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Claim Process of a Personal Injury Case: Tips from a Healthcare Attorney

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According to the National Center for Health Statistics, every year, 31 million people in the United States suffer injuries that require medical intervention.  2 million of these cases are hospitalized with 162,000 of the injuries being fatal. As a ripple effect, personal injury claims abound. These include slip and fall claims, car accidents, medical malpractice, and more. If you or a loved one has been hurt as a result of another person’s carelessness, you have the right to file a personal injury claim and seek compensation. Learn the steps to personal injury claim process from the best health care fraud defense attorney. 

Step 1: Seek medical help

The first thing to do after an injury is to seek medical help. You can’t seek compensation when you are dead. The minute you feel hurt, your first stop should be at the doctor’s office. This not only restores your health but also helps you to gather evidence that you were hurt in the first place. Both the jury and the insurance adjuster will want proof of being injured in the way of medical records.

Step 2: Consult with a personal injury attorney

Once you are feeling better, make the initial appointment with your lawyer. This will help you to understand if you have a case in the first place. You will also learn about the medical costs, your legal options, the severity of your injuries, and if there’s actually a defendant to seek compensation from.

Step 3: Investigations

Next, your personal injury attorney will investigate the case by asking you questions about the injury, going over your medical records, police reports, your employment history, witness testimony and any bill linked to the injury. Photographs from the accident scene will come in handy here. They will also find out about the defendant’s financial assets and insurance. If the case is viable, you will sign a fee agreement with them and enter into a business relationship with them.

Step 3: Demand settlement

Not all personal injury cases proceed to court. After gathering enough evidence, your lawyer will serve the defendant’s lawyer or insurance company with a letter demanding for an out-of-court settlement. The letter outlines the damages and liability (lost wages, medical bills, injuries, suffering, and future medical care). The opposite party will review the letter and decide to accept the demands, make a counterfeit offer or reject it altogether.

Step 4: Filing the personal injury claim

If the defendant’s lawyer refuses an out-of-court settlement, your lawyer will help you file a lawsuit. Every state has set laws for filling lawsuits, called a Statute of limitations.

Step 5: Discovery phase

In this phase, either party acquires further evidence and evaluates it to determine how complex or simple the case is. They will send questions and documents to each other and take depositions of all witnesses and parties (starting with the plaintiff and the defendant). This process can take months or years depending on the complexity of the claim and the deadlines of the court.

Step 6: Negotiation and mediation

Before going to trial, the lawyers will launch negotiations about the possibility of a settlement. During the medication talks, a neutral third party (often a former judge) is present in the meeting which is attended by both lawyers and their clients.

Step 7: Trial

If the negotiation step above doesn’t yield results, the claim will have to go to trial. In this step, the case is mentioned in the presence of the jury or judge. They will look at the facts and proceed to make a decision. If they determine that the defendant is responsible for the accident, the defendant will be required to pay damages deemed appropriate by the judge or the jury.

Step 8: Appeal

Based on the decision makes in step 7 above, either party can initiate an appeal case. This takes months (even years) to conclude. Once the process of appeal is exhausted, the defendant will be asked to pay the damages decided during the trial or appeal stage.

Don’t let the long process intimidate you; most personal injury cases are settled out of court. The trick is hiring the best attorney to fight for what you deserve. Only go for a reputable, experienced, and highly skilled personal injury lawyer with a good track record.

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