What Do I Need to Do To Get a Personal Injury Settlement?
A personal injury settlement arises when a person’s body is injured and they seek compensation from a party who caused the injury. Oftentimes, people who go to a personal injury attorney assume they will have to go to court. In fact, many personal injury incidents result in a settlement. A settlement is where the plaintiff and defendant agree that the defendant will pay the plaintiff a certain amount of money in exchange for the plaintiff not bringing a claim against them in court. This is the process that you can expect when seeking a personal injury settlement.
Document the Damage
First, you want to do what you can to document the damage. Immediately after the event occurs, get evidence. If you fall in a store, for instance, see if there is surveillance video. Get contact information for any witnesses. See a medical professional and have them note what injuries you might have.
Consult an Attorney
Once you have all of this information, go to a trusted personal injury attorney. During this initial consultation, the personal injury attorney will try and discern what happened and what you seek to make you whole again.
Here is what an attorney will want to know:
- What day and time did this incident happen?
- Where did the incident happen?
- How do you believe that it happened?
- Did any person or entity do something, or not do something, to cause the incident?
- Did anyone witness the incident?
- What injuries did you suffer as a result of the incident?
- Did you seek any medical attention or get treatment for the incident?
- Does a medical professional believe that you will need further treatment?
Your attorney will also look at the documentation you have. Try and bring that with you to the initial consultation. After that, the attorney will talk to you about the next steps based on your specific situation.
Continue With Your Treatment
It is imperative that you do not lose sight of healing as you are working towards a resolution. The reason for getting compensation is so that you are as well as you were before the incident. Take medications as prescribed, see your doctor, go to appointments, and make sure to seek medical attention if you are having any other symptoms. Be sure that you are keeping a record of the appointments that you have, what the treatment plan was, and if you were prescribed any therapy or medications. Keep a record of all of your bills and out-of-pocket expenses. If you had to miss work or other important events to get medical care, make sure to note that.
This is important for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, you need to take care of your help. Second, it will only help your case be stronger. Doing all of the aforementioned will permit your attorney to make the biggest demand for compensation for the damages you have suffered. Third, if you are claiming damages but are not getting the medical care required, it will cast doubt on whether you are actually suffering to the extent that you say that you are.
Conduct An Investigation
After your initial consultation, your attorney will then conduct an investigation. The purpose of an investigation is to collect evidence you may not have and paint a fuller picture of what happened. This could include:
- Going to the scene of the accident to set the scene and to collect pictures.
- Speaking to witnesses.
- Speaking to police and getting a police report, if applicable.
- Getting an incident report from a store or workplace, if applicable.
- Getting surveillance video.
- Finding out all of the parties who were involved with the incident.
- Set up claims with the insurance carriers for all parties involved.
- Procure medical records and bills.
- Speak with doctors and medical professionals who treated you.
Send A Demand Package
You will then send a demand package to the insurance carrier of the party who is responsible for your injuries. The demand package will include things like pictures of the damage, medical bills, documentation of lost wages, photos of the damage, and police reports.
Negotiate With the Other Party
Once the other party has reviewed the demand package, negotiations begin. The insurance adjuster will either decide that they will settle for what you ask, they will settle for less than what you ask, or they will not settle at all. It depends on how the insurance company calculates compensation. Do not be surprised if their first offer is less than what you asked for. It is a starting point for negotiation, and you may get the full compensation that you are seeking.
Litigation Might Still Be Possible
The goal of a personal injury lawyer is to avoid court. This is the goal for a few reasons: it saves you money in attorney’s fees, it gets you your money faster, and it means you do not have to deal with the hassle of everything that comes with a court case. However, it is possible that negotiations with the at-fault party stall. If they are unwilling to get you the settlement you deserve, then we might decide together that going to court is the best option. What this looks like for you is that you will file a lawsuit. Sometimes, filing a lawsuit is all that is needed to get the other party to agree to a settlement that works for you. If it does not, then the case will go to trial and a jury will decide whether you win and what damages should be awarded.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
Depending on the nature of your injury, the battle to get the money you need to move on with your life is not one you want to do alone. We have represented numerous deserving clients in personal injury cases to get the compensation they deserve so that they can get back to doing what is important to them.