The personal injury claims process steps typically include medical treatment, a consultation, an investigation, a demand package, negotiations, and settlement. A trial is the potential last step and only occurs when necessary.
A serious personal injury can turn your world upside down, whether you were in a car accident or hurt in a slip and fall. You might incur expensive medical bills and lose income because you have to miss work. Compensation can cover these losses and more, but you have to go through the personal injury claim process, which a lawyer from our firm can guide you through.
What Is the Personal Injury Claim Process?
If you were hurt in an accident, and another person is liable due to their negligence, you are eligible to file a personal injury claim to seek compensation for your losses. According to the Legal Information Institute, negligence involves “a failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances.”
A personal injury claim can take some time to progress through the legal system, especially if you try to go through the process alone. But what is the personal injury claim process?
There are several common steps in the personal injury process that every victim should know about, so they understand what to expect when seeking compensation.
First and foremost, you should seek immediate medical treatment for your injuries, either at the scene of the accident or by visiting a medical facility.
Be sure to document your injuries and the treatments you receive so your lawyer can account for all your damages and seek the compensation you deserve to cover your losses.
In the aftermath of an accident that caused you to sustain injuries due to someone else’s negligence, we urge you to speak with a personal injury law firm as soon as possible. Consultations, which are usually free, allow a legal professional to evaluate your case by discussing the accident and your injuries.
You will likely discuss the cause of the accident, who was involved, liability, and what kind of treatment you are receiving. You should receive an assessment of your case and how you can proceed.
After you hire a personal injury lawyer, they will open an investigation and begin gathering the facts and evidence of your case to strengthen your compensation claim. This often includes collecting police reports, medical records, video surveillance footage, photographs, witness statements, expert opinions, inspection and safety logs, and incident reports.
Your lawyer will also identify all potentially liable parties and file claims with their insurance provider(s).
Your lawyer will put together a demand package containing the story of your personal injury that includes evidence such as medical records, police reports, lost wage records, and other documentation.
After reviewing the package with you, your lawyer will send it to the liable party or their insurance provider. The liable party or their insurance provider will also review the package, which they could accept, deny, or make a counteroffer.
Insurance providers will typically begin negotiations by making a settlement offer. These offers may be low and not adequately cover your losses. This is why your lawyer will calculate the value of your claim, so we can determine whether an offer is fair. However, it’s up to you to decide if you want to take the offer after we inform you and provide you with advice.
We will enter into negotiations with the insurance provider on your behalf and protect your best interests if you reject a settlement offer. In some cases, we may decide to file a lawsuit during this process. Per CCP § 335.1, we must do so within two years of the accident in most cases.
Note that filing a lawsuit does not mean your case will go to trial. Sometimes even the threat of a trial will be enough to convince the insurance company to make a fair settlement offer.
If we reach a settlement with the insurance provider that is agreeable to you, we will prepare a document that outlines the settlement terms and review it with you, so you understand it.
Once you sign a settlement, you cannot seek additional compensation later, so be sure to carefully review the agreement with your attorney and ask any questions or state any concerns you may have before the settlement is final.
The final step in the personal injury claim process is a trial. This step is typically unnecessary, since most claims settle out of court. But if negotiations don’t produce an agreeable outcome, we are not afraid to go to trial and represent you in court.
Learn More About the Personal Injury Claims Process Today
The personal injury claim process can take time. Our firm is ready to handle your case while you focus on healing. You take care of yourself. We’ll take care of your legal case. We will guide you through the process and provide regular updates, so you always know the status of your case.