How Does the Personal Injury Claim Process Work?
If you have experienced a personal injury due to an accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Recovering from an injury takes time and can be costly. These hardships can range from monetary loss to physical and emotional pain and suffering. Medical bills, lost wages from missing work, repairs to damaged property—the costs can be overwhelming. However, you may have a right to recouping these losses.
Filing a personal injury claim gives you the opportunity to receive compensation for injuries sustained in an accident. This can be the help you need to recover physically, mentally, and emotionally as well as recover any financial loss. But how does the claim process work? If you live in Oregon and are filing a Portland personal injury claim but are uncertain of how it works, below is a simple breakdown of the process. Understanding how it works can alleviate added stress so you can have peace of mind knowing you are on the road to full recovery.
Seek Medical Treatment
The first step in the claims process is getting necessary medical treatment. If you don’t receive treatment immediately for any injuries sustained, it suggests these injuries were not that serious, and it will be difficult to prove otherwise to an insurance adjuster or jury. It is also the most important step in regard to your own health and recovery. Do not delay treatment because you are worried about how much it will cost or if you can afford it.
Keep careful documentation of treatment received as well as copies of all bills. These records are important to building your case and receiving fair compensation.
Consult With a Personal Injury Attorney
Though it’s possible to file a claim without legal representation, it isn’t advisable for more significant injuries or if you’re receiving opposition from the other party involved. An attorney will fairly represent you and your interests while advocating for the compensation you are entitled to. This is especially true if you have lost more than a couple of days of work or have costly medical bills. Insurance companies often attempt to minimize how much you receive, so an attorney can be a powerful ally in making sure you receive the full compensation you qualify for.
If you’re in the Portland area and looking for an experienced attorney for your Portland personal injury, Warren Allen LLP offers legal advice and representation for those who have been affected by these accidents. Whether you have experienced a car crash or other type of accident that has resulted in an injury, we are here to help you every step of the way. Contact our firm today and learn what your best options are. We’ll work to the best resolution possible and help you receive compensation.
Open Claim and Submit Demand Package
A personal injury attorney will then investigate your claim and gather all details pertaining to the accident, injury, and treatment. This includes all medical records and bills related to the accident. Once you have been interviewed and obtained all necessary documentation, a claim is filed with both parties’ respective insurance companies.
Most personal injury cases settle without filing a lawsuit in court. A demand package is a comprehensive collection of all medical bills and documents detailing the accident, injury, treatment, wage loss, and any other financial damage. This package is prepared during the pre-litigation stage and begins negotiations with the insurance company. At this stage, a favorable settlement may be reached.
If the insurance company agrees to fair financial compensation and you accept, a lawsuit will not have to be filed. However, if the insurance company offers a low settlement in hopes you will want to quickly settle, it may require more arbitration. If they are unwilling to offer a fair settlement, the next step is litigation.
File a Personal Injury Lawsuit
If a settlement is not reached, litigation begins when your attorney files a personal injury lawsuit in court. This step should only take place after you have reached “maximum medical improvement.” Your medical treatment should be completed before submitting a demand package or filing a lawsuit because it helps an attorney determine what your case is worth.
After the complaint (the court action that begins the lawsuit) is filed, both you and the defendant will complete an “interrogatory” (a written document comprised of questions that have been answered to gather information regarding the accident) and a “deposition” (verbal questions).
As mentioned previously, most personal injury cases don’t make it to trial and can be settled out of court. And a very few instances require mandatory arbitration instead of court. This is usually limited to situations involving medical malpractice.
Once both parties of the claim have as much information regarding the claim as possible, an objective arbitrator reviews the evidence and will suggest a resolution, though, it is non-binding. If mediation and negations cannot result in a settlement, then your attorney will represent you and your interests in court and help you receive the compensation you deserve. If at no point in time you or the other parties involved are able to come to a voluntary agreement and reach a settlement, your case will be decided by a jury verdict and judgment.
Another reason your case may have to go to trial is if the statute of limitations on your claim is about to run out. If this is true with your claim, your attorney will have to file a lawsuit in court so they are able to continue your claim. This will, in turn, maintain your right to seek compensation for your injuries and not lose out on such claims because you missed the deadline by which your claim was to be filed within the proper court.
If you have suffered an injury and are seeking compensation, knowing the process of your personal injury claim and having the right team in your corner can help mitigate uncertainty and undue stress so you can focus on what matters most: recovery.