In general, most personal injury claims, including those involving car accidents, slips and falls, and pedestrian accidents, are typically resolved before going to trial in court. This is often achieved through the at-fault party’s insurance company making an acceptable offer, which is then accepted by the victim’s lawyer on their behalf. However, in some cases, the insurance company may not offer sufficient compensation for the victim’s injuries, in which case the victim’s lawyer can file a lawsuit in court seeking damages.
Even after a lawsuit has been filed, it is still possible for the parties to come to an agreement through negotiation. If an agreement cannot be reached, the case may proceed to trial. In some cases, the parties may also choose to resolve the dispute through alternative methods such as mediation or arbitration. It is important to have a competent personal injury lawyer to represent you and advocate for your interests throughout the process, whether through negotiation or litigation.
What is a Personal Injury Claim?
A personal injury claim is a legal request for compensation made by an individual who has suffered injuries or damages due to the negligent or intentional actions of another person or entity. Personal injury claims can cover a wide range of situations, such as:
- car accidents,
- slips and falls,
- medical malpractice,
- Pedestrian accidents,
- Workplace accidents,
- and more.
The goal of a personal injury claim is to seek monetary damages for the harm suffered, which can include things like medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Personal injury claims can be resolved through negotiation and settlement with the at-fault party’s insurance company, or they may go to trial in court if an agreement cannot be reached.
If you have been injured in one of these types of accidents and believe someone else’s negligence caused it, you may be able to file a personal injury claim to seek compensation. Your personal injury lawyer can help you investigate your case and determine whether you are eligible to file a claim or lawsuit, and can guide you through the process of negotiating a settlement or pursuing litigation if necessary.
Who Bears the Burden of Proof in a Personal Injury Claim?
In a personal injury claim or lawsuit, it is the injured party’s responsibility to provide evidence that the at-fault party was negligent or acted recklessly. This means that the injured party must show that the at-fault party had a duty of care towards them and that this duty was breached, resulting in the accident and the injuries sustained.
For example, in a car accident, the injured party would need to demonstrate that the other driver violated a traffic law, such as running a red light, and that their injuries directly resulted from this violation. A personal injury lawyer can help the injured party gather the necessary evidence, build a strong case to support their claim, and negotiate with the at-fault party’s insurance company to try and reach a settlement.
A Settlement Demand Package
After determining that you have a valid case for a personal injury claim, the next step is to prepare a settlement demand package to present to the insurance adjuster. This package will typically include a demand letter stating the amount of money you seek to settle the case and supporting documentation such as police reports, witness statements, and medical records. You may also include photographs of any property damage or injuries sustained. The insurance adjuster will review this package and decide whether to make an initial offer. If the offer is unsatisfactory, you and your lawyer may choose to continue negotiating with the adjuster or file a lawsuit in court. If you decide to file a lawsuit, your lawyer can handle the process and provide a copy to the insurance adjuster, who will then assign defence counsel to the case.
Settlement Negotiations in Personal Injury Claims
In most personal injury cases, there will be a process of negotiating with the insurance company in order to reach a fair settlement for the victim’s injuries. The victim’s lawyer can work with the insurance adjuster to get the full compensation that the victim deserves. This process can continue even after a lawsuit has been filed and may involve answering questions and participating in a deposition as part of the discovery process. If a satisfactory settlement cannot be reached through negotiation, the victim may choose to proceed with a trial or an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) proceeding; the most common ADR being mediation and binding arbitration. The victim’s personal injury lawyer can help them evaluate any settlement offers and determine whether they are fair, given the nature and extent of the victim’s injuries and any income they have lost as a result.
If a Personal Injury Claim Goes to Trial
The vast majority of personal injury claims are resolved without going to trial, as this is typically seen as the least desirable way of settling a claim. However, a trial may be necessary if the insurance company disputes the fault of the at-fault party in the accident, or if they refuse to offer adequate compensation to the victim after completing the discovery process.
A trial can present challenges, as the outcome is ultimately up to the court. If your case does go to trial, your personal injury lawyer will advocate for your interests in court by presenting evidence and calling upon expert witnesses, as well as addressing any negative points brought up by the defence lawyer during cross-examination.
After the trial, the judge will decide the outcome of the case, including whether the at-fault party is negligent and, if so, how much damages should be awarded to the victim.
The Various Compensations in a Personal Injury Claim
The damages that an accident victim can recover through settlement, trial, or arbitration proceedings are generally the same and will depend on a number of factors such as:
- the severity of their injuries,
- the extent of their medical treatment, and
- any income they have lost as a result of the accident.
If the victim has suffered a permanent injury, such as paralysis or spinal cord damage, their case may be worth more than if they suffered a non-permanent injury, like a minor sprain or strain.
Common types of non-economic damages that a victim may be able to recover through settlement or litigation include compensation for pain, suffering, inconvenience, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of companionship, loss of family support, and permanent disability.
A personal injury lawyer can help accident victims maximize their recovery by highlighting the strengths of their case and minimizing any weaknesses. If the case goes to trial, the lawyer will argue for both economic and non-economic damages, including compensation for pain and suffering.
James H. Brown and Associates is Here For You!
If you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle collision, let the precedent-setting injury law team at James H. Brown and Associates help. We are available for a free injury claim evaluation at any time, and if you are injured and in hospital, we will come and visit you there. Do not delay; get the compensation you deserve. Contact us today!