When other individuals behave negligently and carelessly, serious accidents may happen, leaving others with permanent injuries and medical complications. However, dealing with insurance companies by yourself is often an uphill battle.
Insurance companies are not in the business of helping people. Instead, they want to settle personal injury claims and lawsuits as quickly and cheaply as possible.
If you file a personal injury claim seeking monetary damages, you need an aggressive team of attorneys advocating for you every step of the way.
First, your lawyer can answer all of your questions and address your concerns about your accident and how best to proceed. Your lawyer can also investigate your accident circumstances and determine your eligibility for filing a claim.
If you can move forward, your lawyer can assist you with every step of the claims-filing process and handle all oral and written communications with insurance company representatives.
Finally, your lawyer can litigate your case to a prompt resolution if the insurance company does not offer you fair monetary damages.
By having a skilled personal injury attorney on your side advocating for you every step of the way, you significantly increase your chances of recovering the total monetary damages you deserve for your injuries.
Types of Personal Injury Matters that Arise from Negligence
When other individuals and entities behave in a reckless or negligent manner, the chances are good that an accident will happen. These accidents often result in severe and life-threatening injuries, which may affect every aspect of an accident victim's life.
Some of the most common types of accidents that result from the negligence of others include:
- Car and truck accidents
- Bicycle and Motorcycle collisions
- Pedestrian accidents at crosswalks and in parking lots and parking garages
- Premises accidents, including negligent security incidents and slip-and-fall accidents
- Construction accidents and other workplace accidents
You are not alone if you suffered injuries in one of these accidents because of another person’s negligence. However, to have the best chances of success in your case, you should retain a skilled personal injury attorney to represent you as quickly as possible.
Your lawyer can objectively examine your legal options and help you select the best one for your case. Your attorney can also file a claim with the at-fault party's insurance company and pursue the monetary damages you need for all of your injuries.
Proving a Personal Injury Claim or Lawsuit
A party is negligent when they act recklessly or carelessly under the circumstances. Negligence can take on many different forms, but it usually involves one or more parties acting unreasonably.
A party may behave negligently when they fail to act like a hypothetical reasonable person should have acted in the same scenario. Alternatively, a negligent party acts in a manner that a hypothetical reasonable person would not have acted under the same circumstances.
The burden of proof is on the accident victim to recover monetary compensation in a personal injury claim. Therefore, the accident victim must establish various legal elements, or they will not recover monetary compensation in their personal injury claim or lawsuit.
First, the accident victim must prove that the other party owed them a duty of reasonable care. For example, in a premises accident, property owners have a duty to safely maintain their premises in a suitable condition for the benefit of property visitors. They also typically have a duty to warn about or correct dangerous conditions they know exist on their premises.
In addition to proving that the other party owed a legal duty of care, the injured accident victim must establish that the at-fault party deviated from this standard of care in some manner.
For example, in a premises accident, the property owner or manager might have failed to warn about or correct a broken staircase or railing on their property within a reasonable amount of time.
Next, the injured accident victim must show that the accident occurred directly due to the other party's negligence.
Finally, through medical expert testimony, they must demonstrate that they suffered at least one physical injury as a direct and proximate result of their accident.
To prove the various legal elements of their personal injury claim or lawsuit, an accident victim's attorney may need to produce multiple documents to the insurance company or introduce several types of evidence in their case.
For example, they can submit copies of the accident victim's medical records and bills. They can also produce copies of the police report or have the responding police officer testify as a witness in court.
In addition, expert testimony may be beneficial when proving the legal elements of a personal injury claim.
For example, if the at-fault party's insurance company is disputing fault for the accident, the accident victim's attorney can retain an accident reconstructionist who can review the accident circumstances, speak with individuals who saw the accident, and draft a report to submit to the insurance company.
Similarly, a medical expert, such as a treating healthcare provider, can testify that the accident and the claimed injuries share a direct relationship. A medical expert can also attest that one or more of the accident victim's asserted injuries are permanent, meaning that they are unlikely to get better, even after a significant amount of time passes.
Your personal injury attorney can help you satisfy the legal elements of your claim or lawsuit and will work to recover the maximum monetary damages you deserve for your injuries.
Monetary Damages You May Recover in a Personal Injury Claim
Car accidents, premises accidents, and other occurrences that result from negligence can lead to severe and painful injuries that leave an accident victim incapacitated for a significant amount of time.
In these situations, accident victims can recover monetary damages for injuries and other accident consequences. The total economic recovery that an accident victim obtains will usually depend upon the circumstances of their accident, the nature and extent of their injuries, and the cost of their medical treatment.
