The personal injury claim process is laden with intricate steps, paperwork, and operating procedure. To simplify things, we’ve narrowed down the entire method of a personal injury claim to five stages to help you understand the labyrinthine proceedings of a personal injury case.
1. Hiring a lawyer
A personal injury claim process begins by hiring a competent lawyer. An experienced attorney will inform you of your rights as a plaintiff in a personal injury case and what legal recourse you can go for.
2. Gathering evidence
Once you have lawyered up, both you and your attorney would work together in gathering pieces of evidence to prove that you have sustained injuries that deserve compensation by the defendant. The evidence collection would consist of medical records, statements of your physician, statements of witnesses, or any images or videos that could help your cause.
3. Negotiating with the insurance company
Many personal injuries cases are resolved outside of court since lawsuits can be expensive and time-consuming for both parties. So, one of the prime ways of winning fair compensation for your injuries is if you can negotiate with the insurance company and reach a favorable settlement. However, persuading the insurance company to cough up the compensation you deserve is easier said than done. They will do everything in their power to make you settle for less, and if you’re without a lawyer, they may even succeed in doing so by hurling legal jargon your way, which a common person would fail to comprehend.
A lawyer can help you understand the insurance company’s terms and use the law book to protect your rights. They hear the offer tabled by the company and propose a counteroffer to serve your interests. This is where the persuasive and negotiating skills of the attorney would play a role.
4. Filing a Lawsuit
While most of the personal injury cases end in the settlement between the insurance company, the defendant, and the plaintiff, there is a chance that the insurance company might refuse the offer and ask you to settle for way less than what you deserve. You can then file a lawsuit against the company to get fair compensation. The process of filing a lawsuit varies from state to state. However, on average, a personal injury case can take about two years to go to trial. Moreover, there is also a time frame within which you would need to file a lawsuit. This is called the statute of limitations. Your lawyer will inform you of the time frame at the time when they are appointed.
The trial is the showdown between the defendant and the plaintiff, where your lawyer would prove your injuries to the judge or jury and win your case. However, many cases may not reach trial and are settled.