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If you’ve been injured in an accident, whether at work, on the road, in a public space, or while you were on holiday, you’re probably wondering what to do next. You may have heard that in these situations you can claim compensation for the damages and suffering caused by the event, but your knowledge on know how compensation claims actually work and the steps you should take in this respect is most likely limited.
The truth is that starting a personal injury claim can be a confusing and somewhat daunting process, with personal injury law being a very complex field that only experienced lawyers are able to navigate with ease. As an accident victim, it’s rather difficult to wrap your head around legal terms and procedures and figure out what course of action you should take.
Therefore, if you’re seriously thinking about making a personal injury claim, you have to get ready for what follows. Obviously, consulting with a good personal injury lawyer can make the whole process a lot easier, but there are other things you should keep in mind before you make the claim to make sure everything runs smoothly, and we’re going to discuss them below.
Not every injury translates into an actionable claim
Just because you’ve been injured in an accident doesn’t automatically give you the right to receive compensation. You are only entitled to compensation if someone else is to blame for the accident you’ve suffered and you can prove it. Therefore, you can’t start a personal injury claim if there are no legal grounds for it.
If the accident happened because of your own negligence, you won’t be able to claim compensation. However, establishing liability is not always a simple and straightforward issue. When things are not exactly black and white, you can wrongly blame yourself for the event and miss the opportunity to make a claim. That’s why it’s always best to consult with a personal injury lawyer and discuss the details of the event to figure out if you have a case or not.
You can make a claim even if you’re partly responsible for the accident
But what if you’re not the only one responsible for the accident? When another party is also at fault for what happened, that makes you only partially responsible. In this situation, it’s still possible for you to make a claim and receive compensation for your injuries.
However, the compensation amount will be calculated differently, based on how much you contributed to the accident. This means the compensation amount won’t cover the entire value of the damages you’ve suffered, since you are also partly to blame for them, but you’ll receive part of the compensation if contributory negligence is established.
Not all personal injury cases are the same
The term personal injury usually conjures images of traffic accidents, since they are the most common reason for making a personal injury claim. However, personal injury cases are not limited to traffic accidents.
As experts at Personal Injury Claims UK explain, there are many different types of personal injury cases, and car crashes are just one of them. You can also pursue compensation if you’ve been injured in an accident at work, on someone else’s property, in a public space, or if you’ve suffered damages as a result of medical malpractice, or due to the intentional infliction of emotional distress, as long as you can prove that someone else was at fault for your suffering.
You have to make the claim within a certain time limit
You have to keep in mind that you don’t have all the time in the world to pursue a personal injury case. The claims have to be made within a certain time limit, which is usually three years from the moment the accident happened.
In some situations, the time limit may be shorter, while in others it can be extended by the court, depending on certain circumstances. That’s why you have to decide if you want to take legal action within that specific timeframe, or else you may lose your right to make a claim forever.
You have to gather evidence to support your claim
Evidence is crucial in any personal injury case. Without evidence, you can’t prove who was at fault for the accident and the injuries you’ve suffered. While police reports and medical records are the official documents that can shed light on the matter, there are other types of evidence that can help support your claim.
You can assist in the collection of evidence by taking photos and videos at the scene of the accident, talking to eyewitnesses and asking for their contact information in case they might have to make a statement, keeping track of all the medical bills and receipts, or documenting the loss of income due to the accident.
Personal injury cases are often settled out of court
Not all personal injury claims end up in court. In fact, most personal injury cases take the shorter route and are settled out of court, without the involvement of a judge or jury. The process is a lot smoother since all it’s required is for the victim’s lawyer to negotiate a settlement amount with the defendant or the insurance company.
It’s up to the victim to decide if they are going to accept the settlement amount being offered to them. If the parties don’t agree on the compensation value, then the case might go to court.
Insurance companies are not looking out for your best interest
Since most personal injury cases involve negotiating with an insurance company, it’s important to know that although they are required to pay compensation to the victim, they won’t act in your best interest. An insurance representative’s job is to protect the insurance company, so they’ll usually make an offer that is below the fair compensation amount. That’s why you have to know how to negotiate an offer or let your lawyer handle these procedures.
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