Common Personal Injury Claim Problems with SolutionsThere is no such thing as a bad question, not in school nor in legal matters. Asking questions is paramount to understanding how laws work. If you have some questions, ask away, but you may find answers below.
Do You Have a Claim?
Perhaps the biggest question is whether you have a personal injury claim or not. It depends on the nature of the claim and is not a decision to make by yourself. Foremost is consulting with a lawyer. Even if you don't necessarily hire them, an experienced lawyer can quite often explain what will happen. Maybe he or she will take your case, maybe not.
You can also take some steps on your own. Is fault clear in the personal injury case? Has the other party agreed they were at fault? Have you received settlement offers already? These can quite often show if your case is valid. For example, if the police report in a car accident, with corroboration from witnesses, says the other driver was at fault, you have a case. If you suffered little to no injury, it may not be worth your time to pursue a claim. However, if you need compensation because of a serious injury, you can often get damages greater than you might think.
Finding a Lawyer
How do you find a lawyer? This is not a race; personal injury claims take time. You should, for one, wait some months before filing a claim. If you suffer serious physical injury, you just don't know what the full extent will be unless you and your doctor give it time. You might develop a new problem, mental or physical, months after the accident. If you accept damages before that, you are quite often out of luck.
Your lawyer's job is to find relevant proof. Sometimes it will be quite easy to prove fault. In most car accidents, proof is clear, even if both sides are at fault to some degree. A doctor will also give you proof. If you suffer a severe injury causing great pain and damage, your doctor can prove it in a court of law.
One common tactic defendants like insurers use is to give you a low settlement offer. They expect you to counter with another offer, but hope you take the first one. This is often before you even get a lawyer (and they know that). You should take no offer without consulting with a lawyer experienced in your type of personal injury case. Some forgo a lawyer, take the offer, and end up with a fraction of their deserved amount.
Going to Court
Should you take a settlement or go to court for more? Most personal injury lawsuits are settled out of court, and for good reason: lawyer fees can be high, especially for the defendant. You can save some money by taking a fair settlement offer. Your lawyer typically takes a cut of what you get in damages, though it's less if you settle before court. However, do not be afraid to go to court if your case is strong. It can pay dividends. Just be sure to consult with your lawyer before making big decisions.