Making a Personal Injury Claim Yourself
If you suffered injuries in an accident that resulted from another person’s negligence, you can file a personal injury claim with the at-fault individual’s insurance company. However, when it comes time to file your claim, you should never do it alone. One of the most critical steps after your accident is to retain an experienced personal injury lawyer to file the claim on your behalf.
If you try to represent yourself during a personal injury case, the insurance company can take advantage of you. Insurance company adjusters often assume that self-represented accident victims do not have the legal competency to negotiate a claim or litigate their case successfully. Therefore, at best, the adjuster will make you a lowball offer to settle your case.
An experienced lawyer at MNH Injury Lawyers can investigate the circumstances of your accident and file the claim on your behalf. Suppose the insurance company adjuster does not offer you the total amount of compensation you deserve. In that case, your lawyer can file a lawsuit in the court system and represent you until your case concludes.Schedule A Free Consultation
Accidents That Can Lead to Serious Personal Injuries
Accidents and injuries can happen when individuals behave negligently. Negligence means deviating from the prevailing standard of care and acting unreasonably under the circumstances. For example, a negligent individual may do something that a reasonable person will not do under the same or similar circumstances. Alternatively, they may fail to do something that a reasonable person will do under the same circumstances.
Potential accidents that often result from negligence include:
- Car and truck accidents – Many car and truck accidents happen when drivers disregard the rules of the road, such as by speeding, failing to yield the right-of-way at the appropriate time, tailgating other vehicles, and aggressively operating their vehicles. At other times, drivers operate their vehicles while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Finally, some car and truck accidents happen when drivers fail to watch the road.
- Pedestrian accidents – Pedestrian accidents happen when a car or truck hits a pedestrian, sometimes in the middle of a crosswalk. These accidents typically result from negligent, distracted, or intoxicated driving. Pedestrian accidents can also happen in parking lots and garages when drivers fail to pay attention to the road or use their side view and rear-view mirrors.
- Bicycle and motorcycle accidents – Cyclists are at a significant disadvantage when they are out and about on the road. Unlike the occupants of cars and trucks, they do not have a metal outer shell that surrounds them if they become involved in an accident. Consequently, they can fall to the ground or onto another vehicle and suffer severe injuries, including traumatic head and brain injuries. While these accidents may result from another driver’s negligence, they also occur because of roadway defects, such as deep cracks or potholes that dislodge a cyclist from their vehicle. At other times, these accidents happen because of defective motorcycle parts malfunctioning on the roadway, such as handlebars, steering mechanisms, and braking systems.
- Slips and falls – Just like people have to drive carefully, premises owners must maintain their properties in a reasonably safe condition at all times. Moreover, suppose they become aware of a hazardous condition on their property. In that case, they must properly make repairs or, at the very least, warn visitors about the defective condition. If they fail to do so and a visitor slips, falls, and injures themselves, the property owner should be responsible for damages.
- Wrongful death – In some situations, an accident victim suffers such serious injuries that they do not survive. Some victims might pass away right away at the accident scene, while others might receive medical care attempting to save their lives before they succumb to their injuries. Surviving family members can suffer devastating losses when they lose a loved one due to the negligence of others, and they can seek compensation just like an injury victim can.
If you sustained personal injuries in one of these accidents or lost a close family member, you must seek a lawyer’s assistance immediately. Your lawyer can retain an expert to determine how the accident happened and whether negligence was likely involved. If it is, your lawyer can help you file a personal injury claim – or a wrongful death claim – as soon as possible.
What Do I Need to Prove in a Personal Injury Claim?
In a personal injury case, the accident victim has the sole legal burden of proof. Therefore, to recover damages, they must prove all of their claim’s legal elements. The at-fault person or entity does not need to prove anything in the personal injury case.
First, the accident victim must demonstrate that a person or entity behaved negligently or unreasonably under the circumstances—and that their accident occurred as a result. In addition, the accident victim must show that they suffered at least one injury directly resulting from their accident.
A knowledgeable personal injury lawyer can help you establish the legal elements of your claim so that you can recover monetary damages for your injuries and help prove pain and suffering.
Injuries that Result from Others’ Negligence
Victims of serious accidents can sustain injuries that leave them debilitated and in pain for many years. The injuries an accident victim will suffer depend upon the type of accident and the impact force. Common accident-related injuries include traumatic brain damage, fractures, soft tissue injuries, internal injuries, spinal cord damage, and paralysis.
