Stages of a Personal Injury Claim

Copyright (c) 2011 Benjamin Glass

A personal injury claim begins when you suffer an injury because of the negligence of another. You must have suffered substantial damages and injuries, and you must be able to prove that the other party was 100% at fault for your accident and resulting injuries per the states contributory negligence law. When you are injured, one of your first steps should be to talk to a personal injury attorney.

Filing a Personal Injury Claim

In most cases you will file your personal injury claim with your insurance company. They will examine the circumstances of your accident and injuries, and determine if a settlement will be offered. In most cases the settlement you are initially offered will be far too low to compensate you for all of your damages. This is why a personal injury attorney is often necessary to obtain a fair settlement.

When you file your personal injury claim with the help of a personal injury attorney your attorney will help you with the filing process. Having your attorney act as the main point of correspondence with the insurance companies is the best way to avoid damaging your claim, as well as the hassle of dealing with insurance adjusters.

Pursuing a Personal Injury Claim

Once your claim is filed and in progress you will need to provide the evidence that the accident that led to your injuries was the fault of another. Pictures, police reports, medical bills, treatment records, and witness testimony are all excellent types of evidence to support your personal injury claim.

Your personal injury attorney will be able to help you gather your evidence and present it to support your claim. They will also be instrumental in securing witness testimony, whether it’s from witnesses to the accident or from expert witnesses who can help defend your version of the events.

Once the evidence is in to your insurance company they will make a decision based on the documentation you provide, as well as testimony you give through recorded statements. These statements can be tricky to handle, and a personal injury attorney can help you prepare so you won’t damage your claim.

Settlement of a Personal Injury Claim

Your insurance company will offer a settlement if they deem your injury was caused by the other party’s negligence. In most cases, settling with the insurance company on your own will not result in a very substantial settlement, as they rarely pay out the true value of your damages and losses. To obtain a full settlement you will likely need the help of a personal injury attorney.

Claims that are filed with the help of a personal injury attorney are more likely to settle for more than when a claimant handles their case on their own. This is because an experienced attorney knows the tricks the insurance company tries to reduce your settlement, and also they know when a settlement is fair or not based on the specifics of your injuries and projected future costs.

When you are offered a settlement, have your personal injury attorney review the terms and amount to determine if it is fair. An unfair settlement or denial can result in the need to file a personal injury lawsuit, which means your case will be tried in court and a jury will make the final decision about whether or not you are entitled to damages, and if so, how much.

Ben Glass is a personal injury attorney in Fairfax, Virginia. He is a frequent speaker on personal injury topics. Accident victims can download 31 Tips for Handling Your Own Virginia Accident Case at 31TipsFromBen.com
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