Personal Injury Claim BasicsA valid personal injury claim involves 3 main points: an accident, negligence of another party that caused that accident, and damages that resulted from the accident. Without these basic elements, you generally do not have the basis for a personal injury claim.
When you believe you have a valid claim to file, you should first consult with a personal injury attorney to discuss your case. In some cut-and-dry cases you can file a claim with the insurance company alone and obtain a decent settlement.
Unfortunately most insurance companies use every trick and method they have to either deny your claim outright or offer an early settlement that is too low to fully compensate you for your damages and suffering. In these cases, a personal injury attorney can be your best asset to obtaining a full, fair settlement.
Negligence and Your PI Claim
Negligence is the main platform you will build your personal claim on. If there is no other party involved in your accident who was negligent in their actions to cause that accident, you do not have a claim. You cannot file a personal injury claim when you were the one responsible for your own injuries.
Proving negligence is done through the evidence you provide with your claim. Witness testimony, photographs, medical records, and police reports are all valid pieces of evidence that can be used to show another party was careless and caused the accident.
Depending on your state's negligence laws, you may be able to be partially at fault for the accident and still receive a portion of the personal injury claim settlement. Your personal injury attorney can help explain if your state is a comparative or contributory negligence law state and what that means to your persona injury claim.
The Accident and Your Personal Injury Claim
No personal injury claim is valid without having an accident to base it around. An accident resulting in a personal injury claim must be one that was caused by the negligence of another. Again, your personal injury attorney can best explain what role negligence of yourself and the other party has in your personal injury claim.
Types of accidents that can result in a personal injury claim include:
. car accidents;
. slip and fall accidents;
. workplace accidents;
. medical errors;
. defective products; and
. dangerous drugs.
Depending on the nature of the accident, you may file your personal injury claim with many different types of insurance companies. Car accidents will usually involve car insurance companies, slip and fall will be with homeowners or business insurance, workplace with Workers' Compensation insurance, medical errors with malpractice insurance, and defective/dangerous products and drugs usually with business insurance.
Damages and Your Personal Injury Claim
A personal injury claim in which you suffer no damages is not considered to be a claim at all. You must have suffered injury and personal losses to be able to claim any sort of compensation for the accident. Damages can include physical injury in which medical bills result, lost wages from being out of work because of injury, property damage, and emotional damages (pain and suffering).
The amount of damages you can claim is directly relevant to your individual case. There is no formula for calculating a settlement amount for your claim, as every situation is unique. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you estimate a fair settlement amount by looking at similar case settlements.
Proving your damages involves providing a record of medical treatments and bills related to the accident you were involved in, your lost wages due to recovering from the accident, and the damage to any of your property such as that which a vehicle sustains in the accident. You may also claim less tangible damages, such as projected future losses because of recovery (wages and medical bills) and pain and suffering resulting from the accident.
Proving all these elements of a personal injury claim can be frustrating and time consuming as you are already dealing with recovering from your injuries. A personal injury attorney can help you take some of the burden off of your claim by doing much of this work for you while you concentrate on healing.
About the Author:
Ben Glass is a personal injury attorney in Fairfax, Virginia. He is a frequent speaker on personal injury topics. Accident victims can download 31 Tips for Handling Your Own Virginia Accident Case at www.31tips.com