Every day someone experiences an injury from some type of accident. This could be anything from a dog bite to a car accident, defective product, medical error, slip and fall, and more. Many of these accidents will involve medical costs for everything from treatments to medication, therapy, or medical procedures.
There are two ways to obtain fair compensation from those responsible for an accident. An individual can file a claim and negotiate a settlement with a defendant or their insurance company. They can also file a lawsuit. A Kentucky personal injury lawyer will know which one best applies to a person’s individual situation.
Personal Injury Claim
This will often involve an insurance company. It could involve malpractice insurance, auto insurance, business liability insurance, homeowner’s insurance, and more. An accident victim will often make a claim that is between them and an insurance company. This is the step taken before filing a lawsuit.
Many accident victims have legal representation during the claims process. It will often involve negotiations between the victim’s attorney and an insurance company claims adjuster. This could produce a settlement payment that is acceptable to both parties.
Accident victims will often seek compensation for various damages:
- Pain and suffering
- Medical and dental bills
- Costs associated with ruined personal items like eyeglasses, clothes, vehicles, and more
- Rehabilitation and physical therapy expenses
- Out-of-pocket medical expenses such as bandages, medications, crutches, and more
Settling A Claim
In order for this to happen, an insurance claims adjuster will require proof an accident was caused by their insured, their insured was negligent, and the injuries of the victim are serious enough to warrant a settlement.
An insurance claims adjuster will investigate the facts of a case in several ways:
- Evaluate all evidence provided
- Review a victim’s medical charts and bills
- Speak with the victim and any witnesses
- Examine any damage to a car, house, boat, or any other involved property
- Go to the accident scene and take photographs
- Review reports from law enforcement
Personal Injury Lawsuit
The claims negotiations process can break down. This is when both parties are not able to reach a compromise. It could happen when an insurance claims adjuster refuses to admit their insured was at fault. They may not agree with the severity of a victim’s injuries.
An insurance adjuster may also disagree with the amount of compensation requested by a victim. When the insurance claim negotiations stall, the next step in the process is filing a lawsuit
Prior to an accident victim filing a lawsuit, they need to be certain two basic grounds for a personal injury lawsuit apply to the case.
It must be established that the defendant in the lawsuit owed the victim a duty of care. This means the defendant should have done something or avoided doing something so that the accident would not have happened. It is not required to be an agreed-upon duty.
A driver owes pedestrians and other drivers a duty of driving with care. It will be important to establish the defendant breached this duty in some way.
Clearly Defined Harm
One of the first things an experienced personal injury attorney will do is evaluate a victim’s claim to determine if they experienced clearly defined harm. Personal injury lawsuits must include the harm element. This harm must also be provable. The more a victim can prove the harm they experienced as a result of an accident, the stronger the likelihood of a successful lawsuit.
When a person or business causes someone to be the victim of an accident, they have the right to seek compensation for their injuries and damages. The pain and confusion that a victim experiences after an accident makes protecting their legal rights important. This is when an accident victim should contact a personal injury lawyer. They will know how to evaluate a case and the best way to obtain fair compensation for an accident victim.