When you’re injured because of another party’s negligence, what do you do? Whether it’s a slip-and-fall, a car accident, defective medication, medical malpractice, or any other form of negligence, you’re entitled to compensation for the losses you’ve suffered.
The medical bills, not to mention the wages you’ve lost, are racking up, and you’re not sure how to proceed. How will you pay your bills— the ones that existed prior to the accident as well as the ones that resulted from your injuries? In these cases, it just makes sense to file a personal injury lawsuit.
Personal Injury Process
How do you start a personal injury claim? You might find the process a little daunting. One of the key things you should do is educate yourself about personal injury lawsuits to ensure that your claim will be successful. Let’s examine the steps that you’ll take during the course of your personal injury case.
Step 1: The Accident or Injury Happens
Injuries and accidents are, of course, unexpected, but it’s no time for you to lose your head. You need to carefully document any evidence of precisely what happened and follow the proper procedures; this will enable you to collect the appropriate amount of compensation in the future.
- Contacting the police, when appropriate
- Taking pictures
- Obtaining copies of insurance cards, IDs, or license plates
- Gathering information from any witnesses
- Taking detailed notes about information that is relevant to your case
Step 2: Get Medical Attention
Regardless of how you feel, you should get immediate medical attention. The nature of accidents and injuries mean that it’s possible that you won’t feel the effects of the damage done due in part to adrenaline and shock.
Allow a medical professional to examine you right away; refusal of medical treatment will give the other party’s attorneys the ammunition they need to argue that you weren’t actually injured. Whether you ride in an ambulance or get another ride, you should absolutely visit a hospital.
Step 3: Contact an Attorney
You might be thinking that you should wait to see what the insurance company will offer you before you take the step to call an attorney, or maybe get an official diagnosis. However, it’s just good sense to consult an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as you can. You’ve got nothing to lose; an attorney will not take a case that doesn’t require an attorney and they will not charge a fee for the consultation.
It’s estimated that attorneys get their clients settlements that are 3.5 times larger than those who choose to settle without engaging professional help. Take the time to meet with a personal injury lawyer to determine if you’ve got a potential claim or lawsuit on your hands. If you’re looking for an experienced personal injury attorney in Cape Coral (or anywhere else in Southwest Florida), we’re happy to help.
Step 4: Examine Claim and Your Medical Records
When you engage an attorney, the investigation will begin in earnest. First of all, you’ll be interviewed in a thorough manner; they’ll ask you about the timeline of the accident, your medical background, any conditions that you might have before as well as after the incident occurred. While the information might seem unrelated to the case, the attorney working with you will need to have a wide array of information about you; there’s nothing worse than a surprise coming to light that could have been avoided.
Then, the team will closely examine your medical records as well as any bills you’ve accrued since the injury; they’ll want to know how many doctors you’ve consulted, their diagnosis, treatments, medications, and more.
While this might seem like a time-consuming process, have faith. Your attorney will assist you throughout the whole process. You will get the treatment you require whether you’ve got the ability to pay at this time or not.
Step 5: Demand an Insurance Settlement or File a Claim
In many cases, a personal injury claim won’t result in a trial. The majority of cases are settled outside of court. For some, this is for the best; for others, not so much. There are disreputable attorneys who will take on a large number of clients, intending to settle too soon for a pittance. If that happens with enough frequency, these attorneys can become wealthy, to the detriment of their clients.
A qualified attorney will carefully examine the case, and the court process will be used as a threat to their advantage. Depending upon the nature of your accident, your attorney will file a claim with the proper liability insurance carriers. Or, if there’s no liability insurance company involved, a letter will be sent to the responsible party requesting a settlement commensurate with the injuries you sustained.