When you’re involved in an accident, there’s trauma involved whether you’re physically injured or not. This can make it difficult to know what to do afterward. Here are some things to know about personal injury cases.
1. What Constitutes a Personal Injury Case
A personal injury case can occur after you’ve been injured in some type of accident. They tend to be used to help you cover the cost of medical bills, especially if the injury causes long-term pain or medical needs. There are several common incidents that constitute pursuing a personal injury case, including being injured at your workplace, being injured in a car accident and having your health jeopardized by a healthcare professional. Additionally, you don’t need to be physically injured. Psychological injuries like PTSD can be counted in a personal injury case.
2. Filing a Case
Some aspects of filing a personal injury case depend on the state you reside in. Different states have different statutes of limitations for filing a claim, typically anywhere from one to four years. A best practice is to go ahead with pursuing your case as soon as possible. Fresh evidence like injuries or damage in the case of equipment like cars can help you prove your case. Don’t speak with insurance adjusters, as they’re often to help their insured party reduce liability. Instead, tell the adjuster to contact your attorney or your insurance provider.
3. Settling a Case
A case will end in one of two ways: pursuing a trial or accepting a settlement. PI settlements are negotiations at their cores. They’re easier to deal with than a trial because they’re completed out of court. Neither party needs to deal with scheduling, preparing and waiting for a trial to commence. In a settlement, the plaintiff files a lawsuit and then the defendant will typically respond with a settlement offer. There can be some disagreements regarding settlement amounts, which can lengthen the process but you’re always able to negotiate. The initial offer doesn’t necessarily need to be final. If you do decide to pursue a trial, you are able to continue negotiating a settlement as long as a verdict hasn’t yet been reached.
4. Working with an Attorney
You don’t always need a personal injust attorney. Some cases are fairly cut-and-dry, such as rear-end collisions. In a case like this, insurance companies can handle things on their own. An attorney can be helpful when the facts are more complex. Maybe the situation was complicated or you have an unusual or less noticeable injury. Perhaps the at-fault party has decided to contest his or her liability or the case is about medical malpractice and therefore requires expert testimony. An attorney will help you handle all these complications.
People tend to think hiring an attorney is an expense they can’t handle, but personal injury lawyers will often take your case at no charge and instead take a cut of the settlement, typically around 30%. This is called a contingency fee arrangement and helps you avoid further costs when the point of your case is to cover costs incurred by an accident.
If you’ve been injured in an accident and want to file for personal injury, do your research and consider your options.