If you sustained injuries in a recent accident that resulted from someone else's negligence, you may file a claim or lawsuit and recover monetary compensation for your accident-related losses. The first step to pursuing the compensation you deserve is to speak with a local personal injury attorney for a free case evaluation who can assist you with every step of the process.
Most personal injury attorneys offer prospective clients the opportunity for a free legal consultation and case evaluation. During this initial meeting, you can discuss your accident with your lawyer and bring various documents to show your prospective attorney. After reviewing those documents, your attorney can determine if you can move forward with a personal injury claim or a lawsuit in court.
Never wait too long to retain legal counsel to represent you in your case. Accident victims have two years, starting on their accident date, to bring a legal claim or file a lawsuit in the court system. If an accident victim does not file a lawsuit promptly, they may waive their right to recover the monetary compensation they deserve.
Suppose you can move forward with a personal injury lawsuit or claim. In that case, your attorney can assist you with every step of the process, including investigating the accident circumstances, filing a claim on your behalf, negotiating with insurance company representatives, or litigating your case to a prompt resolution in the court system.
Your attorney can also answer all your questions at every step, including whether to accept a pending settlement offer from the insurance company or litigate your case in court.
What Is Negligence?
Personal injury claims and lawsuits stem from negligence. An individual or entity behaves negligently when they fail to act reasonably at a particular time, under specific circumstances.
For instance, a negligent individual might fail to do something a hypothetical reasonable person should have done in the same scenario. Alternatively, a negligent individual might do something a hypothetical reasonable person should not have done in the same situation. For example, in a motor vehicle collision, a driver may behave carelessly if they violate one or more traffic laws, resulting in a car crash.
Some of the most common reasons for a personal injury claim include truck and car accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, motorcycle accidents, workplace occurrences, construction site accidents, slip and falls, boating accidents, and incidents that result from negligent security on someone else's promises.
To recover various monetary damages for injuries that result from another party's negligence, the injured accident victims must fully satisfy their legal burden of proof.
Specifically, they must show that the other party owed them a duty of reasonable care under the circumstances and that party subsequently violated that duty.
Next, the injured accident victim must establish that the accident victim suffered one or more physical injuries as a direct and unforeseeable result of the other party's negligent actions or inactions.
At your initial case evaluation and legal consultation, your lawyer can determine if you can pursue compensation for your injuries or may suggest an investigation into your accident. Once that investigation concludes, your lawyer can tell you if you qualify to file a successful claim for monetary damages.
Those documents may include:
- Photographs of any property damage sustained in the accident
- Medical records and medical bills that you have received from healthcare providers to date
- Any authorizations from a medical provider to miss work for some time after your accident
- Photographs of physical injuries that you suffered
- Contact information for any witnesses to the occurrence
- Police reports or incident reports describing how the accident occurred.
If you move forward with your case, your lawyer can enter an appearance and touch base with the insurance company for the at-fault person or entity. Your lawyer can then file a personal injury claim on your behalf, seeking the monetary recovery you deserve for your accident-related injuries.
How Can a Personal Injury Attorney Help You During Your Case?
If a personal injury lawyer can take on your case, they can assist you in many different ways. Your lawyer will maximize the monetary recovery you deserve for your injuries and other accident-related losses.
First, your attorney can retain an accident reconstructionist or another expert who can look into the occurrence, determine how it happened, and decide who was at fault. An expert accident reconstructionist can also draft a report in support of their findings and conclusions.
Finally, if your case proceeds forward to litigation, and the insurance company disputes fault or liability for your accident, an accident reconstructionist can testify at a jury trial or discovery deposition in your personal injury case.
Next, your lawyer can help you gather additional documentation to support your personal injury claim or lawsuit. For example, if you have undergone further medical treatment or procedures since you last met with your attorney, your lawyer can gather the remaining documentation.
Your lawyer can then assemble all relevant documents into a settlement demand package and prepare a demand letter on your behalf. A settlement demand letter makes an initial demand for compensation within the limits of available insurance coverage.
Finally, your attorney can send this completed demand package to the insurance company adjuster for their review. The adjuster will review all the documentation, and they may make a monetary offer to settle your claim.
Next, your attorney can assist you throughout the settlement negotiation process. In some situations, this process may take a few weeks, while at other times, it may take several months or more.
Many insurance companies are not in a hurry to settle a personal injury claim, and they will do everything they can to undervalue the claim and offer as little monetary recovery as possible to the accident victim. Insurance companies try to save as much money as possible in each case. If the insurance company pays out a significant monetary settlement, binding arbitration award, or jury verdict, they lose a lot of money.
