Accidents can happen, and unfortunately, they can happen to you, leaving you not just injured but in need of money and medical care. In some cases, you may be entitled to damages or compensation. But time is working against you, and you need to act and pursue your claim moments after the event to ensure you get what you’re due. Here’s a guide to filing a personal injury claim. Consult with your attorney about the specifics.
Get Checked by a Doctor, Right Away
After an accident, it’s instinctual to play it tough or even tell people you’re fine because you don’t want to put them to any trouble. You may even feel fine, but don’t let that keep you from getting a checkup. Even if you don’t feel pain or other symptoms after a serious accident, something might be wrong inside, so have a doctor check you out. Some symptoms may not show up until long after the event. This shows due diligence and helps your potential case by preventing the other party’s insurance company or attorneys from claiming your injuries were never serious.
Consulting an Attorney
Whenever you’re involved in legal matters, you need a legal expert in your corner. Lawyers, especially if they specialize in personal injury cases, know the ins and outs of the legal system, the specifics of the law, and have experience with cases like yours. They can also alert you to ways to receive funding from litigation finance firms and other sources during your case, so you can take care of medical and living expenses in case you’re unable to work. A lawyer works for you but is also the best “friend” to have at a time like this.
Just the Facts
In providing a guide to filing a personal injury claim, we’d be remiss not to mention the importance of compiling all the facts of the case. Create a binder or folder—both real and on your computer—of all the medical records, receipts, car repairs, therapy sessions, emails, communications, photographs, and so on that pertain to your case. Keep copies and provide your lawyer with this and any other documents they may need to pursue the case. The facts lie in documentation, so be sure to cover all your bases.
File Your Claim
Your attorney will be able to walk you through this. If you’re pursuing your own case (not recommended, but smaller-scale cases can be over and done quickly), consult your own insurer and the insurance company of the other person or institution involved and submit your claims. It may be that the other party will want to settle out of court, and the attorneys can negotiate the terms of the settlement. If this doesn’t happen, file a complaint with your state’s civil court system. Do it quickly. As mentioned, you only have so much time to file a suit.