If you suffer any of these injuries in your accident, your top priority should be to seek same-day medical treatment. A hospital emergency room doctor or urgent care physician can examine you, take the necessary imaging studies, and diagnose your medical condition. If you require additional treatment, your doctor can make the necessary recommendations or directly refer you to a specialist or physical therapy facility.
While you focus on seeking the medical treatment you need and recovering from your injuries, your lawyer can handle the legal aspects of your personal injury claim.
First, your lawyer can gather the pertinent documents for your case, including medical records, a victim impact statement, photographs of your injuries or property damage to the involved vehicles, and wage loss statements. Your lawyer can then assemble these documents into a settlement demand package that they will later send to the insurance company once you finish your medical treatment.
The MNH Injury Team Gets ResultsWe get you the results you need and provide legal advice through the whole court process. Don’t be unprepared when you could have one of the best legal teams out there to assist you. Reach out to us today to get your consultation.
How a Lawyer Can Help With Your Personal Injury Case
In addition to preparing a settlement demand letter and demand package on your behalf, your lawyer can be an invaluable help throughout your entire personal injury case. First, your lawyer can represent you during all settlement negotiations with the insurance company. Despite their advertisements to the contrary, insurance companies are never advocating for you in a personal injury claim or lawsuit. This is true even if you file a first-party uninsured—or underinsured—motorist claim in a car accident case.
Insurance companies, as big businesses, are only out for themselves. They make money by collecting premiums from their insureds, but they do not make money by paying out large personal injury claims and judgments. Therefore, you need a strong negotiator on your side throughout your entire case.
An experienced personal injury lawyer can aggressively negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf. If the insurance company refuses to compensate you appropriately for your injuries, your lawyer can threaten a lawsuit and, if necessary, file it in the civil court system.
After filing a lawsuit in your case, your lawyer will continue negotiating on your behalf and pursuing the compensation you deserve. However, by starting the litigation process, the court will become involved and establish deadlines for your case via a scheduling order.
During litigation, the parties will partake in discovery, including answering written questions called interrogatories and participating in discovery depositions. If the case remains unresolved after discovery, the parties will typically attend a settlement conference. During the settlement conference, a judge or mediator will encourage the parties to settle their case and facilitate additional settlement discussions.
If the case still does not resolve, the parties will present their case at a jury trial. The jury will then decide the outcome of all disputed issues, including the damages. The parties may consider mediation or binding arbitration as an alternative to a jury trial.
Your personal injury lawyer can help you decide whether you should accept a settlement offer from the insurance company or litigate your case in the court system.
What Is the Deadline for Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Victims of accidents resulting from others’ negligence do not have unlimited time to file a claim or lawsuit. In Alberta, accident victims only have two years from their accident date to take legal action. If they fail to do so, they waive their right to monetary damages later on. Therefore, you need to retain a personal injury lawyer to represent you as early on in the process as possible.
Once your lawyer takes over your case, they can file a lawsuit in the court system if the statute of limitations runs short. Even after filing a lawsuit in the court system, your lawyer can still negotiate your claim successfully and recover the monetary damages you deserve for your injuries.
What Damages Can I Recover in my Personal Injury Case?
Accident victims who suffer personal injuries due to someone else’s negligence can recover various damages. Every personal injury case is different, and one personal injury plaintiff’s damages may vary significantly from another plaintiff’s damages.
The exact amount of damages that an accident victim recovers will depend upon the nature and extent of their injuries, the extent of their medical treatment, whether they lost income from not working, and whether they suffered a permanent injury.
To show that an injury is permanent, a healthcare provider needs to state, to a reasonable degree of medical probability, that you suffered an injury that they do not expect to become better over time.
As part of a personal injury settlement or lawsuit, an accident victim can recover damages for:
- Lost earnings
- Loss of earning capacity
- Mental distress
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of the ability to use a body part
- Loss of life enjoyment
- Loss of spousal consortium
Call a Personal Injury Lawyer for More Information
Filing a personal injury claim on your own is a huge mistake and wastes valuable time. The insurance company has teams of adjusters and lawyers working against your interests. The legal system is complicated, and there are many rules that you have to learn and follow.
Generally speaking, the sooner you retain an experienced personal injury lawyer to represent you in your case, the more compensable your case becomes.
A skilled lawyer can aggressively negotiate on your behalf and, if necessary, file a lawsuit and litigate your case to a conclusion. Always seek experienced counsel for your injury claim. This is the best thing you can do to protect your rights to compensation. Contact a personal injury lawyer today to get your consultation.Schedule A Free Consultation