When dealing with a personal injury case, it’s nice to know what’s going on. This allows you to have confidence in what’s occurring during your case and not just trusting an attorney blindly. Although it’s important to pick an attorney that’s good at what they do and whom you can trust, it’s still important to be prepared and knowledgeable yourself. Having tabs on your own case and understanding the steps as they come allows you to make an informed decision when presented with one. Below covers some topics on personal injury cases when you are the one who has sustained the injuries.
What Does a Typical Personal Injury Case Look Like?
When an injury occurs at the negligence of another party, most states have laws that allow the person injured to recoup costs. This can include emotional trauma connected to the injury. Negligence can be from a workplace being unsafe or not kept up to code which resulted in an injury. Negligence can also include careless driving, malpractice by a doctor, and more. A typical case will have an injured party and a negligent party seeking to prove whether negligence was indeed the issue.
What Happens After Filing a Case?
The assumed negligent party is then served papers of the notice and becomes the defendant while you become the plaintiff. The next step is called “discovery” as lawyers on both sides gather evidence, ask questions, and build a case. Once this mode has ended, offers can be made before the case is taken to trial. If the offer is refused, it will go to trial and be decided by a judge. However, it’s common for personal injury cases to be settled outside the courtroom.
What Happens if I Win?
A judge or jury will decide an amount for damages and you will be rewarded this amount of money. Those deciding the amount will take into account the injury, grief caused by the injury, future wages lost, etc. All angles will be considered in order to fully cover the plaintiff. This is why cases like this are often settled outside of court.
How Long Do I Have to File a Case?
Each state differs on the length of time following an injury that you have to file a claim. This is referred to as the “Statute of Limitations.” Your attorney should be able to help you with this amount of time for your state. However, it’s always best to file a claim as quickly as possible following the injury. This often helps with evidence trails and the case in general.
Some other important notes to consider are that the defendant of the case isn’t punished. Other than paying out what’s rewarded to the plaintiff if they lose the case, a defendant won’t have to worry about aspects such as probation, jail time, etc. Further, if you decide to settle a case outside of court, this is when you and the defendant agree on a specific outcome of the case without a judge or jury. Your lawyer will handle the details.
You may have heard of an umbrella policy when discussing insurance. However, many people are unaware of what it actually is and how to utilize it. Because of this, umbrella policies may not be purchased or even used. When it comes to personal injury cases, it’s important to know what your umbrella policy will cover. After all, there’s no sense in having the policy if it’s not going to be of some use to you down the road. Keep reading for the basics of personal injury coverage with an umbrella policy.
What Does an Umbrella Policy Cover?
An average umbrella policy is basically an add-on to the policies you already have. This means it covers above what your normal policy covers. Bodily injury, personal injury, property damage, and landlord liability is what an umbrella policy more commonly covers. Umbrella policies don’t cover things like business losses, written or oral contracts, personal belongings, etc.
How Does an Umbrella Policy Work?
As mentioned above, an umbrella policy kicks in when your normal policy isn’t enough. It acts as a band-aid of extra coverage just in case your usual policy isn’t enough. For example, if you were in a car accident that was your fault, and the other party was injured in the incident, your normal car insurance will cover up to a certain amount. However, if something happens and the case ends up calling for more than your car insurance will cover, the umbrella policy will begin covering the amount that went beyond the coverage of your normal car insurance.
Many people think having an umbrella policy isn’t worth it. However, here is a scenario to put it into perspective. Car insurance policies will only cover so much and you can’t purchase any more than their highest limit. Therefore, the only way to get extra coverage is to go for an umbrella policy. When personal injury cases are presented, aspects such as lost wages, grief, etc. are covered outside of the cost of medical bills for the injury itself. Say you hit a doctor and he sues you for lost wages on top of everything else. You could be looking at a million-dollar payout for damages with your car insurance only covering $500,000 of that. If your insurance doesn’t cover it, the judge and jury won’t care. You will still have to find a way to put the leftover damages amount. This can result in garnered wages, loss of property, home, other belongings, and more.
Umbrella policies aren’t necessary or required by law. However, they can prove to be quite the backup in such a sue-happy world. Umbrella policies commonly can be purchased in one million increments for up to five million in coverage.
Even if you have been involved in a car accident that apparently did not result from your fault, you have to understand that when it comes to compensation, your insurer is going to try very hard to get away without paying the full amount you are entitled to. Their plan is to complicate the claim settlement process, get you worn out, and force you to settle for as little as possible. The aim of this article is to equip you with the necessary information with regards to the car accidents claim process, how you could make your claim stronger, and how the claim is eventually settled.
Car Accident Claim Process
When car accidents happen, it is tough times for the parties involved. The accident claim against the insurer for the damages only make the bad situation worse. There are a number of issues that the victims or their loved ones have to deal with. These include litigation, medical expenses, claim adjuster, and repairmen among others. However, a proper understanding of the car accident claim process can reduce significantly the amount of anxiety that comes with such unfamiliar events.
The affected party has to understand several aspects of the claim process to reduce the unease during the hectic process. It is imperative to appreciate the fact that apprehension is almost natural when car accidents occur. If you ask any American motorist how good they are at driving, the answer is most likely going to be “very good.” On the other hand, if you ask them how others drive, you are likely going to get negative answers. All in all, statistics show that about 20% of all motorists in developed countries have been involved in car accidents in the recent years, but in almost all the cases, the drivers are a pain to absolve themselves of any wrongdoing. Thus, it is essential to go thoroughly into the causes and then proceed with maximum caution throughout the car accident claim.
Once the insurer is notified of the occurrence of a car accident, a representative of the insurance company is assigned the task of handling the claim. The first thing the investigator does is to find out if the insurance policy is valid and whether the loss or the damage is covered under the policy. The next step involves the interviewing of the parties involved and preparing a comprehensive report covering all witness statements. This step is critical because it establishes the party that is responsible for the losses incurred. Once the liability is fixed and it is established that the insurance company is responsible, the claim adjuster will evaluate the
damages on the car (or the damages that the car has caused) and the extent of bodily injuries if any. However, it is important to note that the insurance company is only responsible for the covered losses. Any damages beyond the purview of the accident will not be covered. It is also essential to know that medical information will play an important role in determining the amount that the insurance company will pay in settling a car accident claim.
How to Make your Car Accident Claim Stronger
As noted above, insurance companies will stop at nothing to ensure that the amount they pay you for car accident claims is as little as possible. To make sure that the claim is strong, you have the responsibility to prove that the accident happened due to the negligence of another party. Thus, the burden of proof lies squarely on you. It is, therefore, important that you collect as much information about the accident as possible. For instance, you have to get the details of the other party; record their address, their car number, their phone number, their insurance policy number, and even the type, the color and the plate number of their car. Also, get the contact information of the eyewitnesses. You can also take photographs of the accident scene. In case you are injured, get a medical report from your doctor. In a nutshell, the more facts you have to support your claim, the higher the payoff you are likely to get.
How the Claim is eventually settled
Most insurance companies are using complicated computer programs to calculate what they should pay for a given car accident claim. Their idea is just to legitimize the meager amounts they are willing to pay. It is, therefore, imperative to get the assistance of a car accident attorney in Mesa who understands car accident claims settlement properly. Remember that if you accept what an insurer is offering, there is no way to reverse the decision. Thus, if you are not satisfied with what your insurer is offering, it advisable that you file a lawsuit, and go to court for a legal determination as to how much what you are entitled.
Additional Resources For Car Accident Settlements & Claims
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