If you are in an auto accident and you sustain an injury, you may have the right to file a personal injury claim. You must be able to prove the extent of your injuries and figure out who is liable for the accident. Even when you share fault for the accident, you can file a claim against the other party if they are 50% at fault or more for the accident.
The Initial Accident Report
When officials respond to the scene of the accident, they will write a preliminary accident report that establishes fault. It’s important to remember that this is only the assessment of the responding officers, and not necessarily what the final outcome will be. If you find mistakes in the accident report and you can prove you are less at fault, it’s important to address these issues with the officer that wrote the report. You might be able to get the accident report changed if you can prove the report is wrong.
The Extent of Your Injuries
By filing a personal injury claim, you are trying to make the case that you have losses. You have suffered in pain, you are struggling or unable to work, and you have property damage to be compensated for. If you walk away from the scene of an auto accident and return to work the next day, it’s going to be difficult to prove you had losses. The extent of your injuries and the financial losses you have endured are taken into consideration when coming up with an award amount should you win your case.
Your Percentage of Fault
When you are less than 50% at fault for an accident, you can file a personal injury claim for damages. The lower your percentage of fault is, the more money you can expect from your claim. For example, if you are awarded $10,000 and you are 10% at fault, you receive a $9,000 award. If you are 40% at fault, your award will go down to $6,000. It is important to establish fault and argue down your percentage of fault if possible. Your personal injury attorney will be able to assess your case carefully to determine what fault you should share with the other party.
Proving Your Injuries
Proving your injuries goes beyond an emergency room visit and heading back home. You must follow through with all of your medical care in order to show a clear picture of what is going on with your injuries. If you are referred to specialists, you have to make these appointments and do all that you can to heal. If you skip appointments, it will look like you aren’t really as injured as you claim to be. During the course of your treatment, take pictures if that makes sense and document how you are feeling every day in a personal journal. Your progress and compliance with all therapeutic interventions must be easy for your medical providers to report.
Losses That You Can Measure
If you are out of work because of your injuries, it is simple to calculate your lost wages. Car damage and medical bills are easy to prove, as well as any damage to property that was in your vehicle. These are your pecuniary damages, and only a part of your overall compensation. You also have non-pecuniary losses, which are those losses that are more difficult to assign value to. These include things like pain, suffering, or loss of enjoyment. This is where the extent of your injuries and your ability to recover fully becomes important. If your treatment team determines that you are at a medical end to treatment, and you still can’t return to work, your award should become much higher.
Settling Your Personal Injury Case
When you work with a personal injury lawyer, you may come to a place where you are ready to settle your case. Your attorney will have a good idea of what your case is worth and what you are likely to receive if you take the case to trial. The defendant and their attorney will also understand this, and they are going to want to cut their losses. Trials take time and money, and an insurance company would rather settle the case out of court. If you are comfortable with a settlement offer and you can live with the final amount, you may consider a settlement offer and take it.
You have the right to file a personal injury claim, even when you are partially at fault. It’s important to point out any problems with the accident report that will reduce your percentage of fault. When you are injured and you are suffering, a personal injury claim makes it possible to recover and get the financial compensation you need during this time.