If you are facing medical expenses and difficulties because of an injury that wasn’t your fault, you may have a personal injury claim you can pursue.
Although every claim depends on various individual factors, many follow a similar legal process. People who have never been involved in a personal injury claim may often find this process stressful and unclear.
To make it easier for you, we’ve created a simple step-by-step guide to help you file a successful claim.
Step One: Obtaining Medical Care
If you experience a vehicle crash or injury, seek medical attention right away. You may need to go to the emergency room or see your primary healthcare provider.
Even if you don’t feel any symptoms at first, it’s still important to see a doctor promptly to prevent any future health problems. Make sure to follow your prescribed treatment plan for a speedy recovery.
Step Two: Documenting Your Injury
After getting medical help, make sure to keep a record of all injuries, damages, and medical treatments associated with the incident.
We recommend gathering information about your injury and how it affected your daily life. This may include noting down the healthcare professionals you consulted, expenses you paid, and number of days you missed work for treatment.
Collecting medical records can act as proof of your injury and medical necessities if legal action is pursued in the future.
Step Three: Contacting a Personal Injury Attorney
Next, you should call a qualified personal injury lawyer and inform them of the details surrounding your injury. Many personal injury lawyers offer free initial consultations, which allow you to discuss your case before initiating the filing process.
A typical consultation with a personal injury lawyer usually lasts between 30 and 60 minutes. During this meeting, the attorney will discuss the details of your personal injury claim with you, listen to your story, and evaluate the potential of your case.
Generally, the topics covered will include how the incident occurred, who was involved, who may be held responsible for the incident, the injuries sustained as a result of the incident, the treatments you’ve already received for those injuries, and any potential future treatment needs.
To ensure the consultation is productive, bring any supporting documents you have, such as police reports, medical bills, X-rays, pictures, and videos.
At the end of the consultation, the attorney will typically provide an evaluation of your personal injury claim and offer advice on the best course of action.
Step Four: Fact Finding
Once you hire a personal injury lawyer, they will conduct a thorough investigation of your injuries.
This investigation usually consists of additional interviews with you to gather more information about the incident. Additionally, your lawyer may speak with witnesses, law enforcement officers, doctors, employers, and other specialists, while also requesting records from any medical treatment providers involved.
The primary focus of the initial stage is to gather facts and secure time-sensitive evidence to make informed legal decisions. As you receive medical care, the attorney will assess your future medical needs and how your injury may impact your quality of life.
Step Five: Sending a Demand Package
After your case undergoes a thorough review by your legal team, your attorney works to establish the defendant’s negligence.
Your legal team will then send a demand to all relevant insurance companies and, if necessary, hire experts like medical professionals, life care planners, economists, or engineers to formulate your unique story and circumstances. The Demand Package includes a full account of your personal injury claim, including how the injury occurred, who was responsible, and a demand for settlement.
To ensure that your demand package is comprehensive, it may include police reports, pictures of property damage and injuries, medical bills and records, receipts for out-of-pocket expenses, and documentation of lost wages. Once it’s complete, your attorney will review it with you before forwarding it to the insurance carrier for the responsible party.
Step Six: Settlement Negotiations
After reviewing your demand package, the insurance carrier will often respond with a settlement offer. Your attorney will then commence settlement negotiations with the defendant’s legal team or insurance company in an effort to reach a mutually agreed-upon settlement.
The ultimate decision on whether to accept the offer, make a counter-demand, or file a lawsuit is up to you. Your legal team will provide guidance and support in making the best decision for your case.
If an agreement cannot be reached through settlement negotiations, your attorney may advise filing a suit in a Texas court to ensure you receive the full value of your case.
Step Seven: Trial
When an agreeable settlement cannot be reached by both parties, the final stage is trial.
To obtain a verdict against those responsible for your injuries, you will present your claim in court. There are two types of court trials: a bench trial, where a judge decides your case’s outcome and your compensation amount, and a jury trial, where the jury decides the verdict.
Sometimes, in order to punish defendants and encourage them to be more careful, the judge or jury may even decide to award more money.
Don’t Navigate the Claims Process Alone
After suffering an injury, your priority should be your recovery and well-being. While a personal injury claim will help get your life back to normal, it can also add stress to your recovery. To help ease the burden on yourself and your family, consider teaming up with a personal injury lawyer. They can handle the legal aspects of your case and give you peace of mind during this difficult time.