Once you’ve suffered an injury and losses because of someone else’s behavior or negligence—such as a car accident or slip and fall—you can seek compensation for your losses. After all, you should not be left to struggle with lost work wages, medical bills and other losses because of the accident.
If you’ve never dealt with a personal injury case before, it can seem a bit overwhelming at first. However, the more you know about the process, the less overwhelming it will seem.
While the exact timeline of a personal injury claim will vary by case, there are some basic steps that you will probably go through for your claim.
Personal Injury Lawyer Consultation
After you’ve been in an accident and received medical care, it’s time to consult with a personal injury attorney. While the adjuster involved in your case may tell you that a lawyer is not needed, you need to keep in mind that the insurance company adjuster’s job is to settle your claim as quickly and as cheaply as possible. They do not have your best interests in mind, even though they may act as if they do.
An attorney will assess your case and tell you what they believe the true value of your claim is. Even if you do decide to settle without using an attorney, you will be making a more informed decision after you’ve at least consulted with an attorney about your case.
A Professional Investigation
After you’ve hired a personal injury attorney, they will review your case and investigate your claim. You will have a thorough interview with the attorney, who will ask you about what happened, your background, your medical conditions, your injuries, your treatments and more.
You will need to give your attorney any documentation you have related to your accident, too. This includes medical bills, videos, photos, police reports, witness statements and anything else you may have.
Claim Filing or Settlement Demand
At this stage, your attorney will file a claim against any insurance company involved in your case. For example, if you were in a car accident, the attorney may file a claim against the other driver’s insurance.
If no insurance company is involved in your case, your attorney can send the party responsible for what happened a letter demanding settlement. In both scenarios, you may receive settlement offers from the party or insurer involved. Your attorney will advise you whether the settlement offer is fair, but the final decision to accept or decline will be yours.
If you do decline all settlements or nothing is really offered, the next step is for your personal injury lawyer, such as from The Law Office of Richard J. Banta, P.C., to file a personal injury lawsuit in court on your behalf. At this point, your case can play out in several ways.
You may still accept a settlement after the case is filed, for example. You may take part in mediation, which is an informal process during which your attorney and the other party attempt to reach a settlement with the help of an independent third party. Regardless of which way your case goes, your attorney will be at your side to guide, inform and assist you.