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The Process of a Personal Injury Claim

August 18, 2023 Legal Team
gavel with the caption: the personal injury claim process

Injuries can occur at any time, but when you’re hurt due to someone else’s negligence, reckless behavior, or intentional wrongdoing, it’s particularly distressing. If you’ve suffered the physical and economic impacts of a preventable injury, you deserve compensation from the party at fault. A personal injury claim is the civil court’s way of righting a wrong by holding a liable party responsible for damages they caused instead of leaving the victim holding the bag for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

A personal injury claim proceeds independently from any criminal charges in the case and doesn’t have to be associated with a crime. Often they result from car accidents, workplace accidents, defective products, slip-and-fall accidents, and medical malpractice.

If you’ve been injured directly due to someone else’s actions, a personal injury claim can help you achieve a sense of justice as well as financial compensation for your damages.

What to Do After a Personal Injury

It’s difficult to think clearly when you’re hurt, but by keeping a clear head after an accident you can protect yourself physically and financially. The personal injury claim process begins with your actions immediately following an injury, no matter how it occurred. If you were hurt through no fault of your own, the following actions can benefit your claim:

  • Use your phone—or if you’re seriously hurt, ask someone else to use it for you—and take photos of anything that contributed to your injury, such as a loose stair rail, defective product, or another vehicle
  • Photograph any visible injuries
  • Add the contact information of other involved parties such as other drivers, a business owner, or a negligent medical provider
  • Add the contact information of eyewitnesses
  • Record your own statement about how the injury occurred while it’s fresh in your mind
  • Ask for a police report or accident report
  • Seek medical attention and have a complete evaluation with a detailed report
  • Keep all medical bills or invoices
  • Follow your doctor’s instructions, avoid posting on social media, and call a personal injury attorney with experience in your type of injury

Some injury victims also keep a journal or record of their pain, medical procedures, and impacts on their daily routines.

Hire an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney in Your Area

Before you begin the claims process or speak to any representatives from an insurance company, it’s important to have a personal injury attorney on your side. Direct all communications with insurance companies to your lawyer. Your attorney will review your evidence, investigate all aspects of your injury, and determine liability to represent your best interests in the claim. Insurance companies commonly use delaying tactics and other methods to undervalue or deny claims. A seasoned attorney recognizes and counteracts these methods to protect your rights.

Proving Liability in a Personal Injury Claim

In no-fault states like Florida, injury victims hurt in car accidents must file against their own insurance policy unless their damages greatly exceed the $10,000 PIP coverage or they’ve suffered catastrophic injuries. In these and other serious injuries from causes like slip-and-fall cases, dog bites, or medical malpractice, your attorney must prove liability on the part of the person or business at fault for your injury. Proving liability requires demonstrating the following:

  • That the party at fault owed a duty of reasonable care to prevent injuries to others, such as a driver’s duty to avoid distractions or a manufacturer’s duty to produce safe products
  • That the party at fault breached this duty by acting negligently, recklessly, or with purposeful wrongdoing
  • That their negligent breach of duty directly caused your injury
  • That you’ve suffered significant economic and non-economic damages from the injury

Once your attorney demonstrates clear liability and calculates an amount of compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering, they’ll draft a compelling demand letter to the appropriate insurance company and begin negotiating your claim.

Do I Have to Go to Court for a Personal Injury Claim?

Over 90% of personal injury claims settle out of court through negotiations with a skilled personal injury attorney. Only if the insurance company uses bad faith tactics to deny your valid claim or seriously undervalues your compensation does the case proceed to a lawsuit in court. Like most states, Florida allows up to 4 years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit. This statute of limitations typically gives claimants enough time to gain a settlement, but a diligent attorney, such as Shapiro | Delgado | Hofmann, is more than willing to pursue the matter in court to secure your compensation through a judge or jury. Our personal injury lawyers have offices in Sarasota and Bradenton. Contact them today to get the justice you deserve!