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Published On: Wed, Aug 14th, 2019

Things to Consider Before Filing a Personal Injury Claim

As wonderful as our modern lives can be, they can also be fraught with danger. Unsafe circumstances could result in a serious injury happening to you that might change the course of your life forever.

Many people choose to seek out a personal injury lawsuit after such an event has happened to help recoup losses suffered as a result of the accident, and make moving on as smooth and comfortable as possible. Unlike criminal court cases that are relatively simple in why charges are brought against someone and how they can be proven guilty, a civil court case for personal injuries is much more wide open. There are thousands of ways an injury can occur, and almost just as many ways that someone can be held accountable, these cases can get complex very quickly.

But then, before you pull the trigger on threatening someone with a court case, you should consider these points:

photo/Claim Accident Services

Understand what you’re claiming.

You should not proceed in trying to get any compensation before fully understanding what you’re entitled to as a result of your injury. This includes all economic damages such as lost wages, medical bills, or automobile repair bills, as well as non-economic damages such as pain and suffering or other mental trauma. Altenor Law Firm suggests speaking with a lawyer beforehand, so you do not end up selling yourself short, or making a claim that’s wildly unrealistic in the grand scheme of things. Ultimately, you should know exactly how much you’re entitled to and whether or not those claims are realistic. Remember that you can claim past costs, as well as future costs in your claim, like surgery that may need to happen or medication that will have to be dispensed to properly manage any conditions that are a direct result of the accident. 

Will insurance cover the damages?

The severity of an injury can vary wildly, meaning the level of payment you can receive from an insurance company can also vary wildly. You should get a comprehensive idea of what kind of coverage the opposing party has in the way of insurance to see if it’s possible for you to avoid court altogether to receive proper payment. If you can receive the full sum of your damages from insurance alone, that will eliminate the need to file a suit entirely.

Checking your own insurance is also worthwhile at this time. If your injuries were sufficiently minor, there would be a good chance that the bills associated with retaining a lawyer and going to court might be higher than any possible damages awarded.

Make sure you fully understand what you’re entitled to from every insurance company involved before going all the way to court to seek compensation.

Figure out if an attorney is necessary.

If your case is excessively simple and requires no specialized knowledge, there isn’t much justification for seeking out professional help if you can get a good decision all by yourself. Discuss the details of your case with a lawyer in consultation before biting the bullet on the choice to retain their services. Look for lawyers that are willing to provide a free consultation under which they will explain the specifics of your case, and what courses of action are most appropriate.

Also, look at how the attorney wishes to be paid. Some will charge a flat rate by the hour, while others will work on contingency, meaning that if a favorable decision isn’t made, you won’t owe them anything, while if the case does go your way, they will take an agreed upon percentage from the total settlement as payment.

Simply put, look at the intricacies of your case yourself before deciding that a lawyer is right for you. If you think the fight for personal justice is beyond your personal means, then definitely seek out the help of a good lawyer.

To file or not to file?

A large number of personal injury cases are settled out of court, which removes the need to go through the time-consuming experience of a civil court case. Look for other ways to receive compensation before going to court. For instance, if you have the insurance policy number of the person you are going to bring a suit against, see if you can file a third party claim and receive payment directly from their insurance company. When filing a third party claim, it’s only necessary to include your information, the opposing party’s information, the date of the accident, and your intention to file a claim. More details can be given during the negotiation phase, as well as your demand letter. It isn’t prudent to box yourself in a particular story too early.

Another thing to look at is the statute of limitations on filing your claim. This is how much time can elapse after the injury before the case is considered null and void. If you think the insurance company is purposefully stalling to run out the statute of limitations, then you absolutely should file a civil court case, so you don’t lose any money you’re just entitled to.

Conclusion

Filing a civil suit is a pretty stressful procedure, so don’t hop into it haphazardly without doing your homework beforehand. All of the stories of frivolous lawsuits you’ve heard over the years might make it seem like a straightforward process that will result in guaranteed money, but those are just rumors that are often misrepresented or outright false. A free consultation with a lawyer can help fill in a lot of the blanks in your knowledge base, as well as possibly expose mitigating factors that are specific to your case that you hadn’t thought of previously. Not all injuries are worthy of a civil suit, and not all injuries that are worth the civil suit are likely to be decided in your favor. These types of cases are extremely dynamic, and what you’re entitled to isn’t always spelled out perfectly. Doing your due diligence is crucial before filing a civil claim.

Author: Patrick Babakhanian

On the DISPATCH: Headlines  Local  Opinion

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