A personal injury claim is a formal process in which a party (plaintiff) seeks financial compensation from another party (defendant) that they feel is liable for an accident that caused injuries.
If you are a plaintiff who has been injured because of another person’s negligence, you have grounds to file a personal injury claim which could possibly turn into a lawsuit; however, it can be difficult to know how to get the entire process started. We are here to help!
Here are the four simple steps to get your personal injury claim off the ground:
Step 1: Get in Touch With a Personal Injury Lawyer
Getting in touch with a personal injury lawyer to discuss your claim will not only help you determine if your case is worth pursuing but help discern the requirements that you may not be aware of.
You do not always have to hire an attorney in order to file an injury claim; however getting one involved as early as possible in the process can help you avoid making mistakes that could affect your claim down the line. Furthermore, injury victims who hire an attorney typically receive larger settlements, have less stress to deal with, and have an upper hand since they have an experienced advocate on their side.
No matter how small you think your accident or injury was, your claim may be more complicated than you initially thought. Speak to a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to see if you have a case and to see how they can help!
Step 2: Start Medical Treatment and Gather Evidence
In a personal injury claim, you will need to provide proof that shows the negligence of the person at fault, the severity of your injuries, and any lost wages. However, before you let the insurance company know that you are pursuing a claim, you’ll want to make sure you have every possible document and piece of evidence in order. That way, you can be prepared when the adjuster comes knocking to investigate and validate your claim.
One vital piece of evidence is getting the opinion of a medical professional including the full extent of your injuries and what continuing medical treatment you will require. We cannot stress the vital importance of seeing a doctor as soon as possible after the accident.
Other types of evidence that should be collected during this time also include:
- A police report (if one was filed)
- Photographs of the accident scene, your vehicle, and the other party’s vehicle.
- Records of all medical expenses
- Estimates on the damage to your personal property
- Other relevant documents proving that your injuries led to lost wages
Step 3: Claim Set-Up
You now need to inform the individual who is liable for your injuries and their insurance provider that you plan to file a claim. You may also need to file a claim with your own insurance company. If you’re unsure if a claim should be sent to one or both parties, then your personal injury lawyer can assist you.
Once you have retained an attorney, the firm will send a letter to the opposing insurance company notifying them that you are now represented and all communication moving forward should be sent to your attorney.
Step 4: Send a Demand Letter
This process officially begins with a demand letter in which you, the plaintiff, formally request payment for damages from the defendant. The demand letter is the central focus of any personal injury claim as it outlines the legal merits of your claim.
In it, you must lay out your argument to the insurance company for why they should pay for the damages. This includes:
- The amount of relief you seek
- Why the defendant is legally responsible or liable
- A summary of the injuries sustained
- What medical treatments are/were required and how much they cost
- How much lost wages has been or will be accrued
- Any other damages suffered, like pain and suffering
Your personal injury lawyer will be able to draft a clear and well-organized letter for you as well as send it to the appropropriate parties on your behalf.
After this demand letter is sent, the insurance company has 90 days to respond in which they will either 1) reject the demand entirely 2) accept the demand or 3) make a counteroffer. This enters the negotiation stage of the claims process. Your attorney will once again handle everything for you.
If the insurance company won’t pay—or won’t pay nearly enough—then you may move on to the next step in the process which is filing a lawsuit. In most cases, though, claims will be negotiated effectively and will not move to trial.
Get in Touch With a Personal Injury Lawyer in St. Louis Who Cares | The Hayden Law Firm
If you have been seriously injured in an accident of any kind and are looking for the right legal representation, contact us or call St. Louis personal injury lawyer Amanda Hayden at (314) 480-3100 for a free, no-risk consultation.