If you have been injured because of another person’s actions, you have the right to file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company to recover the money you lost due to the incident. If the insurance company doesn’t respond to your claim appropriately, your claim will be escalated into a personal injury lawsuit. A personal injury lawyer in Cameron and Buffalo, TX, can help you get the money you need to rebuild your life following an accident.
Will a Personal Injury Lawsuit Always Go to Court?
Many people are surprised to learn that the majority of personal injury claims are settled outside of the courtroom. Since going to court is more time-consuming and expensive for the insurance company, they prefer to agree on compensation independently. However, even though your chances of going to court are low, you’ll still want to hire an attorney to handle your claim.
The insurance adjuster who is responsible for handling your claim will be working to ensure you receive the smallest payout possible. Unfortunately, insurance adjusters are only concerned with preventing their employer from losing money, not helping you get a fair payout. That is why it is essential to have a personal injury lawyer looking out for your needs.
How to Pursue a Personal Injury Settlement
Seek Medical Care
Before you can begin filing a claim, you will need to receive medical care for your injuries. Without a medical professional confirming the extent of your injuries, you will not know how much money you need to settle your case. Once your care provider has established the nature and scope of your injuries, and if you are expected to require ongoing treatment, you can begin the settlement process with your lawyer.
Determining Special Damages
Damages are the money you receive as compensation for an injury, property destruction, or loss. Special damages are based on the economic losses you suffered from the incident. Losses like missed wages, lost income capacity, medical expenses, and property destruction are considered special damages. When you make a personal injury claim, you must demand a specific amount as compensation for your injuries and care.
Staying on top of all your bills and paperwork while recovering from an accident can leave you feeling frazzled if you try to handle it yourself. A lawyer will not only help you calculate the total damages, but they will also help you track down any missing invoices. The insurance company will want to see the paperwork supporting your request, and missing documentation can hurt your chances of getting a high settlement.
Calculate General Damages
General damages reimburse you for non-economic losses. For example, pain and suffering, emotional damage, and mental anguish fall into the category of general damages. These damages can be challenging to put a numerical value on since every individual will respond to an accident differently. Your attorney can help determine the appropriate amount, as you won’t want to ask for less than you deserve.
Adjust the Value of Your Claim
After you have the total for general and special damages, you will adjust that amount to account for factors such as:
If multiple people were at-fault for the accident or causing your injury, your claim may need to reflect that factor. Your lawyer will look at the police records and other information about the accident to help them gauge if one party holds more blame than another.
In a personal injury case, the plaintiff is the victim of the accident. Many people are surprised to find that who they are as an individual can play a role in determining how much compensation to seek. Your age, occupation, prior medical history, and even hobbies will impact your settlement value.
For example, suppose you are an avid marathon runner and are in an accident that will prevent or limit your participation in your hobby. In that case, you can request a more significant sum of money since the accident has taken away your ability to participate in a hobby you love, negatively affecting your quality of life.
Some courts are more likely to favor the plaintiff; others will be inclined to side with the at-fault party. When deciding if they will agree to a settlement, the insurance adjuster will consider whether the court is predicted to favor you or them. In areas where the court usually awards the plaintiff a generous sum, insurers have a greater incentive to settle with you and not let the case escalate to a trial.
As the injured party, you have a level of responsibility for mitigating the severity of the damage you suffer. For example, say you willfully choose not to follow the doctor’s instructions, and your condition worsens and requires more medical procedures. Your claim would need to be reduced by the cost of the procedures you had to receive because you didn’t listen to the expertise of your care provider.
Make Your Settlement Demand
Finally, after you and your lawyer have arrived at a reasonable amount, you will send a demand letter to the insurance company of the at-fault party. Since the insurance company will be trying to pay you as little as possible, you need to be ready to support your demands with proof that they are valid. It’s crucial to be completely honest when detailing the scope of your injuries because insurance companies will check to ensure you are telling the truth.
Requesting reimbursement for a landscaping service due to your inability to care for your yard is fine. However, if you make that demand and then have pictures on your social media accounts of you engaging in physical activities such as hiking, your credibility will be ruined, and seeking compensation will be difficult.
Settling or Going to Trial
Insurers typically negotiate the settlement amount, and it is common for multiple offers to be made before an agreement is reached. Having a skilled lawyer on your side increases your chance of acquiring a generous payout since they will be able to negotiate effectively on your behalf. If you and the insurer agree on a settlement amount, you will no longer be able to pursue compensation for this accident. So be sure you are happy with the amount before agreeing to accept.
Should you and the insurer fail to reach a mutually agreeable amount, you will have to go to court to be reimbursed for your bills and losses. When you have been working with an attorney throughout the claims process, transitioning to preparing for a trial will be much more straightforward than if you were seeking a settlement yourself. Instead of getting an attorney caught up on your situation, they will know the details and be ready to go to bat for your case.
Work With Skilled Attorneys in Buffalo and Cameron, TX
Suffering an injury because of another individual’s mistake is frustrating and can leave you struggling to pay for medical bills that shouldn’t be your responsibility. While seeking compensation may seem overwhelming and complicated, when you work with an experienced legal professional, they will do everything they can to make the process as easy as possible.
Don’t be left holding the bill for a mistake you didn’t make. Instead, reach out to Brian C. Gutierrez, accident and injury lawyer, today for the support you need to navigate the aftermath of your injury.