First, an accident victim can recover all their related medical expenses from the accident. Moreover, if a medical provider determines that the accident victim needs future medical care, the accident victim's personal injury award should include those anticipated costs.
In addition, if the accident victim had to take time off work to recover from their injuries or attend medical appointments, they can claim lost income or loss of earning capacity.
In addition to these tangible losses, accident victims can recover various monetary damages for their intangible losses.
Those losses may include financial compensation for their:
- Mental distress
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of spousal companionship and consortium
- Loss of life enjoyment
- Permanent disfigurement
- Permanent disability
- Loss of the ability to use one or more body parts due to their injuries (such as paralysis).
A skilled personal injury lawyer in your area can help you maximize your damages by aggressively negotiating with insurance company adjusters, highlighting the strengths of your case, and threatening the insurance company with litigation if they refuse to compensate you fairly.
Ways a Personal Injury Attorney Can Help in Your Case
One of the most important steps following a serious accident is to retain a skilled personal injury attorney to represent you.
Your attorney will stand by your side every step of the way. Your lawyer can also take the lead when dealing with insurance companies and their representatives and pursuing the fair compensation you need for your accident-related losses.
Investigating Your Case
First, a personal injury attorney can help you thoroughly investigate the circumstances behind the accident that led to your injuries.
Sometimes, insurance company adjusters will dispute fault for an accident or claim that the accident victim caused or contributed to their own accident or injuries. In that situation, your attorney can retain an accident reconstructionist to determine fault in your case.
The accident reconstructionist can speak with you about the accident, review police reports and incident reports, visit the occurrence scene, and speak with witnesses. The accident reconstructionist can then testify in support of your case, either at a discovery deposition or civil jury trial.
Preparing and Filing a Claim on Your Behalf
Next, a personal injury attorney can prepare a claim on your behalf to file with the at-fault party's insurance company.
As part of this claim, your lawyer can gather and submit various documents to help you prove the necessary legal elements. Those documents may include copies of investigation reports, witness statements, injury photographs, property damage photographs, lost income documentation, medical records, medical bills, and expert reports.
Once your attorney gathers all of these documents, they can also prepare a settlement demand letter and submit everything to the insurance company adjuster handling your claim. Your lawyer can then work to negotiate the fair monetary compensation you need and deserve.
Dealing with Insurance Companies
Additionally, your lawyer can handle all written and verbal communications with insurance companies and their adjusters. Specifically, your lawyer can begin negotiating a fair settlement offer to truly compensate you for all of your accident-related losses.
Sometimes, this process can take several weeks, or even months, since many insurance company adjusters are unreasonable and refuse to offer accident victims the fair compensation they deserve – at least during the beginning stages of their claim. Your lawyer can convince the adjuster to increase their offer significantly without the need for litigation.
Litigating Your Case
If the insurance company adjuster refuses to offer you the fair monetary recovery you deserve, your lawyer can file a lawsuit and litigate your case to a resolution in court.
During litigation, the parties will participate in discovery, including depositions. Once this process is complete, the insurance company may raise their settlement offer. If that does not happen, you can take your case to a civil jury trial or alternative dispute resolution (ADR) proceeding.
Taking Your Case to a Jury Trial or ADR
Finally, your lawyer can represent you during all stages of the litigation process, including representing you at a civil jury trial, mediation hearing, or binding arbitration hearing.
During a civil jury trial, the parties present evidence and call witnesses. The jury then has to decide the case outcome and resolve all disputed issues. If monetary damages are in dispute, the jury will determine what, if any, financial compensation to award the accident victim.
As an alternative to a jury trial, the parties may consider ADR. For example, at a mediation session, a neutral, independent mediator helps facilitate additional settlement discussions between the parties and hopefully brings them closer to a resolution.
However, at a binding arbitration hearing, the parties put on a mini-trial outside of court, introduce evidence and call witnesses. A neutral arbitrator then reviews all of this information and issues a monetary damage award to the accident victim.
Your lawyer can help you decide whether you should accept a pending settlement offer or litigate your case, either in court or at an ADR proceeding.
Speak to a Personal Injury Lawyer About Your Case Right Away
If you recently sustained injuries in an accident that was not your fault, you may be eligible to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit with the at-fault party’s insurance company. Throughout this process, your personal injury lawyer can answer all of your legal questions and assist you during various stages of the case.
Remember that insurance companies have a lot of experience in finding ways to not provide compensation to accident victims. These insurers will never have your best interests in mind, and too many people accept much less compensation than they need to cover their past and future losses.
Your lawyer will do everything possible to help you secure the maximum amount of monetary recovery available to you in your case. They know what you deserve to financially recover, and they will fight for fair compensation. Seek legal assistance if you believe someone else injured you.