Have you been injured because of the negligence of another party? If so, you may be wondering how to file a personal injury claim to recover compensation for your damages.
There are more than 40 million lawsuits filed in the United States each year. The state and federal court systems throughout the country give plaintiffs a place to seek justice.
Before you file a lawsuit in your case, you need to know how to do it and the best strategy to resolve your claims. Read on to learn how to learn everything you need to know about filing a personal injury claim.
Gather Evidence and Maintain Records
Suffering an injury because of another party’s negligence can be a life-changing experience. You may have short- and long-term effects brought about by the events.
These injuries can have lasting consequences and change the way you live your life. Be mindful of the importance of record-keeping during the process. Some of the most important records are bills from your doctor and medical providers, like physical therapists. Also, keep records that reflect the costs to repair your vehicle after the crash.
Record-keeping starts on the date of your injury. Gather the names and contact information of witnesses to the incident. If your injury happened at a store or other business, they may have camera footage of the incident. This information can become a valuable piece of evidence when you file a lawsuit later.
Your attorney can also use the documentary evidence to your advantage later. It will help when they seek statements from witnesses and other important information.
Medical Treatment for Your Injuries
Listen to what your body tells you. Don’t overlook the importance of seeking medical treatment for your injuries. It’s not unusual for a victim to feel the physical consequences until a few days after the incident.
When you first feel pain after an incident, whether it is immediate or days after, seek medical treatment right away. Avoid delaying medical treatment to see if your symptoms improve.
That delay can cause you to experience more pain and increase the severity of your injuries. Treat with reputable doctors in your area and be sure that they are keeping detailed records of your condition.
Your medical records for treatment after an accident are a crucial piece of evidence a personal injury lawyer will use as part of your claim.
Speak with Experienced Lawyers
Begin speaking with personal injury law firms in California soon after the incident. Did you know there are more than 266,000 licensed attorneys in the State of California?
Although there are many attorneys to choose from, you should only hire a law firm that has experience handling these types of personal injury claims. That’s because personal injury cases are a unique area of the law.
A personal injury claim encompasses a wide area of civil law while also including many elements of medicine. A law firm with experience in this practice area will have lawyers and legal support staff to handle your claim the right way.
Speak candidly with prospective lawyers about what happened on the day of your accident. This will help your attorney give you a more accurate opinion about the strengths and weaknesses of your case.
Prepare a Demand Letter
Before filing a personal injury lawsuit, it is common practice for an attorney to write a demand letter on your behalf. A demand letter is usually written after your lawyer has gathered facts about your incident, as well as medical records, and the identity of at-fault parties.
This letter puts negligent parties on notice that you’re seeking to hold them liable for your damages after a crash. It’s important that the information in a demand letter is accurate and presented persuasively.
Your lawyer will use their training and experience to prepare a letter that presents your case in the most favorable light. They will also use their knowledge of California law and apply it to the facts of your case.
The letter will be directed to each party who may have some level of fault for your injuries. For example, if you are hit by a UPS delivery truck, you may have causes of action against UPS, the driver of the vehicle, and their insurance company.
Oftentimes, other parties may share fault, but that might not be known to you on the day of your fall. Your letter will make a demand for the payment of damages before a stated deadline or else you will file a lawsuit.
File Your Lawsuit
Although sending a demand letter is common practice in personal injury cases, it’s often not the last step before you recover damages. Even if you have a strong case, the at-fault parties that receive the letter may refuse to reach a personal injury settlement.
This means that you will need to file a lawsuit to prosecute your claims in court. Before you file a lawsuit, your lawyer will speak with you about the venue. In California civil courts, statutes and the facts govern the venue for your case.
Your lawyer will give you advice about personal injury claim matters. After gathering the facts of your case, an attorney will prepare a complaint on your behalf.
A complaint is a formal document that sets forth the facts and causes of action against each defendant. The complaint is filed in the proper court and triggers the issuance of a summons. A copy of the summons and complaint must be served on each party to the lawsuit.
In California, a party has 30 days after the date of service to file a response with the court. If a defendant denies the claims, your party will proceed through litigation. This can be a long process involving discovery, mediation, and a trial, but varies from case to case.
The Best Way to Handle Your Personal Injury Claim
Your personal injury claim is your opportunity to recover damages for injuries caused by other parties. Since you only have one chance to recover damages for your accident, you need the best counsel for your case.
At South Bay Accident Lawyers, we are a law firm with attorneys that devote our practice to personal injury and auto accident claims. We dedicate our practice to advocating on behalf of victims injured by negligence.
Contact us today for a free consultation and to learn how we can help you with your claims!