Seeking compensation after an accident can be confusing and difficult. You might wonder how you know if you are asking for a fair amount and whether you should file a claim or lawsuit. This blog discusses some steps you can take following your accident to pursue justice. Still, because every situation is unique, covering every detail is impractical. That is why reaching out to a personal injury lawyer is important. They can evaluate your case and provide tailored advice on how to move forward.
Gathering Evidence for Your Case
As soon as possible after your accident, start the evidence-gathering process. This includes taking photos of the scene and getting contact information from witnesses. You will also want to exchange information with the other party to get in touch with them or their insurance company as you move forward with your case. If you cannot get the information because of your injuries, have a friend or family member do it.
If the police are called to the scene, give the officer your side of the story. By sharing your account, there will be a record of what happened that you can later include with your claim or lawsuit.
Receiving Medical Treatment
Taking care of yourself is of the utmost importance when you're injured in an accident. Focusing on your well-being means seeking medical attention as soon as possible, even if you don’t think you’re hurt. Many injuries can be hidden or seem minor at first but can cause serious problems later if not treated properly.
For visible injuries, take photos of them right away. Over time, your wounds will heal, and if you don’t document them soon after they happen, insurance company representatives, judges, or juries might not be able to evaluate their severity. You can include the photos with your personal injury claim to justify the compensation you seek.
Also, be sure to continue receiving medical care for as long as you have symptoms or until you reach maximum medical improvement. That way, when you send your demand letter, you can be sure to include the costs for all treatments you received.
Contacting a Lawyer
The process of pursuing compensation can be daunting, but you don’t have to go through it alone. You can have a personal injury attorney help. They can advise you on a practical course of action and guide you through the legal processes.
Your personal injury attorney can investigate your case, beginning with an interview with you. You must be open and honest about the incident and your background, including existing medical conditions. The information you provide can help as your lawyer builds your case and allows them to prepare for counterarguments the insurance company’s representatives might raise.
In addition to speaking with you, your lawyer may contact witnesses and obtain a copy of the police report. Depending on the situation, they might reach out to experts, such as accident reconstructionists and financial analysts, to determine the cause of the accident and the value of your case.
Filing a Claim with the Other Person’s Insurance Company
The next step you’ll likely take is filing a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company. A claims adjuster will be sent to investigate and eventually negotiate a settlement. It’s not unusual for the adjuster to make a quick and low initial offer.
Although this might seem like bad news for you, you can take some steps to protect your best interests. First, be sure to keep all of your documentation in order. This includes medical bills, repair bills, and any other related expenses. You will need this information to support your claim.
Next, be mindful of your interactions with the insurance adjuster. Refrain from admitting fault or discussing your injuries. Accepting blame or talking about the harm you suffered before your medical treatment has concluded can result in a lower settlement offer.
Filing a Lawsuit
If you cannot settle your case with the insurance company, your next avenue for pursuing compensation is a personal injury lawsuit. This is where you take your case to court to have a judge or jury decide the outcome.
Many cases do not actually make it to trial. Often, they are settled out of court through mediation or other alternative dispute resolution methods. However, if your case goes to trial, your attorney can prepare arguments to present in court and challenge the other side’s claims.
Reach Out to Our Firm Today
Many stages are involved in resolving a personal injury matter. Not every case will go through the same steps – the actual process will depend on the facts. Having an attorney by your side can help as you navigate the complex insurance and legal systems.
Bertram & Graf, L.L.C. delivers the counsel our Kansas City clients need. Contact us at (888) 398-2277 today.