What to Know About Serious Injury Claim

Personal injury can happen in one swift second. In most cases, personal injury will put you out of commission for a few days or weeks. However, the worst of it results in permanent disability and no chance of full recovery.

If you were the victim of an accident, it’s best to consider your options. Don’t make the mistake of taking your injury lightly. Even if it was an accident, it will be your body and money paying the price for it.

Are you interested in filing a serious injury claim? This article contains everything you need to know about serious injury cases. Read on to find out more.



Serious Injury Definition

First things first, what is a serious injury? Serious injuries are injuries that can have a significant impact on the victim’s quality of life. In law, serious injury may also meet the following criteria:

  • The injury requires hospital care for more than 48 hours within seven days of the injury
  • Results in injury to internal organs or internal bleeding
  • Involves injuries that may cause severe muscle and tendon damage or hemorrhaging
  • Involves burns, especially second and third-degree burns
  • The injury led to bone fractures, excluding simple fractures in the toes, fingers, or nose
  • The injury involves exposure to radiation or harmful substances

In addition, serious injuries may or may not result in the following:

  • Permanent disfigurement
  • Long-term mental, emotional, or behavioral disturbance, or
  • Long-term impairment or disability

Serious injuries cover accidents, but they can also come from intentional acts of violence.

There Are Different Types of Personal Injury

Most people think of car or truck accidents when they hear personal injury. However, personal injury is a broad category. As mentioned prior, personal injury does not have to be the result of an accident.

Aside from car accidents, you can also get a severe injury from an animal attack or medical malpractice. It can also come from assault, battery, and intent or desire to hurt someone.

Serious injuries can also happen due to negligence. This often happens in the workplace and public spaces.

Understanding what kind of injury you sustained will help you find the best representation if you decide to sue. If you were injured at work, find a serious injury lawyer who specializes in such cases.

Not All Injuries Are Eligible for Claim

An injury does not automatically mean the victim has an actionable claim. To file a serious injury claim, there must be legal grounds to hold the defendant accountable. If you want to file for negligence, you must show that the defendant had a duty to protect others.

For example, if there are clear dangers in a business, like construction work, the employer must take the necessary steps to protect their employees. If you got involved in a slip and fall accident while shopping, the owner may not have ensured the premises are safe. The victim must prove that the defendant failed in their duty to do so.

If you want to know how much compensation you’re entitled to, it’s best to speak with a serious injury lawyer.

Insurance Companies May Get Involved

Even if you wish to settle outside of court, it’s always best to have a lawyer by your side. Insurance providers always keep their financial interests in mind. That means they may try to lowball you or pressure you into settling.

A lawyer can help you navigate the negotiations. They’ll let you know whether the proposed settlement is fair or not. Of course, the final decision will be up to you, but it helps to have an expert whose priority is your well-being.

Most Claims Settle Outside of Court

Filing a lawsuit and going to court is not going to be easy, even with the help of an experienced lawyer. Because of this, over 95% of personal injury cases settle outside of court. Instead of presenting your case to a judge or jury, you work with a lawyer, the insurance company, and the defendant to reach a settlement.

After negotiations, you can decide whether to accept the proposed settlement or not. If you’re not satisfied, your lawyer may be able to help you reach a better agreement. The case will only go to trial when neither party accepts the settlement.

You Can File a Claim Even if You’re Partially at Fault

Comparative negligence is a legal jargon that means a victim can only recover part of their damage if they were also at fault for their injury. This doctrine applies to most states in the US. It’s exempted in Virginia, Alabama, North Carolina, and Maryland.

These states use contributory negligence instead, but we’ll discuss more of that later.

In comparative negligence, if you’re 20% at fault for your accident, you will recover 20% less of your total damages. These rules may vary between states, so confirming with a personal injury lawyer is best. For example, you’re not entitled to compensation if you’re 50% at fault in Illinois.

So what about contributory negligence? Under contributory negligence, even if you’re only 1% at fault for your accident, you won’t be able to recover any damages.

Personal Injury Cases Can Take Years to Resolve

Personal injury cases can get complicated, even with the best lawyer working on your side. On average, it takes about 1 to 3 years for a personal injury case to reach a verdict. Making a claim alone could take months, and you still have to go through negotiations and then fight it out in court if needed.

However, patience can be a good thing. A longer time frame can pressure the insurance company to resolve your claim. This can even help you get the maximum compensation you deserve for your injuries.

Don’t Settle Too Quickly

Personal injury cases are stressful, not only on the legal side of things. First and foremost, you have to worry about yourself. Depending on the nature of your injuries, you may be stuck in recovery for weeks or even months.

You also have to talk to your employer to settle disruptions at work and adjust to a new home life while recovering. With all this combined, you may want to settle the legal aspect of your case as soon as possible. However, it’s best to ride it out until the end of your treatment.

Your doctor will let you know when you reach the point of maximum medical improvement. Don’t settle your claim until then. It’s difficult to tell how much your total medical will be until the end of the treatment.

In some cases, you will need additional therapy as you go on with the treatment, which means higher bills. If you settle before receiving these bills, you will no longer be able to seek compensation.

You Have Limited Time to Make a Case

Your first priority after an accident should be getting treatment. Take your time but don’t take too long. You have limited time to make a claim.

According to the statute of limitations, you have about three years to file a claim.

If you didn’t discover the injury until later, you have one year from the date of discovery to file a claim. However, these time frames can differ depending on which state you live in. If you live in California, call this local lawyer

What Happens When You Make a Claim

So, you’ve decided to pursue legal action. Here’s what you can expect:

Building Your Case

Once you’ve found an attorney, they will conduct an initial consultation. During this, you and your lawyer will discuss the details of your accident and any concerns you may have.

  • Injuries sustained because of the accident
  • What type of treatment did you receive for your injuries?
  • What treatment you may need in the future because of your injuries
  • Who is liable for your accident
  • Who else was present or involved during your accident

Your attorney should then provide you with an assessment. They will also walk you through your options.

Investigation and Demand Package

Your lawyer will start an investigation to back up your claims. They may need to obtain incident reports and visit the original scene of the incident. Your lawyer may also need your medical records and bills to use.

Using these, your lawyer will be able to summarize a demand package. This should include all the necessary documentation that can prove your claim. Your attorney will then send the Demand Package to the insurance carrier.

Negotiations

Once the insurance carrier of the party at fault receives the Demand, they will respond with a settlement offer. Your lawyer will let you know when they’ve received the offer and will review it with you. You can accept, make a counter-demand, or proceed with a lawsuit.

What to Know When Filing a Serious Injury Claim

If you want to pursue legal action after an accident, it’s best not to do it alone. Find a lawyer specializing in serious injury claims to get rightful compensation. Are you looking for more legal advice? We have more great guides for you to discover.

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