More than 20,000 civil cases get filed in US federal courts each month. The majority are for common personal injuries, particularly product liability. In fact, product liability claims have seen a massive growth of 452.8% over the last five years.
If you’re a personal injury victim yourself, you should file a personal injury claim as soon as you can. Otherwise, you may exceed your state’s statute of limitations. If this happens, you may no longer be able to receive compensation for your injuries.
To that end, we created this guide detailing the basics of filing personal injury claims. Read on to discover what you need to do to get the process started.
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Reach Out to a Personal Injury Lawyer
The US is home to more than 53,000 personal injury lawyers. Many of these legal practitioners offer free, non-obligatory initial consultations.
During these meetings, lawyers discuss case merits, including their client’s legal options. You’ll learn how much you can expect from your personal injury settlement. The attorneys you meet up with will also inform you about your state’s statute of limitations.
This should be enough reason for you to speak to a personal injury attorney before you file a claim. Again, you won’t be under any obligation to hire them after the consultation. Even if you do, you can expect your personal injury lawyer to agree to a contingency fee.
Consider Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney
You may have heard that about 95% of legal cases settle before they go to trial. However, experts say this is only an estimation from a previous study of car insurance claims. This implies a higher risk of claims either not getting settled or going to trial.
One way that you may not get any settlement is if an insurer denies your claim. Insurance companies, as explained in this post, may also devalue your claim. Either way, some insurers play “bad faith” tactics to avoid personal injury settlements.
Protecting your rights to fair compensation is another reason to lawyer up. You’re more likely to receive an equitable settlement if you have legal representation.
File the Personal Injury Claim
If there’s insurance coverage involved, your first step is to file a “third-party claim.” You’d need the defendant’s complete name, the name of their insurer, and their policy number. From here, you can send a notice of claim to the defendant’s insurance provider.
If you hire a personal injury attorney, your lawyer will do all these for you. They’ll curate the claim notification letter and gather evidence for you. If the insurer denies the claim, your attorney may advise you to push through with a lawsuit.
Make a Complaint
In case your initial claim gets denied, you can file a complaint in your state’s local civil court. A complaint is a legal document identifying the factual and legal basis of your lawsuit. Of course, you need credible evidence to back up your case.
Note that each state implements a statute of limitations, which is a deadline to file a lawsuit. This depends on the type of lawsuit you wish to file. For instance, most states enforce one to two-year deadlines for car accident injuries.
Protect Your Rights as a Personal Injury Victim
As you can see, one of the best things you can do when filing a personal injury claim is to speak to a lawyer. This way, you can gauge the merits of your case and how likely it is to win.
From there, consider hiring an experienced personal injury attorney. This way, you can focus on your recovery while your lawyer protects your rights as a victim.
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