Getting involved in an accident is nothing to take lightly. If you ignore it, your injuries can lead to bigger problems in the future and hamper your everyday life. That’s why it is important to know that the injured person is eligible to seek compensation for their injuries. However, not many people know what they have to deal with once they claim for accident benefits, especially if the injury or accident was a result of someone else’s fault. Here’s a guide to help you know what you should expect when dealing with a personal injury claim.
Helpful Tips on What to Expect in a Personal Injury Claim
Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer Is an Excellent Idea
Although it is not necessary to hire a personal injury lawyer to claim benefits or file a lawsuit, getting one is definitely a good idea. A legal professional will not only guide you through the process but also act as your spokesperson to communicate with the party responsible. Be prepared by having a personal injury lawyer for your claim to avoid future complications and increase your odds of winning the case.
Your Claim Must be Supported by Facts
You might think that you are telling the truth so the insurance company will automatically compensate you and the judge will rule in your favour. But this is not something that you should expect in a personal injury claim. Anyone can make a claim, but it needs to be supported by facts that prove who was at fault. An investigation will gather more details about the accident, while interviews with witnesses will hopefully verify or strengthen your claim.
Examining Your Injuries Is Necessary
Examining your level of injury, from minor to extreme, is sometimes essential to quantify a fair compensation. You may be directed to a medical office where an injury recovery specialist will examine you. Your medical report will influence how much the insurance company will pay you. It will also help in further strengthening your case.
Getting a Low Initial Settlement Offer Is Completely Normal
In most personal injury cases, the parties involved prefer to settle the matter out of court to avoid going to trial. If your case is stronger than the defendant’s, then it is likely that the insurance company’s lawyer will try to contact you for an out of court settlement. Once your personal injury lawyer has determined your total damages, you can negotiate the offer. However, it is not necessary that you accept the first offer. Insurance companies may try to take advantage of your situation by offering a lower amount compared to what you deserve. Don’t think it is your last chance and negotiate instead.
The Claim Process Can Take Time If It Goes to Trial
While the duration of a personal injury claim varies, the process can take several months to a couple of years. However, the length of time it takes also depends on factors such as your age, the number of parties involved and the severity of your injuries. In many cases it is not until the long-term impact of your accident-related injuries are established that the appropriate amount of compensation can be determined. Simply put, to resolve a claim or determine fair compensation, your injuries will likely need to be completely healed, have reached a point where improvement is unlikely or be predictable by health care professionals. So, expect a delay in getting accident benefits, especially if your case goes to trial.
The Amount of Compensation Depends on Several Factors
The amount of compensation you claim is not unlimited. Accident benefits awarded depend on several factors including:
- Your age
- Your prognosis
- Your pre-accident income
- Whether you were partially responsible for the accident
- The cost of your medical treatment and rehabilitation as well as other accident-related expenses
- Whether you are receiving treatment funding or income from other sources such as Ontario Works or a long-term disability policy
You May Have to Attend a Pre-Trial Conference
Although not vital to a personal injury claim, you may have to attend a pre-trial conference when a settlement cannot be agreed upon. The meeting will be held between lawyers for both parties and a presiding judge to determine the claim issues and try to reach a settlement. This is probably the closing step in the claim, as negotiations and settlement amounts are finalized.
You Can File an Appeal If You Are Not Satisfied with the Result
If you did not win your case, you did not get the compensation you deserve or the defendant refused to pay, you can file an appeal. It will restart this process and increase the number of judges who hear your case.
From a slip & fall accident to a car crash, seeking compensation for your injuries is your right. However, to ensure that you are awarded accident benefits without delays, you should be prepared for all aspects of a claim. We hope this blog has helped you learn what you should expect in a personal injury claim so that you are well-prepared to fight for your rights.