their own.
4. Incident Investigation – If you hire a lawyer, they’ll go to work investigating the accident and working to strengthen your claim. They’ll look at police reports, witness statements, video and photo evidence and other relevant factors to develop the strongest case possible.
5. Assign Negligence – For personal injury cases, it’s not enough to prove that an injury occurred. You also need to prove that a third-party played a role in your injuries. Your lawyer will help develop a claim that asserts that an individual or business failed to provide reasonable duty of care, and this resulted in your injuries.
6. The Notice Of Claim – To move forward with a claim, you need to inform all parties of your intent to file a suit. A person is served notice of the claim, either by mail or a professional process server or similar legal official.
7. Settlement – Once both parties are aware of the claim, settlement talks can begin. If the other party knows they are in the wrong and wants to put the situation to bed, they may offer you a certain amount to settle. Making sure all your current and future medical expenses, along with other payments for factors like pain and suffering, are considered in this settlement offer is key for getting a fair deal.
8. Official Lawsuit – If settlement talks can’t get the job done, the lawsuit will officially be filed in court. Both sides will begin the discovery phase and share information with one another so that the facts of the case are known. This process can take weeks or even months.
9. Mediation – Even though the discovery process is underway, that doesn’t mean that talks to resolve the case need to end. A third-party mediator may try to help the two sides come to an agreement before the case is decided by a judge. The majority of cases are decided with a settlement or through the assistance of a third-party mediator.
10. Judge’s Decision – Finally, if all settlement and mediation talks fail to bring a resolution to the case, a judge will cast a decision after each party presents their case in court. This decision will be considered final, although either side may attempt to appeal the decision if they so choose.
If you need help navigating any of the above steps, or you just want a trusted ally in your corner, reach out to Hey Workers today and let us assist.