Unintentional injuries account for about 24.5 million hospital visits each year. Another 39.5 million accidental injuries lead people to visit physician offices.
Were you recently in a car accident? Did you slip and fall on someone’s property? Maybe a negligent doctor caused you harm.
If any of these instances sound familiar, you could pursue a personal injury lawsuit. You can work with a personal injury to earn the compensation you deserve.
Here are the eight steps you need to take when filing a personal injury claim. With these tips, you can gather the evidence you need to build your case. Then, you can earn compensation to cover your losses.
Get started with the personal injury claim process using these tips today.
1. Visit a Doctor
Every personal injury lawsuit is unique. It’s important to gather evidence for your situation. Otherwise, you could fail to prove the other party’s negligence.
First, take the time to visit a doctor immediately after the accident. It’s essential that you have a doctor assess your health right away. Only they can determine what injuries you sustained.
Different types of personal injury cases can lead to different types of personal injuries. Here are a few of the different cases you can pursue:
- Auto accidents (car, motorcycle, pedestrian, truck, etc.)
- Product liability (drugs, medication, food, medical devices, toys, etc.)
- Premise liability (slip and falls)
- Nursing home abuse and neglect
- Medical malpractice (improper treatment, failure to diagnose, surgical errors, etc.)
- Defamation (libel and slander)
- Worker’s compensation (construction accidents)
- Dog bites
- Wrongful death
- Intentional torts
These cases could involve:
- Birth injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Neck injuries (whiplash)
- Emotional injuries
- Head and brain injuries
- Broken bones
- Muscle injuries
- Hip injuries
- Joint and limb injuries
- Exposure injuries
- Burn injuries
- Internal injuries
You might not notice your symptoms until days, weeks, or even months after the accident. Don’t wait until you’re in pain. A delay in treatment could make your condition worse.
It’s normal for adrenaline to mask severe symptoms. You could have a concussion or internal bleeding and not realize it. A doctor’s assessment will ensure you get the treatment you need.
As your doctor assesses your health, keep a record of their diagnosis. What types of personal injuries did you sustain? What treatment or medications are they recommending?
Keep track of the details involving your treatment before filing a personal injury claim.
2. Gather Your Evidence
Try to gather evidence while you’re still at the scene of the incident. Otherwise, someone might clean up the scene by the time you return.
First, gather photo and video evidence. Physical evidence is essential, especially if your case goes to trial. A jury is more likely to believe physical evidence than your word.
Did anyone witness what happened? Get their contact information. Your personal injury lawyer can talk to them later to get an official statement.
Make sure to gather your medical documents, too. That includes the doctor’s report, medical treatments, surgeries, and medications.
Did you miss work as a result of your injuries? Gather proof of your lost wages.
Make sure to have a police officer arrive on the scene. They’ll file an official police report, which you can use when filing a personal injury claim.
3. Find a Lawyer
Take the time to find an experienced personal injury lawyer who specializes in personal injury claims. An experienced lawyer will understand the laws and procedures that are relevant to your case.
How long have they practiced law? How long have they specialized? Make sure their specialty falls under your type of personal injury lawsuit.
There are 135,221 personal injury lawyers and attorneys. Don’t rush to choose one.
Instead, schedule a consultation with at least three personal injury lawyers. Learn about their experience and expertise. Then, explain what happened.
Ask them if they believe they can win your case.
4. Start an Investigation
Once you hire a lawyer, they’ll start investigating your case. They’ll learn as much as possible about what happened, your injuries, and your medical treatment. Your lawyer will take this time to gather official statements from your doctors and any witnesses.
They might also work with an expert or reconstruction specialist to build your case.
5. Prove Negligence
In order to win a personal injury lawsuit, you’ll need to prove the other party was negligent. Did they fail to provide you with reasonable care? How did they cause the accident?
For example, a drunk driver could have caused a crash, wrecking your car and causing bodily harm. Maybe a surgeon lied about their credentials and made a mistake during surgery.
Your personal injury lawyer will gather the evidence you need to establish the guilty party’s negligence.
6. Service a Notice of Claim
When filing a personal injury claim, you’ll need to inform the parties involved. This step is called the service of process. Any involved parties will receive a notice that you’re filing a claim.
7. Discuss a Settlement
Your personal injury lawyer will argue that you deserve compensation from the responsible party or their insurance company. You can negotiate a settlement before taking your case to court.
Make sure to choose a lawyer who is prepared to argue in and outside of court. Otherwise, you could end up with someone who lacks courtroom experience. They could take a lower settlement to avoid the courtroom.
If you reach a settlement, your lawyer will accept the offer. If you’re unhappy with the offer, you can file a lawsuit.
8. File the Lawsuit
If you think your case is strong enough, talk to your lawyer about filing a lawsuit. They’ll file the paperwork on your behalf.
First, you’ll file a complaint for damages. This complaint indicates how much money you’re seeking.
A litigation period will follow. Both parties will exchange information. You might need to testify under oath regarding what happened.
Someone will record your deposition to use it during the trial.
During the trial, your lawyer will present their evidence. Then, a judge or jury will determine how much compensation you deserve.
This is a great page to read if you want to learn more.
Make Your Case: 8 Steps for Filing a Personal Injury Claim
Don’t let someone get away with causing your bodily harm or pain and suffering. Instead, keep these steps for filing a personal injury claim in mind. By filing a lawsuit, you can fight for the compensation you deserve.
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