After someone suffers a personal injury they will have a lot of things to worry about, such as how they will pay for their medical bills or repair bills and what they will do while they are unable to work. Fortunately, they can file a personal injury claim in order to get the compensation that they need to take care of those expenses. However, the process of filing a personal injury claim is an arcane and obscure process for most ordinary people. That is why they should hire a personal injury attorney to help them.
An attorney knows all the ins and outs of personal injury law and will help you to file a claim and will negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf to ensure that you get a fair settlement. So anyone who has experienced a personal injury should contact an attorney as soon as they can. Anyone who lives in northeast Florida should get in touch with personal injury lawyers Fasig and Brooks in Jacksonville to get the help that they need.
What is a Personal Injury?
In order to understand the personal injury claim process, it is necessary to understand what a personal injury is in the first place. A personal injury happens when one person displays negligent behaviour to a person to whom they owed a duty of care. A duty of care means that a person is obliged to behave in the way that a reasonable person would under the same circumstances. For example, a driver owes a duty of care to other people on the road by obeying the rules of the road and driving in an engaged and attentive manner. A store owner owes a duty of care to their customers by making sure that their store is clean and safe.
Negligence occurs when someone fails to uphold their duty of care. That means a driver gets behind the wheel even though they are drunk, or a store owner does not clean up a slippery spill that could endanger customers. It is not just that a person breaches their duty of care, it is also necessary that their negligence caused an injury to someone and that the injury victim suffered losses because of the accident. Those losses could be economic, such as the aforementioned medical or repair bills. Losses could also be non-economic, such as pain and suffering. Either way, the victim deserves to be compensated for their losses.
The Personal Injury Claim Process
The personal injury claim process is when the victim of the personal injury, called the plaintiff, seeks compensation from the party responsible for the accident that caused their injury, they are called the defendant. The process starts with the attorney of the plaintiff gathering evidence that proves that the defendant was liable for the accident. They will also calculate the expenses suffered by the plaintiff because of the accident. Once they have completed all of that work, they will then summarize it in a demand letter that is sent to the insurance company of the defendant.
The demand letter also includes the settlement amount the plaintiff needs to cover the losses caused by the defendant. The insurance company will choose to accept the settlement offer, renegotiate it, or reject it. If they accept the offer or renegotiate a reasonable settlement, then the plaintiff eventually receives their settlement and the case ends here. If the insurance company offers a settlement that is too low or if they reject the offer, then the plaintiff files a lawsuit against the defendant and the case heads towards a trial.
However, it should be noted that personal injury cases rarely make it to trial and that most of them are settled out of court. If the case does go to trial, then the attorneys on each side enter the discovery phase where they exchange all the evidence that they have gathered. Next they will enter mediation where a neutral third party tries to help both parties come to a resolution before the case goes to trial. If a resolution cannot be reached, then everyone will have to head to court. Again, this is a rare outcome and most personal injury claims will never reach a courtroom.
An Attorney is Vital in the Personal Injury Claim Process
The personal injury claim process is fairly straightforward but the expertise of an experienced attorney will still be needed if the plaintiff wants the best chance of a successful outcome. That is because a personal injury lawyer will do all of the hard work necessary to give the plaintiff the best chance of getting the settlement they need.
The insurance company will always offer the lowest possible settlement or even reject the settlement offer completely, which is why an attorney is needed to negotiate with them so that the plaintiff can get a fair deal. So if you are the victim of a personal injury and are about to go through the personal injury claim process, make sure to get an attorney to help you.