Five Steps in Filing a Personal Injury Claim
When you’re injured in an accident caused by someone else’s negligent behavior, you may have a strong legal case for money damages to cover the losses you suffered as the result of your injury. However, even strong claims go unpaid if you don’t understand the right steps to take to file a claim for compensation. Learn about the steps in filing a Florida personal injury claim below, and contact an experienced Vero Beach personal injury lawyer for more information.
Five steps in pursuing a claim for personal injury damages:
- Seek treatment: After an accident, it’s important that you seek treatment for your injuries. Your health should always come first, even when concerns about treatment costs may concern you. Plus, these doctors’ visits will provide important support for your claim. Your doctor’s records can serve as critical evidence of the extent of your injuries immediately following your accident. Visiting the doctor shortly after an injury will also show insurers and the judge that you did what you could to mitigate your damages after an accident, keeping your expenses from ballooning even more by leaving an injury unexamined and, potentially, incurable or unrepairable.
- Gather evidence: Whenever possible after an accident, document the scene of the injury. Take photos of what caused your injuries and the setting in which they occurred. Speak with anyone who may have witnessed your accident and obtain their contact information in case you need their testimony in the future. Take photos of any damage to your personal property, as well as physical injuries you suffered.
- Find out about mandatory filing deadlines: Depending on the type of accident you experienced, you may have a duty to file a report of your accident. For example, after a serious motor vehicle accident, you may need to file a police report shortly after your accident. If your claim for damages would be against a government body, there are special requirements on when you need to provide notice of a claim to the branch of government involved. There are also time limits that apply to any personal injury lawsuit filed in Florida. A Florida personal injury lawyer can help you determine what time limits apply to your case.
- Keep records related to your care: When proving a claim for damages, you’ll need to have official documents showing the types of treatment you received or expenses you incurred. Keep any receipts from co-payments, travel to see doctors, paystubs indicating how much you earned before your injuries (thus proving what wages you lost if you were forced to take time off work), costs of property repair, and any other documents that will prove your right to compensation to a court or insurer.
- Speak with a personal injury attorney about your options: injury victims who are represented by an attorney are typically able to obtain a greater award of damages, even when claims don’t go to trial. Most seasoned personal injury lawyers will represent injury victims on contingency, meaning that they don’t get paid until their client gets paid. A skilled lawyer will handle the filing requirements, evidence-gathering, and negotiations on your behalf so that you can focus instead on making a full recovery.