One of the leading causes of accidents in the U.S. alone is car accidents that record over 6 million cases each year. Out of these accidents, almost 3 million ends up with a major or minor injury, and 2 million end up with a permanent injury.
While everyone who sustains an injury after an accident is entitled to compensation, some people do not know what to expect or how to file it.
After suffering injuries, some of the first questions that people tend to ask are, what is a personal injury claim? Can I file for it?
Though sustaining and nursing injuries after an accident can be tough, claiming the injuries is more intimidating. Knowing what to expect and having someone who can help you through the process is very necessary.
What Is a Personal Injury Claim?
A personal injury is a physical or psychological injury that one sustains from an accident resulting from negligence. A claim is a lawsuit filed by the victim to get the compensation that they deserve after an injury.
Personal injury claims cover a variety of injuries like slip and fall, car and motorcycle accidents, medical negligence, dog bites, defective products, pedestrian accidents, and more. If you have been hurt, you do not only suffer physical pain but negative financial impacts as well. Many people take legal action to claim for medical bills, lost wages, or any other concern.
Here is what you need to know about personal injury and what you should do after an accident.
Know the First Steps to Take After an Accident
If you have been in an accident, knowing what to do immediately after is very important. This is because what you do can make or break your claim for compensation. It is always a good idea to speak to an experienced attorney as soon as you can so that they can advise you on what to do after a car accident or any other accident.
This way, you will avoid making mistakes that can end up being costly. Your injury lawyer will guide you on what to say and do to protect your injury claim.
The Statute of Limitations
The victim of the accident (the plaintiff) has a limited time to file their claim. This time is known as the statute of limitations. In America, this is the time frame between when the accident occurred and when you filed for the claim. Once your lawyer has started the process, they are no longer limited to a time frame.
Every state in the U.S has different laws on statutes of limitation, and the laws also vary depending on the type of injury. Know your state’s laws so that you can claim in good time.
There are several compensatory damages in personal injury cases. This means that the compensation’s main aim is to pay back the plaintiff for what they lost because of the accident.
Some of these damages include:
Damage to Property
Any personal property damaged during the accident, for instance, cars, deserves compensation. The current market value determines the compensation amount.
Hospital Bills and Other Medical Expenses
Every medical bill that is as a result of the injuries sustained in the accident is also in your damages. The total of these medical expenses will greatly contribute to how the damages are calculated, especially when trying to factor in other damages that are rather hard to quantify.
Lost Wages and Earning Capacity
If you have lost any income due to the accident, you may deserve compensation. If the accident has also affected your ability to resume your normal job, you will also file a claim for the loss of earning capacity.
These two are recoverable as compensatory damages. They will also be factored in when determining the value of your compensation.
Pain, Suffering and Emotional Distress
This compensation includes discomfort and any physical pain that is caused by the accident, injuries, medical treatment, and psychological and mental effects like fear, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and loss of sleep.
It is not easy to account for the damages of pains and suffering, yet they make up one of the biggest categories of damages in a car accident case. This is especially when the injuries are very serious and needed extensive medical care.
Loss of Consortium
This is a term used when an injured spouse cannot offer their partners support and companionship. The extent of the damage in their relationship will hugely affect the amount of the claim. If this compensation is successful, it is given to the spouse who is affected and not the injured plaintiff.
Loss of Enjoyment
Should the accident affect the quality of life or your ability to enjoy the pleasures of life, you are also entitled to a loss of enjoyment compensation. So an accident that limits you from taking part in your interests and hobbies that you enjoyed before the accident, qualifies as a valid claim.
Once your lawyer has formalized your case, there are two possible outcomes that you can expect; the defendant can choose to settle, or you might have to go to trial.
Some personal injury claims are resolved through settlement. This is where you negotiate and come up with an agreement that both parties agree to.
If you are not able to agree, you will then proceed to trial, and it will be up to the judge to determine how much compensation the plaintiff should be awarded.
Get a Lawyer to Help You File a Personal Injury Claim?
To get more answers to the question, “What is a personal injury claim? it would be best if you considered talking to an expert personal injury lawyer so that they can help you handle your claim and ensure that you get your rightful compensation.
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