Filing a personal injury claim for the first time can be intimidating and confusing, but it doesn't have to be. At its core, the process is simply about making sure you properly collect and present all the required information.
- Know the Statute of Limitations for Your Claim
When you suffer a personal injury, you need to act fast. Doing so helps ensure that you receive the compensation that you deserve.
A “statute of limitations” is a legal concept. It sets a deadline for when you can file a lawsuit. After the statute of limitations expires, you no longer have the right to take legal action.
The Statute of Limitations is a critical element of your personal injury claim. In Arizona, you generally have two years from the date of the injury to file your claim. However, there are exceptions to this rule, such as cases involving medical malpractice or government entities.
Filing a late claim will likely result in your case being dismissed. So, if you have been injured, don't delay. Consult with an experienced lawyer who can help you file a claim on time.
- Document Your Injury
This step includes taking pictures of the scene and the injuries. You must also keep all relevant paperwork, such as medical records, repair bills, etc. Take detailed notes of the event. Explain exactly what happened and how it occurred.
- Collect Medical Records
This is a crucial part of any personal injury claim. It’s so important that we’re mentioning it again.
Having all your medical records in one place creates a comprehensive understanding of your injury and treatment. This is strong evidence for your claim. It creates a story the court can follow, showing them just how much you’ve suffered.
This information also helps aid your treatment. If you need further medical care, a comprehensive record helps new doctors understand what you’ve already done and what you still need to do.
- Calculate Damages
You need a clear understanding of how much your injury has cost you.
Calculating your damages includes tallying:
- Lost wages
- Any other expenses related to the accident
- Any career or educational advancement you lost while recovering
- The cost of any mental health services you required because of your injuries
- Medical bills, including treatments, prescriptions, surgeries, visits, therapies, etc.
In a personal injury claim, these are the expenses you want to recover.
- Contact the Other Party
Now, you submit an official notice of your personal injury claim to the responsible party or their insurer. This process involves sending a demand letter. This letter outlines your injuries, damages, and the compensation you are seeking.
- Negotiate a Settlement
Now, the other party will respond. Normally, they will refute your claims or attempt to pay you less than what you demand. That’s where negotiations begin.
With an attorney’s help, the help of an attorney, you can work with the other party or their insurers. The goal is to agree on a fair settlement amount.
This part can take some time. However, if the other party agrees to a reasonable compensation amount, it will be worth the effort.
- File a Personal Injury Lawsuit
If negotiations do not yield positive results, you can take your case to court. This initiates the legal process.
The court process involves:
Fact-Finding Through Discovery
During the discovery phase, both parties exchange information and evidence related to the case. This includes gathering documents, conducting depositions, and obtaining witness statements.
Before the trial, there may be pre-trial procedures such as motions, settlement negotiations, or mediation to try and resolve the case without going to court.
If you cannot reach a settlement, the case will proceed to trial. Both parties present their arguments, evidence, and witnesses, and a judge or jury will determine the outcome.
The Importance of Legal Representation Throughout the Process
From the very beginning of the claim process, an attorney can help gather the necessary documents and evidence needed to build a strong case. Along the way, they can negotiate with insurance companies to ensure you receive fair compensation for your injuries. If the case does proceed to trial, having an experienced attorney on your side can make all the difference in the outcome. Without an attorney, you may not receive the compensation you need. Don't go it alone. Talk to a lawyer to help you navigate the personal injury claim process.
Alex & Associates, P.C. is here to walk you through every step of your personal injury claim. To meet with our team, you can contact us online or call us at (602) 483-6114.