One of the most important things you should do after an accident is seek medical treatment for your injury. Unfortunately, medical treatment can be costly, and your medical bills will pile up quickly.
If you were injured due to the fault of someone else, you can seek compensation for your injuries through a personal injury claim.
The most common personal injury claim is an auto accident claim. If another driver’s negligence caused the auto accident, you may be entitled to seek compensation for damages such as your medical bills and lost wages.
Other types of personal injury claims include slip and falls, wrongful death, pedestrian injuries, truck accidents, and motorcycle accidents. Regardless of the type of personal injury claims, there are some important steps you should follow to increase your chances of a successful outcome in your case.
What to Do at the Site of Accident
The moments immediately after an accident can be traumatic. If you are physically able to do so, check on the other people in your car and the other driver(s) involved in the accident. Exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver(s).
If there were witnesses to the accident, get their names and contact information. Ask the witnesses what they saw and who they believe was at fault in the accident.
You should call the police to file an accident report. Provide the police officer with a clear description of how the accident happened from your perspective. Do not, however, give your opinion as to what or who caused the accident.
It is important that you do not admit you were at any fault in the accident. These sorts of statements can and will be later used against you by the other driver’s insurance company.
Is It Worth Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer?
Shortly after the accident, you will likely hear from the insurance company. You will likely be asked to give a recorded statement.
Insurance companies have a team of adjusters and attorneys working for them. Their main goal is to save money. The insurance company is not looking out for your best interest. The insurance company will use your statements against you in an attempt to reduce your claim value or even deny your claim completely.
If the insurance company has a team of lawyers and adjusters defending them, shouldn’t you hire an attorney to fight for your right to compensation?
Your personal injury lawyer at Mehta & McConnell will communicate with the insurance company on your behalf. We will work to obtain the most favorable recovery possible for you.
Auto claims can be confusing because there are often multiple insurance companies involved. Your personal injury attorney will explain the types of coverage available to you, and we will then work to maximize your recovery from all available sources.
Studies have shown that insurance companies pay more in cases where the injured claimant is represented by counsel. Attorneys know how to speak to adjusters and negotiate with insurance companies. Let Mehta & McConnell negotiate on your behalf with the insurance companies.
Your Medical Treatment
Your focus after an accident should be on receiving the medical treatment you need for your injuries. It is important to see a doctor as soon as possible after your accident. Follow your doctor’s recommendations. Keep and attend your follow-up appointments.
Take medications prescribed by your medical providers. If your doctor refers you to specialists or for treatment such as physical therapy, make sure you schedule appointments with these providers.
You should keep records of all of your medical bills related to your accident. Keep track of the amount of bills you have paid and the amount that remain outstanding. These bills will help your lawyer calculate a demand to settle your claim.
If your medical bills were paid by a health insurance plan, there may be a lien against your settlement. An experienced personal injury attorney can investigate whether an asserted lien is legally valid. If so, your attorney will ensure this lien is addressed as part of the settlement so you are legally protected.
Types of Damages in Personal Injury Claims
You may be entitled to compensation for a variety of damages in your personal injury claims. Some common examples are:
- Lost wages,
- Anticipated future lost wages,
- Damages to your car or property,
- Medicals bills for treatment you have received, and
- Pain and suffering.
Difference Between a Lawsuit and a Claim
Clients often ask whether they are suing someone by hiring us. In most personal injury cases, a lawsuit is never filed. Instead, a claim is filed with an insurance company.
We will help you set up your claim with the insurance company. We will then help you gather and submit all of the documents and information necessary to support your claim. When appropriate, we will attempt to negotiate a settlement with the insurance company.
If the insurance company does not offer a fair settlement in your claim, then your attorney will discuss with you the pros and cons of filing a lawsuit.
By filing a lawsuit, you are asking a jury to decide whether the other party’s negligence caused your accident. If the other party is found to be negligent, then the jury will decide the amount of damages to award you.
Lawsuits are more complex, costly, and time-consuming than claims. Lawsuits don’t make sense in every situation. It is important to discuss with your attorney if a lawsuit makes sense in your case.
How Long Does a Personal Injury Claim Take?
The length of your personal injury claim will depend on the complexity and duration of your medical treatment. In most cases, it doesn’t make sense to begin settlement negotiations until after you have completed your medical treatment.
After your treatment has ended, your attorney will compile the necessary documentation and information in support of your claim. These documents and information will be submitted with a demand letter.
The insurance company most likely won’t agree to the demand letter. Instead, they will issue their own offer. The parties will then try to negotiate a settlement.
You can expect your personal injury claim to last for at least a few months, if not longer. The insurance company may not immediately respond to your lawyer’s demand letter. Even if the insurance company quickly responds, it may issue a low offer and lengthy negotiations may be required.
When Should I Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?
You should hire a personal injury attorney as soon as you are able to after your accident. The insurance company will ask to take your statement very shortly after the accident. You should not give a statement without first consulting an attorney.
As you can see, actions you take and statements you make almost immediately after an accident will have a significant impact on the merits of your personal injury claim. Speaking with an attorney early on can help you maximize your recovery at the end of your claim.
Consult with a Charlotte Personal Injury Lawyer Today
It won’t cost you anything to speak with a personal injury attorney at Mehta & McConnell. We offer a free, no-obligation initial consultation about your personal injury claim. Contact us to schedule your consultation.