How to sue for a personal injury accident
Have you suffered a personal injury after an accident that wasn’t your fault? Find out how to sue for compensation.
A personal injury can be highly debilitating to an individual’s physical and mental wellbeing. While the path to medical recovery follows its course, victims must appoint their legal representative to navigate the restitution process. This can take a long time and has region-specific regulations.
Victims have an uphill battle in any case. In addition to direct medical expenses incurred in treating the injuries, other motor-vehicle injury costs include productivity, wage losses, and property damage. This is why you must consult a personal injury law firm that can guide you through the restitution process.
The system is paperwork-heavy and must meet several criteria and deadlines. Only a certified legal professional can navigate this territory with accuracy. The following is an overview of the claims process so you know what to expect during your consultation.
1) Establish liability
The first step in a personal injury is establishing liability. You must first identify all the parties responsible for the injuries and losses you suffered following the accident. Insurance firms will readily accept your personal injury claim and offer a fair settlement when liability is clear.
Legal responsibility for your injuries and losses may fall on one or more parties. While proving the liability of multiple parties may be challenging, your legal representation will find ways to build an argument in your favor and take it to the negotiating table. This step is a crucial planning stage where all counter-arguments must be considered.
2) Gather evidence
The burden of proof in a personal injury claim lies with you. You will need solid evidence to prove liability. Such evidence should demonstrate that the defendant(s) in your case owed you a duty of care but breached this duty of care, and their actions or negligence resulted in your injuries and losses.
The strength of your evidence will play a critical role in determining whether or not your claim is valid. Remember what you should and shouldn’t do after an accident while gathering the evidence.
Do your best to get clear pictures and videos of the accident scene. Request a copy of the footage if the accident scene is under CCTV coverage. If anyone witnessed the events of the accidents, add them to your witness list and get their names and contact information.
After gathering evidence at the accident scene, you should report the matter to the police. Request a copy of the police report, which is integral to your evidence. Also, get a medical report when you seek treatment after the accident. Ensure you keep all the receipts of medical tests run and medications.
3) Review insurance policies
After an accident, determine whether the liable party, such as a negligent driver, has insurance coverage. Insurers are required to act in good faith when reviewing, investigating, and settling personal injury claims.
If the defendant has no applicable coverage and holds no valuable assets, you might need to check with your insurer about covering the damages. You should consider filing the suit if your insurance policy doesn’t cover you fully for the losses. Under these circumstances, the better alternative would be to negotiate and agree on a reasonable, legally binding settlement with the defendant.
4) Don’t forget statutory limitations
There is a timeframe within which you must file your lawsuit. Once this timeframe lapses, your lawsuit becomes time-barred, which is grounds for dismissal.
For multiple reasons, sooner is always better than later when filing personal injury lawsuits. Determine whether the statutory limitation has lapsed before filing the lawsuit. Many states require that you file a claim within two years. Consult your lawyer about the statutory limitations that apply to your jurisdiction.
5) File a personal injury lawsuit
Once you have established liability, gathered the required evidence, and know the defendant’s insurance coverage, you can proceed to file a complaint. The complaint identifies the legal and factual basis of your injury claim.
The complaint names all the parties involved in your personal injury lawsuit. In the complaint is a clear outline of the damages you are demanding from the named defendants.
The next step after filing the complaint is filing a summons in court. Not only does the summon identify the parties involved in your lawsuit, but it also explains to the defendant why you are bringing the lawsuit against them.
The last part of the lawsuit is the service of process. It involves serving the named defendants with copies of the complaint and summons.