How to File a Personal Injury Claim With or Without a Lawyer

While filing a personal injury claim without legal guidance may seem like a daunting task, completing the necessary paperwork without a personal injury attorney’s expertise still lies within the realm of possibility. Unfortunately, filing a claim without a lawyer’s advice isn’t the wisest choice for every accident victim. After sustaining an injury that requires multiple hospital visits, you may need to recruit the expertise of a competent attorney like Schwartzapfel Lawyers to recover treatment costs in full.

Want more insight about when to contact a personal injury lawyer? Read this article.

If you identify as a self-sufficient individual, you may derive satisfaction from doing things yourself. Whether it’s yard maintenance, plumbing, or legal matters, many prefer to complete tasks themselves rather than paying an expert. With attorney fees on a seemingly perpetual rise, it can be tempting to adopt the DIY approach for every to-do list item that arises. Many injury victims have posed the question: Can you apply the same DIY mentality to litigation?

Even if you’ve never fought firsthand in one of these dreaded legal battles, you know how costly lawyers’ fees can be. The prospect of seeing only 70% or less of your compensatory payments can be very disheartening. However, is it the best idea to file a personal injury claim without a lawyer’s insight, given all that could go wrong when up against huge insurance companies in court? For those set on filing themselves, be sure to follow the steps below to a tee.


Take photos of the damage

Whether it be an injury inflicted on your physical body or property damage, it’s crucial to take a considerable amount of photos. You never know when it may be necessary to present a judge with photo evidence during your court hearing.

The first thing a personal injury lawyer will tell you upon hiring is to document the accident scene with photo and video evidence. With these kinds of cases, the proof is in the damage left behind through negligence, fraud, or malpractice. If you’re physically capable, visit the scene and contact witnesses to gather more details.


Seek medical treatment

We all know how difficult it can be to find affordable medical care, especially on the job site. Even if you don’t experience any immediate symptoms, consulting with a medical professional could be the difference between winning or losing your personal injury case.

Just because you don’t feel pain right now doesn’t mean that you won’t later on. Many conditions present with delayed symptoms. The same logic applies to property damage repairs. For example, a broken roof can cause mold infestations in the future, even if it doesn’t negatively affect your life immediately following the incident.

Aside from preserving your physical health, there are other benefits of contacting medical professionals shortly after the accident. For one, it’s a vital step in scoring a favorable ruling. Any competent defending party will argue that the accident in question must not have been severe because you didn’t immediately seek treatment. In simple terms, immediate medical treatment indicates the severity of the injury.


Filing a claim

The first step in filing your claim is informing all the individuals you hold responsible that you plan to file a claim, including the individual parties and their insurance providers. This step can help speed up the process of getting your claim settled.

Most entities will recognize the bad publicity and financial damage that a court case can cause and decide to settle in response. Reaching out to these responsible parties works to demonstrate that these injuries were severe enough to call for drastic action on your part; not just a scheme to get undeserved compensation for a minor incident.


Collect medical records and review the details of your injuries

After informing the negligent parties in question, it’s time to review the details of your injury. Upon receiving the medical treatment you need, you’ll need to collect as many medical records as you can and familiarize yourself with the full extent of the bodily damage caused by the defendants.

As a next step, inquire about what medical treatment you’ll need going forward and collect invoices and records of lost wages. This documentation will all come in handy in court.


Try to agree on a settlement

You have the right to demand compensation from an insurance company or negligent party before or after filing a suit.

As the claimant, you’ll need to determine how much you’re willing to accept in damages. The chances are that the respondent (those who must pay the damages) will have a different figure in mind. The negotiation process for a personal injury claim is no different than any other kind of negotiation.

During this process, the opposing parties will exchange possible amounts deemed appropriate until a compromise is reached.

What if both parties can’t reach a compromise? In these cases, the courts will have to step in and intervene. If the case continues to trial, it’s the judge who will ultimately decide an outcome after hearing both sides’ arguments. Sometimes, the case may even see a jury. If you’re interested in learning more information about how to get the most from your claim, read through this article.


In summary

Keep in mind that the law dictates how long one can wait to sue for personal injuries. If you fail to meet this deadline, you can never file again for the same injury. With this stipulation in mind, you’ll need to act fast. While it can be overwhelming to balance your medical treatment and your legal responsibilities, it will be well worth the effort expended.

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of The World Financial Review.