Accidents happen, such being our lot in life. However, while you cannot always prevent accidents, such things carrying an implied element of unexpectedness, you can allow yourself to recuperate from any losses incurred by them. One of the ways this can be achieved is by making a personal injury claim should the accident not be your fault and particularly damaging. This differs from insurance, whereby the trouble is proving that the damages fall under the stipulations of a pre-agreed contract. In this instance, the task to prove an accident happened at all and determining where the blame lies.
As you might have expected, taking someone to court isn’t as easy as it sounds. There’s a fairly complex legalistic procedure you and the defendant both have to go through before anyone sees anything like a settlement. As personal injury claims are also expensive to take to court, you want to make sure you get your claim right the first time.
Learn the System
Before you can make a claim, you need to know how personal injury lawsuits work. Applying for a suit through the wrong channels or with an incomplete understanding of the system will not help your case in the slightest, and may even cost you even more than the initial injury ever did. All legal information pertaining to personal injury claims are available online for public use, so take the opportunity to do your research before filing anything.
If you want any information from a professional source, don’t shy away from asking for help from an attorney either. They’re discussed further below.
Make Sure You File Your Claim as Soon As Possible
Depending on the injury and local or federal laws, there’s probably an expiration period for you to file a suit on an injury before it can no longer be brought before caught. While the expiration date is usually fairly generous – you’ll have at least a few weeks before the case can no longer be filed – there are also practical reasons for wanting to launch your personal injury claim sooner rather than later.
The longer you leave a claim, the more likely you’ll start to lose crucial evidence. Without evidence, you’ll be unable to prove your claim. It will also give more time for your injuries or damages to further inconvenience you and the household, and potentially rack up any related costs.
Gather Plenty of Evidence
You should be collecting things to use in your claim from the moment you suffer your accident. Take a photo of the surrounding location if the injury was caused by the environment (such as a falling shelf or uneven paving stone), and take one of the injuries itself before it’s treated in the hospital. If you can, gather plenty of eyewitness accounts to describe what happened from a neutral third-party, and collect their names and contact details so you can call on them later. Official statements such as doctor’s statements or police reports are also invaluable.
Keep track of any further information that develops as time goes on, such as how well your injury heals, anytime you’ve had to take off work due to it, and any difficulties that the injury causes for your quality of life. All this can be used to determine how much you can claim from a successful suit.
Ensure that you keep all this safe in a neatly organised folder. You will be called to provide when you go to court.
Hire the Assistance of an Attorney
It cannot be stressed how valuable it can be to have someone who knows what they’re doing. Well, you can pursue a personal injury claim on your own, it’s true in the same sense you can fix your TV on your own. It’s possible, but not advisable unless you know what you’re doing, and the law can be very finicky and complicated to grasp. If you know the defendant is hiring a lawyer to support their defence, you will need one of your own in order to counter them.
As well as leading your case, a lawyer can also advise you as to how much your injuries should be worth. If the defendant offers to settle out of court, they can help to prevent you from being sold short.
Most law companies will help you organize, structure and set out your claim in a way that’s most advantageous to you, and can also ensure that it’s properly presented before the courts. Even if you’re reluctant still to hire a lawyer, most firms, such as Heil-Law are happy to provide free consultation upon a first visit.
Christian Mills, a professional student and freelance writer is interesting in personal injury law and enjoys sharing related articles. If you would like to learn more about Christian, you can check out his google+ profile.