Jason Stephens | November 19, 2021 | Personal Injury
Have you been injured in an accident resulting from another party’s negligence in Fort Worth, Texas? If so, you may be facing costly medical bills, lost wages, and related struggles.
You can often seek compensation for such losses by filing a personal injury claim or lawsuit to collect from the insurance of the negligent party who caused your accident.
If you ever find yourself in these circumstances, you may naturally wish to have a better understanding of how the process of recovering compensation may play out.
Each personal injury case is unique. For example, reaching a settlement in a car accident case when it is clear that another driver’s negligence caused your accident may take less time than it would take to recover compensation in a complex aviation accident case.
That said, the following general timeline should clarify what occurs when you seek compensation after being injured in an accident caused by someone else:
Step 1: The Accident Occurs
Personal injury cases take many forms.
Whenever you are injured in an accident that may have resulted from another party’s negligence, you should take the following steps:
- Report the accident to the police and/or manager or owner of the property where the accident occurred
- If applicable, exchange contact and insurance information with others involved in the accident (such as other drivers in the case of a motor vehicle accident)
- Get the names and contact information of any witnesses
- Document the scene and your injuries by taking pictures before conditions at the scene can be altered
It is also important to avoid making any statements that can indicate you were even partially to blame for your accident or injuries. Under Texas law, the degree to which you may have contributed to your accident can negatively influence how much your case is worth.
Step 2: Seeking Medical Care
Seeking medical attention after being involved in an accident is vital. See a doctor right away even if you do not believe you have been injured.
It is possible to sustain injuries without realizing it. Your recovery will be swifter if you receive any treatment you may need right away. Complications can occur even with minor injuries, so it’s important to have a comprehensive record of everything related to your accident.
Additionally, seeing a doctor immediately after an accident will improve your chances of arriving at a fair settlement.
Step 3: Consulting With an Attorney
Insurance companies are businesses. They are motivated to protect themselves financially.
Do not make the mistake of working with the insurance company directly when filing a claim. One wrong statement can jeopardize your chances of recovering the compensation you deserve.
Instead, schedule a consultation with a Fort Worth personal injury lawyer. They will review your case and determine the best way to proceed. Most personal injury attorneys offer free consultations, so you don’t have anything to lose.
Additionally, most personal injury lawyers use the contingency fee approach when charging for their services. That means an attorney’s fee is a percentage of the compensation they recover for you. If they do not recover compensation, you do not have to pay anything.
Step 4: Investigating
There are many reasons it is wise to enlist the help of an attorney when filing a personal injury claim. For example, an attorney can leverage their firm’s resources to conduct a thorough investigation into your accident. This is often necessary in order to gather the evidence needed to prove negligence.
A lawyer can also help you document your damages by consulting with doctors and other experts as needed to support your case. They will gather documentation that supports the theory of liability against the defendant, the extent of your injuries, lost wages, and more. This is key to determining how much compensation you may be eligible for.
Step 5: Filing a Claim or Demanding a Settlement
Once your attorney has gathered the necessary evidence and documentation, they will file an insurance claim or demand a settlement on your behalf. This relieves you of the burden of handling these tasks yourself. As a result, you have more freedom to focus on your own recovery.
And you’ll have a better chance for success with a professional with expertise and knowledge on your side. Some studies indicate you could get more than 3.5 times more money when you hire an attorney to handle your case rather than going it alone.
Step 6: Filing a Lawsuit
Again, because insurance companies are not inclined to offer fair payouts right away, securing one may require some degree of negotiation. An attorney is qualified to negotiate aggressively for you when an insurer is reluctant to offer proper compensation. If it is impossible to arrive at a fair settlement, they can file a lawsuit to pursue damages in court.
Just remember that this is merely a general overview. Each personal injury case can play out somewhat differently. To learn more about the potential timeline of your specific case, discuss it with a personal injury attorney sooner rather than later.