After suffering an injury due to someone else’s negligence, there’s a lot of confusion. But while making a personal injury claim might be the last thing on your mind, it’s highly beneficial to do so. But it’s important to understand the process of filing a personal injury claim and how to navigate it. Our Kansas City personal injury attorneys at Peterson & Associates, P.C. explain the anatomy, or steps, of a personal injury claim and how we can help.
Anatomy of a Personal Injury Case: Steps You Need to Follow
Any case that requires proving negligence becomes complicated quickly. Whether you sustained injuries in a car accident, a motorcycle crash, a large truck wreck, a dog bite incident, or a defective product accident, there are numerous details to confirm. While you’re trying to regain your health, this process is often too overwhelming to handle alone.
Hiring a personal injury attorney provides peace of mind that you can still seek justice and have time to recover. While your legal counsel handles many aspects of your case, there are still a few things you must do.
Get Quality Medical Care
Never pass off any injuries as minor. Get a thorough exam right away so professionals can make a complete diagnosis and start appropriate treatment. Keep track of all documentation about your care and related expenses—your attorney needs these details to assign value to your claim.
If You’re Able, Gather Evidence
This means recording the driver’s license and insurance details from the at-fault party, contact information of other negligent parties or accident witnesses, as well as photos of your injuries and property damage. You may have to ask someone for help with all of this, as it’s especially important to have this evidence in the few hours after the incident so your attorney can preserve it for your claim.
Direct All Communication to Your Legal Team
It’s common practice for insurance adjusters to contact you and ask for a recorded statement about the accident, or entice you to accept a settlement before all the facts are examined. Unfortunately, depending on your condition, it’s all too easy to say something that can later be held against you and potentially cause the reduction or denial of your claim. Your personal injury lawyer should be the one to handle all communication with insurance carriers.
Anatomy of a Personal Injury Case: What Your Kansas City Attorney Will Do
Legal professionals have resources such as accident reconstructionists, medical experts, and others to help reinforce the evidence of your case. Here are just a few other tasks they’ll do for you.
Organize Your Case
Personal injury cases have to be filed within a period of time known as a statute of limitations. For example, in Missouri, you have five years to file, and in Kansas, two. There are many different aspects of your claim to oversee, but they’re exactly what a knowledgeable attorney will handle.
Value Your Claim Appropriately
Of course, you want compensation for medical expenses and property damage. However, your legal team can broaden the scope of your potential settlement to include other vital factors that may apply to your case, such as lost wages, pain and emotional damages, the costs of ongoing medical treatment, and more.
Handle All Negotiations
Evaluating the maximum allowable insurance coverage amount to the circumstances of your claim is what your attorney will use as a base for negotiations. Insurance adjusters are instructed to keep settlements as low as possible, but in many cases, savvy negotiation helps you win a more justified amount.
Prepare and Defend the Case in Court
Going to a jury trial is certainly intimidating, but with a skilled trial attorney on your side, it’s much easier. While most personal injury cases settle out of court, you want a legal team that knows how to prepare a case for trial and can defend you before a judge or jury if need be. A verdict is decided at the end of the trial and may result in full compensation, partial compensation, or nothing at all.