Filing a personal injury claim involves various steps, from building your case and gathering evidence to negotiating a settlement amount. Given the intricacies of a lawsuit, it can be confusing to navigate the process.
Before taking the plunge, it is important that you understand the nature of a personal injury case, how it’s settled, its various types, and when you need to file a claim. Learning about this can help you make well-informed decisions when filing a personal injury claim. It can also guide you on the steps you need to take to protect your rights and secure reasonable compensation.
Personal Injury Settlement: 7 Questions and Their Answers
Here are some of the most frequently asked personal injury settlement questions and their answers to give you an idea of how the process works.
1. What are the different types of personal injury claims?
The following claims fall under personal injury:
- slip and fall claim
- dog bite claim
- motorcycle accident
- bicycle accident
- pedestrian accident
- flying umbrella accident
- brain injury claim
Depending on the type and severity of injuries and other factors, you may be entitled to compensation. You and the other party can agree on a settlement amount through negotiations between your respective lawyers. But if the case goes to trial, the judge or jury may order a damages award.
2. How much money can I expect to recover in my personal injury claim?
A range of factors affect the value of a personal injury claim, including the extent of the injuries sustained, treatment costs, and the amount of available insurance coverage. Insurance companies typically determine the value of an injury settlement using formulas that take into account these factors.
Note that every case is different, and certain factors like state laws affect the compensation amount. But generally, a personal injury claim’s value is determined by the amount of damages involved. These damages fall under two types: economic or special and non-economic or general.
Economic damages cover current and future financial losses, such as the following:
- medical costs incurred for the resulting injuries
- damage to or loss of property like car wreckage as a result of the accident
- lost wages for time off work
- other out-of-pocket losses
Non-economic damages account for the plaintiff’s physical and mental injuries like the following:
- physical discomfort, pain, and suffering
- emotional distress or mental anguish
- loss of enjoyment of life
- loss of consortium or companionship
You can choose to have an experienced personal injury lawyer review the claim’s details and provide an estimate of its value.
3. Do I need to go to court if I have a personal injury claim?
There are two ways a case can be settled—through pre-litigation or litigation. Pre-litigation involves resolving the claim out of court without filing a formal lawsuit or arbitration action. Litigation entails filing a case where formal legal processes are followed.
Settling in the pre-litigation phase can save you money because there will be no litigation costs for you to worry about. However, if you feel the settlement offer is too low, you can take your case to court.
4. How do I pay my medical bills until I get my settlement?
Receiving the settlement amount from your personal injury case may take time. You can pay your medical bills through your personal injury protection (PIP) insurance or medical payments coverage (MedPay).
PIP or no-fault insurance is a part of your car insurance plan that covers medical expenses related to car accidents. Meanwhile, MedPay is an optional add-on to your automobile insurance policy that helps pay for your healthcare expenses and funeral costs post-car accident.
5. How long will it take to get my settlement?
You can expect to get your settlement within one to two weeks after signing the final settlement distribution paperwork. This is a settlement statement your personal injury attorney will create reflecting the total settlement amount. From there, insurer reimbursement costs, attorney’s fees, medical bills, and other expenses will be deducted.
6. When can I pursue compensation for my injuries?
You can pursue compensation for your injuries within two years after the date of the accident when such injuries have been discovered. It’s not advisable to file a case after the two-year period has lapsed because the other party can simply use expiration as a defense to have the case dismissed. This time period can be much shorter depending on the facts of your accident.
For example, you must put the government on notice of a claim against it within just six months of the incident. Because time is short and can depend on the specific facts of your case, you must contact an experienced personal injury lawyer for a free consultation as soon as possible after your accident.
7. Do I need a lawyer for my personal injury case?
Hiring a personal injury lawyer isn’t always necessary in every settlement case. However, if you want to increase your chances of securing the best possible compensation for your injuries, working with a lawyer is ideal.
An experienced attorney can negotiate compensation on your behalf to ensure that you get a reasonable settlement amount. Your attorney can also coordinate with the insurance company, police, and medical providers to secure the necessary documents to support your claim.
Moreover, an attorney will guide you through the process. Unfortunately, because the civil claims process is so complex insurance companies typically take advantage of unrepresented plaintiffs in ways that are hard to fix as the case goes on.
For example, insurance companies will never advise a plaintiff on how important it is to treat regularly with no gaps. However, when the time comes to pay a settlement, they will use gaps in treatment against the injured party to lower the value of the case.
Settling Your Personal Injury Claim
The personal injury settlement process can be tricky. It involves complicated steps that the injured party has to go through. Often, the victim must also deal with the matter in their compromised state. However, knowing how the process works will help you better handle the matter. And with a lawyer by your side, you can possibly claim the compensation you reasonably deserve.
If you need a personal injury lawyer in Orange County, reach out to us at RMD Law. Our team comprises experienced lawyers ready for the tireless representation you deserve. Contact us today for a free case evaluation!