What Is a Personal Injury Claim? How to Qualify for One and Make One

personal injury claim

Thousands of individuals are injured or killed in car accidents each year. Whether the collision results in significant injury and property damage or a slight fender-bender, you may need to file a personal injury claim for losses with an insurance provider.

But, what is a personal injury claim? Read on to understand what a personal injury claim involves, and how a car accident lawyer can help you.

What Is a Personal Injury Claim?

A personal injury claim is a legal dispute. It results when an individual gets harmed in an accident or receives an injury that someone else may be accountable for. The injured person may receive compensation from the at-fault party’s insurance carrier for their medical bills, suffering, pain, and other continuing medical costs.

A personal injury attorney who will represent you in a civil court process can formalize your personal injury case. This court proceeding aims to identify those who have legal responsibility for the car accident through a court decision.

Or, issues might get settled before a lawsuit ever gets filed. The following are the two possible outcomes of a case, such as the need for medical care following a car accident:

Formal Lawsuit

Formal personal injury cases often begin when a private person (the plaintiff) files a civil complaint against another individual (the defendant), claiming that the defendant acted carelessly or with negligence in connection with an injury or accident that caused harm. This type of lawsuit differs from criminal cases that the government initiates.

Informal Settlement

Most disagreements about who was at fault for a car accident get resolved by the people directly involved in the dispute. This will include their insurance companies and the attorneys for both parties. A settlement often takes the form of negotiations.

Then, a written agreement will follow in which both parties agree to forego further action (such as filing a lawsuit). They will settle the dispute by paying a sum of money that is acceptable to the injured party.

Types of Personal Injury Compensation Damages 

Punitive and compensatory damages are the two basic categories of personal injury compensation damages. The damages get divided into categories. Compensation for your costs related to the injury is provided through compensatory damages.

Just about all personal injury claims should be eligible for compensatory damages. However, punitive damages may only be applied in specific cases in order to punish the person who committed gross negligence.

They are far less often given out than compensatory damages. All other forms of compensation you may receive, except for workers’ compensation, will fall under one of these two broad categories of personal injury compensation.

Special Compensatory Damages

This kind of personal injury compensation, referred to as “economic damages,” involves quantified out-of-pocket costs. In other words, you may receive special compensatory damages for expenses and lost income due to your injury.

Medical Expenses

You might receive compensation for such things as the price of hospital stays, medical costs, and medical care (including surgery and lab tests). Also, you might receive compensation associated with physical therapy, rehab, pain management, doctor’s office visits, prescription drug costs, at-home or nursing home caregiving expenses, and transportation costs for medical care (including ambulance).

Other Special Compensatory Damages

In addition to medical expenses, there is the chance you could receive additional compensation for your car accident. A few more examples of damages would be:

  • A rise in living costs
  • Expenses related to property damage, such as replacement and repair
  • Lost wages or loss of earning ability
  • Compensation for loss of irreplaceable objects
  • Costs related to postponed or altered travel due to your injury

General Compensatory Damages

Some expenses are not easy to quantify. In that case, they may fall under general compensatory damages. Some examples of general compensatory damages include:

  • Pain and distress
  • Physical impairment and disfigurement
  • Loss of partnership and companionship
  • Lower quality of life
  • Loss of happiness and wellbeing
  • Inconvenience

Wrongful Death Damages

Damages for wrongful death get combined under general and special compensatory damages. These damages will only apply in wrongful death instances and go to the victim’s surviving family members.

Punitive Damages 

Punitive damages, as stated before, are not intended to make up for your losses. They penalize the party responsible for your personal injury or a loved one’s wrongful death due to the car accident. Punitive damages might be awarded if the court decides that the compensatory damages you received are not enough to keep the defendant from repeating their “mistake.”

Dealing With Insurers From Both Parties

Notify your auto insurance company as soon as possible after the accident happened. To handle all parts of your claim, your insurance provider will issue a claim number, and an adjuster to manage your claim.

The insurer will want as much information as necessary about the accident. Because of this, they may ask you to give a recorded statement of your account of the event.

If the claim concerns property damage to a vehicle, the insurance carrier may send out a representative to assess the amount of the damage. They will also try to determine if the vehicle is repairable.

You should also notify the other driver’s insurance provider about the accident. But, be cautious about what you tell them. Remember, the other driver’s company is protecting the at-fault party’s interests and may not be looking out for your best interests.

You will want to take pictures of the accident scene and any injuries. Also, jot down any notes about the accident, including the condition of the roads and what the weather was like at the time of the accident. Be sure to record the other driver’s license number, tag number, and other important information.

A Car Accident Lawyer Can Help Protect You

An auto accident attorney will communicate with defendants, insurance companies, and other lawyers for their client’s personal injury cases. They will make every effort to negotiate a fair settlement. They will do this because they know how much your case is worth.

Your case may be worth far more than the original offer you received. If the insurance provider won’t bargain, your attorney may initiate a personal injury lawsuit on your behalf. If your case gets to trial, they will manage every stage of the pre-trial procedure and act as your legal representative.

Hire a Car Accident Attorney for Your Personal Injury Claim

Working with an insurance provider can be a challenge. After a car accident, the difficult task of delivering the personal injury documents to the insurer and engaging in claim settlement discussions can be intimidating.

Allow an experienced personal injury attorney to reduce some of the strain of your personal injury claim. You can discover more about what a vehicle accident lawyer can do for you by contacting us.

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