There are many variables to consider when making an attempt to put a dollar amount on a personal injury case. Awarded compensation for an injury sustained as a result of another's negligence should cover the injured party's hospital bills, medical bills, and prolonged care. But then it becomes more unclear further on because injured victims can also be awarded compensation for damages that are more difficult to assess, but nonetheless, present and pertinent. These types of damages greatly vary, but may include pain, suffering, mental anguish, trauma, and more. In order to truly know how much your case is worth, you must consult with a licensed and experienced personal injury attorney.
Getting Started With Your Claim
If you were recently injured and wish to pursue a claim, you have two options to choose from before you begin. You must decide if you will either represent yourself or hire a professional. Since the circumstances surrounding injury claims can be quite complex, your best option is to hire a licensed attorney to represent you in your case. Continue reading to learn a little about both methods of pursuing a personal injury claim, and some important recommendations for what you should do next.
Option One: Forgoing an Attorney
Whether you are dealing with the opposing insurance company or the negligent individual themselves, the first step is determining whether or not you require professional legal consultation. You can pursue a claim on your own and represent yourself, or you can hire a licensed accident attorney. Hiring a personal injury lawyer is strongly encouraged for anyone that has been hurt in an accident, however, it is optional.
If you choose to represent yourself, be sure to research the insurance company's claim process handler and fully understand their protocols and procedures before moving forward with a claim and request that they set forth their entire process in writing. Ask many questions and request the answers to be in a language you can clearly understand, not confusing legal jargon and again, requests and answers should be in writing.
Furthermore, always be polite and patient with the insurance adjusters. Their job takes some time, and they have little control over the settlement offers; they can only make educated recommendations to the deciding committees. Keep in mind that a settlement amount should cover all your incurred expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If you still cannot agree on a suitable settlement amount, then it is best to choose your other option, which is to hire a licensed personal injury lawyer.
Option Two: Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer (Recommended Option)
Research local law firms and find a professional accident lawyer that feels like a good fit for you and your legal needs. Ask friends and relatives for referrals, and look online for directories and recommendations. Most personal injury law firms, including our own, offer free initial consultations to assess your claim and determine how strong or weak your claim may be. Use these free consultations to your advantage, as if they are job interviews, and compare law offices in the end. Compare fees, experience, and more in order to come to an informed decision.
Most injury claims are settled out of court, because a fair settlement can usually be agreed upon by both parties. However, if a settlement cannot be agreed upon, your personal injury lawyer will take it to court, and present your case to a judge and jury that will decide what the fair compensation amount should be. Be aware that sometimes, although rarely, courts or juries will decree a lower settlement than what was offered initially out of court. Again, hiring a licensed and experienced attorney that specializes in personal injuries is strongly recommended. The insurance carrier for the defendant has an attorney and you should too.