If you are looking for a personal injury attorney, chances are you haven’t had much experience with law in general. Getting hurt in an accident is hopefully a rare incident for you, and chances are you aren’t employed in a legal field. In order to look for the help you need, a basic understanding of the process that many personal injury suits go through might be of benefit to you.
What can be included in a personal injury claim?
Basically, a personal injury attorney is on the path to get you reimbursed for anything you’ve lost because of the incident. This can include medical expense payments, lost wages, and other damages that could impact you in the future. In order to start in the right direction, an attorney will likely follow the following steps:
- Gather a full understanding of the event and results
- Prepare a settlement request – your starting bid for what you deserve
- Negotiate with insurance companies or defendant to find a settlement that meets as many needs as possible
- Disbursement and settlement adjustments
Your Injury Lawyer Will Gather Evidence
To get a full understanding of the event and results, interviews with you, witnesses, and police officers may be involved. Depending on the event, a visit to scene may be in order. A full review of past and current medical bills and records will be necessary. Your lawyer will also need to be informed of any changes in your medical progress. All insurance policies which might be effected by the event will need to be reviewed, as well. This could include liability insurance, uninsured motorist coverage and your healthcare insurance as well. To understand what you have lost beyond just medical bills, lost wages may also be of concern, and your employer might be contacted to support the claim of lost wages.
Preparing a Settlement Request
Once your injuries have had as complete a healing as they are likely to see, the next step will be to prepare a settlement request. This will include the special damages that can be calculated from the research that has been done into your medical expenses, lost wages and definite losses. It will also include general damages which include things like pain, suffering and other inconveniences worthy of reimbursement.
Once you and your lawyer agree that all of the damages have been included as they should be, the settlement package is sent to the insurance company or defendant. A counter-offer might be made, which you should discuss with your lawyer to determine its value to you. There is a chance that the suit might have to be taken to court, if a settlement cannot be made and you and your lawyer believe it is worthwhile to file a law suit.
In most cases, a settlement is reached before going to court. If that’s the case, or a jury finds you entitled to a settlement (which may not be what you believe you are entitled to, it should be noted), your lawyer will handle the receipt of the settlement check. After legal fees have been deducted from this sum, your lawyer may ask if there are other bills that should be paid with this money directly (such as medical bills). The attorney’s staff will create a reconciliation of the funds for you to review, you’ll be asked to sign a Release, and the remaining funds would be distributed to you.
It’s a lot to take in, especially considering if you need a personal injury attorney, you’re likely in pain. Contact us to see if we can help!