If you’ve been injured in an accident, it’s important to know what your options are. Injuries cost time, suffering, lost wages from time off work, and medical bills, and you deserve to be compensated for all three if someone else was at fault for the damage. Going through a personal injury claim or lawsuit can seem like an impossible mountain to climb, but breaking it down into steps will help make the process more manageable. Here are a few things you need to know before pursuing your case.
Determine whether you have a viable personal injury claim.
If you believe you have been injured through someone else’s mistake, be sure to keep track of all your medical records, treatments, and visits to doctor’s offices. You should also collect evidence such as photographs to determine who caused the accident if possible. These will help you to make your claim when you consult with a personal injury lawyer. Talk with several accident attorneys if necessary—it’s important to find someone you trust to work on your behalf. Start this process as soon as you are able in order to make your claim more credible.
Know your options.
If you and your lawyer agree that your injury claim is valid, the next step is deciding whether to file a personal injury claim or a personal injury lawsuit. In the vast majority of cases, a claim is filed with the at-fault party’s insurance company, who negotiates with the injured person to reach a cash settlement. This involves an interview with the insurance company’s claims adjuster, who goes over accident reports, medical records, witness statements, and other evidence. If the adjuster determines the insured is at fault and compensation is owed to the accident victim, the negotiation process can begin.
Lawsuits and Arbitration
If this process breaks down, then a lawsuit becomes an option. Most injured parties and insurance companies wish to avoid the time-consuming, expensive, and public nature of a lawsuit, but sometimes they are necessary. Consult with your personal injury lawyer to determine what the minimum acceptable settlement amount should be, and make sure you don’t enter into a lawsuit lightly. Make sure your lawyer is familiar with state laws and has negotiated successful claims in the past. Statutes of Limitations can vary by state, so it’s vital to file a lawsuit quickly if you decide to do so.
Arbitration is also an option if you feel that your settlement is insufficient. The insurance company and injured party will agree on a neutral third party, or arbitrator, to make a decision rather than going to trial. This is less expensive and takes less time than a lawsuit.
Going through injury claims can be stressful and frustrating to someone who is unfamiliar with the process, which is why you need a personal injury lawyer you can trust to protect your interests. Getting help from experienced professionals is the best way to ensure a good outcome for your claim, so don’t try to go it alone. Contact the law offices of Antin, Ehrlich & Epstein today for a free consultation at (212) 221-5999.