If you were hurt due to the negligence of another person, whether they are a homeowner, a driver, or a business owner, you have the right to compensation for your injuries. Every day, people file personal injury claims for all sorts of accidents, from slip-and-falls to car accidents. If you were injured because of someone else and have hospital bills, lost wages, or equipment to replace, you might wish to seek legal action.
Should you file a personal injury claim against the other person? Or should you file a lawsuit? Many people don’t realize that there is a difference in the steps you should take and the possible outcomes. Deciding which path to take all starts with hiring a personal injury lawyer who can help you to navigate the somewhat murky waters.
Difference Between a Personal Injury Claim and Lawsuit
Personal injury claims and lawsuits are different methods used to seek compensation for damages. Personal injury damages most often include:
- Medical Bills
- Therapy or Rehabilitation Expenses
- Lost Wages
- Pain and Suffering
A personal injury claim involves the injured party and the party responsible for the injury. If the responsible party has insurance coverage (auto insurance, homeowners’ insurance, business liability insurance, or some other type of coverage) the responsible party’s insurance company will also be involved. You will file directly with the insurance company before a lawsuit is considered. Any negotiations will take place between you or your personal injury lawyer and the insurance company’s adjuster. Hopefully, this will result in a compromised settlement. If negotiations break down, then it can proceed into a personal injury lawsuit.
Starting a Personal Injury Claim
A personal injury claim starts after a victim has bodily injuries or property damage that was caused by someone else’s negligence. Once the insurance company has been notified, the claim will get a number and assigned to a claims adjuster. This person will contact the victim to negotiate a settlement.
All of this should happen as soon as possible after the accident so that your lawyer can gather information to build your case for the negotiating phase. Another thing to consider is the statute of limitations – the clock starts counting down when you are injured. While you do want to give yourself some time to heal (and to see if any other injuries come about), acting quickly to contact a lawyer is always in your favor.
You will need to show proof that the accident was caused by the responsible party, that the responsible party was negligent, and that your injuries are severe enough to file a personal injury claim.
The adjuster will look at the facts to make a determination. The work that both you (and/or your lawyer) and the adjuster need to do includes:
- Reviewing medical reports
- Speaking to any witnesses
- Looking over police reports
- Going to the scene of the accident
- Investigating damage to cars
- Evaluating any other evidence
What A Personal Injury Claim Needs To Do
Throughout the claims process, the adjuster will evaluate whether:
- Your injury was caused by the insured’s negligence;
- Your injuries are real and require medical treatment;
- Your medical treatment cost is substantial;
- You have out of pocket costs;
- You were unable to work or earn income because of your injuries;
- You are in continuing pain and discomfort.
When the investigation is over, the adjuster will make a decision on how much the insurance company will offer as a settlement. A skilled lawyer like personal injury attorney Matthew Miller is needed throughout the entire process to negotiate on your behalf, as insurance companies will endeavor to negate your claim or provide a lower settlement offer than your claim is truly worth.
Contact a Nebraska Personal Injury Lawyer
You may need to retain a personal injury attorney for a variety of reasons after you have an accident of any kind. If you have incurred severe personal injuries and associated costs, if the insurance company tries to deny your claim or settle too quickly, or if your damages exceed the limits of your policy in the case of an accident, our Nebraska personal injury lawyer can help you. Contact our experienced attorney Matthew G. Miller to obtain your rightful compensation for damages. Call now at (402) 558-4900, even if you aren’t ready to file. We can help you every step of the way.