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Most people aren’t injured in an accident every day—thank goodness—so when it does happen, it’s understandable that you don’t know what to expect when filing an injury claim. First, you need to know that not every accident will qualify you to file a personal injury claim.
If you are the only person to blame for your injuries, you probably aren’t going to be able to sue anybody. But if you are harmed because of another person’s carelessness, often known as negligence, you may be eligible to file an injury claim and recover fair compensation for your damages.
There are several steps involved in bringing an injury claim, none of which are easy. Most people who are injured are unable to file a claim without legal help, but these are the basic steps you can expect when going through the claim process:
The first step is to investigate what caused your accident. This could be simple if the cause is obvious, but with many accidents, the cause isn’t obvious at all. For instance, if you’re hurt in a multiple-vehicle collision, it may be very difficult to determine the underlying cause of your crash.
The investigation will require you to gather evidence to prove your case. The other side isn’t just going to accept your version of events without some proof.
Let’s say you’ve put together a good case, and now you need to convince the negligent parties to hand over a fair settlement. They’re going to fight you, so you need to be prepared for that.
Negligent parties and insurance companies don’t want to lose money, so they are going to play the game. If you don’t know how the negotiation game is played, you may miss out on money you’re owed for your injuries. A lawyer can negotiate on your behalf and likely get you a better settlement than you could get by yourself.
If you convince the insurance company or negligent party that you’re owed compensation, you may be able to reach a settlement agreement. But if the other side refuses to pay you fair compensation for your injuries, you may have to take your injury claim into the courtroom.
Either way, you’ll be seeking compensation for each of the damages you’ve suffered. Here’s a look at some of the damages that are common in personal injury cases:
Now you understand a little more about what to expect when filing an injury claim: investigation, proving your claim, dealing with insurance companies, and fighting in court (in some instances). Going it alone is challenging and unnecessary. Speak with an injury attorney who knows the law and handles these types of cases every day.