Your attorney can aggressively negotiate with insurance company representatives and pursue the highest monetary damages available in your case. Your lawyer can do this by downplaying any weaknesses in your case and highlighting the strengths of your medical record.
If the insurance company adjuster handling your claim still refuses to offer you fair monetary compensation, then your lawyer can file a lawsuit and litigate your case in the court system properly.
Litigation begins when your lawyer files a lawsuit and continues when the parties participate in the discovery process. During discovery, parties will exchange documents, answer written interrogatories, and take discovery depositions. Your attorney can advise you on the questions a defense attorney will likely ask in your case. That way, you will be fully prepared to testify at your deposition.
During litigation, the parties may still settle the case at any time. In fact, most personal injury claims and lawsuits resolve at some point during the litigation proceedings.
If the case doesn't resolve during litigation, it may go to a civil jury trial. At that time, the jury will listen to evidence and arguments and decide a case outcome, including the amount the accident victim receives.
Your attorney can assist you with all these legal steps to pursue the highest monetary award available via settlement or litigation.
Common Personal Injuries That Accident Victims Suffer
When individuals behave carelessly or negligently, accident victims may suffer debilitating injuries. While some of these injuries may recover after a certain amount of time, others may be permanent.
Permanent injuries will likely plague the accident victim for the rest of their lives. For example, an accident victim who suffers a permanent injury may experience ongoing pain, suffering, and inconvenience going forward.
The specific injuries that an accident victim sustains will depend upon the accident circumstances, the amount of force involved in the accident, and the body part or parts affected in the accident.
Common physical injuries an accident victim might sustain include broken bones, rib fractures, soft tissue contusions, traumatic brain and head injuries, spinal cord injuries, complete and incomplete paralysis injuries, internal bleeding, internal organ damage, road rash, deep lacerations, bruises, and death.
Following an accident, your most crucial step should be completing your treatment regimen and getting all the care you require. Accident victims who do not regularly treat their injuries or discharge themselves from treatment prematurely may end up fighting an uphill battle. Insurance companies are very skeptical of these types of accident victims and their injuries, and they may not offer them the fair monetary recovery they deserve.
While you focus your attention on getting better and recovering from your accident-related injuries, your attorney can begin gathering the medical documentation and other information necessary to prove your case.
Recovering Monetary Compensation in a Personal Injury Case
Victims of accidents that result from another person or entity’s negligence may be eligible to recover various types of monetary compensation for their injuries and accident-related losses. The ultimate purpose of those damages should be to make accident victims whole again, to the greatest extent possible.
First, accident victims can recover monetary damages for all medical expenses related to their accident. Those expenses may cover the costs of medical visits, physical therapy appointments, and medical procedures, such as surgeries.
Likewise, if the accident victim suffered a permanent injury in their accident, according to a trained medical provider’s or expert’s report, they might be eligible to recover their anticipated medical costs.
Next, a victim can recover compensation for lost earnings if they had to miss time from work after their accident. If they had to switch jobs and take a significant pay cut, they might also be eligible to recover compensation for loss of earning capacity.
In addition to recovering these out-of-pocket expenses, accident victims might be eligible to recover compensation for their intangible losses. These are called non-economic damages. These damages may compensate accident victims for all of their related mental distress, inconvenience, pain and suffering, lifetime care costs, loss of life enjoyment, loss of the ability to use a particular body part (such as from a spinal cord or paralysis injury), loss of spousal consortium, and permanent disfigurement.
A knowledgeable and experienced legal team can maximize your damages and make you whole again following your accident.
Speak with a Personal Injury Attorney Near You Today
Sometimes, people think their accident case is simple and doesn't need a lawyer. Or they might think they can't afford a lawyer. Both are flawed thinking.
Most lawyers of Chicago personal injury law firms will work on contingency, meaning you don't pay anything out of pocket for their services. The law firm will collect a portion of the settlement for their service. Additionally, because the consultation is free, there is nothing to lose by meeting with them.
If you suffered injuries in an accident that another individual caused, you have legal options. A personal injury attorney in your area can meet with you for an initial consultation and determine your eligibility for pursuing a monetary claim.
If you are eligible to move forward, your lawyer can assist you with every step of the process and seek the highest possible financial damage award available in your case.
Never wait to begin protecting your rights and seeking compensation, as you might receive a settlement sooner than later. Start the process with a free legal consultation today.