An accident can occur at a time. However, handling the legal aspects of personal injury claims may be challenging.
Personal injury claims may involve many different types of injuries, such as:
Answering the question how to file a personal injury claim may be answered differently depending upon the type of claim that is necessary. There are several steps individuals can take following a personal injury to prepare for filing their claim or lawsuit.
This article will discuss the top ten tips for personal injury claims.
1) Seek out medical attention immediately
If an individual has been seriously injured, the first thing they should do is to seek medical attention. It is important not to attempt to handle any claims prior to properly addressing an individual’s injuries with medical professionals.
An individual should be aware that the failure to seek medical attention following an accident may, in some cases, reduce the amount of damages which the individual is able to recover. The injured party has a duty to mitigate their losses.
This means that the individual must take steps to ensure that their injury does not cause any further injuries or economic losses. It is also important for an individual to seek medical attention because there may be injuries that do not appear immediately.
2) File a police Report
It is important to file a police report to ensure that an individual has records of important information related to the accident. This may include information such as the name and contact information of the other parties who were involved.
In addition, a police report itself may serve as a record of the important facts regarding the accident. A police report can also be used in court should a lawsuit arise. Police reports can also be used to establish fault and may be helpful for an insurance company to review.
3) Be aware of what you say at the scene of the accident
Although it may be necessary to communicate with the other parties involved following an accident, it is important to exercise discretion when speaking with the other parties. An individual is under no duty to state whose fault the accident or injury was or to offer any additional information.
It is important to avoid making statements which may make the situation more complex. It is also important to avoid creating conflicts which may arise related to the accident.
Most importantly, an individual should never admit fault either to the other party or to law enforcement, should they be called to the scene. Accidents often occur quickly, and an individual may not know exactly what happened. In addition, they may not actually be at fault.
4) Keep accurate records of all costs and expenses related to the injury
There are likely multiple costs and expenses which will arise related to an automobile accident. This may include:
- Hospital bills;
- Medical diagnosis statements;
- Bills related to property damage; and
- Insurance records.
An individual may also need to maintain records of any lost wages if their injuries caused them to miss work. It is also helpful to make a written account of the injury, especially while the events and facts surrounding the accident are fresh in the individual’s mind.
5) Be cautious when dealing with insurance companies
It is important to be aware that involving an insurance company in a personal injury claim may make the legal process more complicated. In most cases, however, working with an insurance company will be a necessary step to completing a personal injury claim or lawsuit.
It is important for an individual to protect their interests when negotiating with an insurance company, theirs or the other party’s. It is always helpful to have the assistance of an attorney when an individual is dealing with any third parties, especially insurance companies.
6) DO NOT sign any forms or documents without understanding them
It is essential to refrain from signing any type of form or document without understanding the contents, especially in relation to personal injury issues. An individual should not sign any forms if they are not sure how the forms will affect them in the long run.
This includes any forms which may be presented to an individual well after the actual accident or injury event. It is important to be wary of any documents or contracts which ask an individual to release the other party from any type of liability or require that the individual forfeit their right to a lawsuit.
7) Avoid trying to settle on your own if you don’t understand what to do
If an individual tries to settle on their own with the other party or with their insurance company, it may be a complicated process. In most cases, they will attempt to settle for the lowest amount possible.
If an individual is unsure of what they are doing, it is best for them to obtain some assistance in the form of advice from a legal expert. This is especially important if the other party or parties will be hiring an attorney.
If an individual has their own attorney, it can help them avoid costly mistakes which may negatively affect their claim. In many cases, an individual may not realize the implications of statements they make or actions they take, and they may be baited into admitting fault or cause another issue to arise which prevents them from recovering for their injuries.
8) Be aware of filing deadlines
It is important to be aware that there are deadlines for filing a personal injury claim. For the majority of personal injury claims, an individual only has a certain window of time following an accident to file a claim in court.
This legal time constraint is called the statute of limitations. The time deadline may vary depending upon the state and the type of accident or injury involved.
Once the statute of limitations has expired, an individual may not be able to file their claim or recover for their injuries. There may be exceptions, but they are likely few and far between.
9) Do some preliminary research on the legal process
It may be helpful for an individual to familiarize themselves with the basics of personal injury lawsuits in their area. The local rules may vary.
Personal injury claims often take a substantial amount of time to fully resolve. While an individual is, by no means, expected to become an expert on the topic, consulting with an attorney for basic guidelines may help alleviate some of the confusion during the process.
Another step an individual can take to familiarize themselves and conduct their own research is to visit LegalMatch’s law library. There, an individual can find articles on a wide variety of legal topics.
An individual can search the library for the topic they wish to learn about. From there, an individual can also easily learn how to contact one of LegalMatch’s attorneys in the area of law they need assistance with.
10) Be aware of what type of lawyer you will need to hire
It is important to be aware that all personal injury lawyers are not the same. Some specialize in certain fields while others handle a wide variety of claims. There are many subcategories of personal injury law which an attorney or firm may specialize in, including:
- Automobile accidents;
- Product liability;
- Medical malpractice; and
- Accidents involving commercial trucks.
An individual may find that one attorney or law firm may be more suitable for their legal issue, depending on what caused their injury.
How Do I Find a Personal Injury Lawyer?
It is important to find a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible following your injury. Finding the right attorney is an important factor in the success of your claim and your ability to recover for your losses.
An individual can find a lawyer using the LegalMatch online case posting system. This process is free of charges and matches you with capable attorneys in about 24 hours.
Finding the right lawyer for you on LegalMatch can help you obtain the most compensation possible for your injury and help you avoid costly errors during your case.