What happens when someone files a bodily injury claim? A bodily injury claim is filed when someone seeks compensation for injuries caused directly or indirectly by another party, either through wrongdoing or negligence. When someone files a bodily injury claim, you can generally expect the following sequence of events: notification, investigation, evaluation, negotiation, and if necessary, litigation in a courtroom.
Like other potential lawsuits, receiving notice of a bodily injury claim – or preparing to file a bodily injury claim of your own – calls for the involvement of a legal professional. If you’ve recently been hurt in an accident due to the negligence of another party, or if you’ve been involved in an incident wherein someone got hurt enough to consider filing a claim, you will want to discuss your options with a competent and experienced lawyer.
Understanding Bodily Injury Claims: An Overview
Have you heard of personal injury claims? Bodily injury claims are included under personal injury claims but refer exclusively to physical injuries due to wrongdoing or a form of negligence.
Most bodily injury claims are the result of car accidents, construction site accidents, or on-premises injuries (such as getting struck in the head and injured by a foul ball sitting courtside at a baseball game) but can also occur in the form of medical malpractice, product liability, assault, or a dog bite, for example.
Any accident or incident wherein someone gets hurt due to someone else’s lack of due diligence calls for a bodily injury claim, especially when the injuries are severe.
Many people file a bodily injury claim to cover medical costs. While insurance companies exist to help you deal with accidents and injuries, there are limits to what an insurance company must pay, and insurance policies often only cover so much when it comes to severe injuries, regardless of whether you live in a no-fault or an at-fault state. But before you consider filing a bodily injury claim, it’s important to ask yourself if your situation qualifies for a claim. The crux of every bodily injury claim, or any form of personal injury claim, is fault.
Can you reasonably blame the other party? Unlike a criminal case, you don’t have to prove that the opposing party failed to act – or is at fault – beyond any reasonable doubt. Bodily injury claims are a civil matter, which means that you simply need a “preponderance of the evidence”. This means, should all other factors be set aside, if the available evidence supports your claim by at least 51 percent, you stand a good chance of winning. If that’s the case, read on to find out what happens when someone files a bodily injury claim.
Initial Steps Before Filing a Bodily Injury Claim
Before we find out what happens when someone files a bodily injury claim, we need to attend to our injuries. Your priority at the site of an injury is to seek medical attention. Once a doctor has checked you out, be sure to stick to the follow-up schedule you’re given. Diligently follow up on your injuries – both to ensure that you are being treated and to ensure that the defense can’t argue that your injuries weren’t serious enough to warrant treatment adherence.
Next, contact a lawyer. Planning to file a bodily injury claim without first consulting a legal professional is a bad idea. Not only will you need proper representation to deal with the opposing party, but you will also need sound legal counsel to handle the insurance companies involved in the claims process.
Investigating and Documenting the Injury
If you’re wondering what happens when someone files a bodily injury claim, the first step is notification. The parties involved are notified that they’re involved in a claim and given ample time to prepare.
That’s when the investigation begins. Your legal representatives will be investigating the circumstances and facts of the case, as will opposing insurers and legal representatives.
This is the stage wherein evidence is gathered, and the fault is evaluated. It’s important to listen to your legal counsel and gather what you can. This includes your own testimony from the day, as well as copies of your medical bills, photographs of your injuries, and prescription receipts. Your lawyers will also collect a copy of the police report of the incident and ask around for witnesses. The more evidence, the better – especially when it’s in your favor.
You don’t need to prove that the other party intentionally hurt you. A bodily injury claim can be made when the at-fault party was expected to provide a certain level of care or responsibility towards you and failed to do so. This includes keeping the premises safe, maintaining equipment at a construction site, or following traffic laws.
Negotiation and Court Proceedings in Bodily Injury Claims
Bodily injury claims can take weeks, months, or years to conclude. But if all things go well, you may find yourself at the negotiation table sooner rather than later. Negotiation begins once all parties involved have had ample time to collect and evaluate the facts of the case. At this point, settlement offers can be made.
Insurance companies balance their interests between resolving cases quickly and minimizing costs. As such, it’s normal for the first offer to be low. Negotiations can take a while, as the parties go back and forth on potential settlement offers. In most cases, a fair settlement is reached, and the rest is history.
But if the parties cannot come to an agreement, the process moves on to court. The chosen venue – based on where the claim is filed – may impact your settlement. Some courts are known for awarding bigger verdicts to bodily injury victims, which may motivate an insurance company to settle for a larger amount. The court ultimately decides what’s fair upon hearing the facts of the case, and arguments from both sides.
What happens when someone files a bodily injury claim? Ultimately, most cases are settled outside of court. But if you and your legal team know you deserve a higher compensation – and you have the evidence to back it up – going to court can be well worth it. That’s why it’s important to have a legal team at your side that you can trust in a legal battle. We at the law offices of Owen, Patterson and Owen specialize in different forms of bodily injury claims and other personal injury claims, and we fight for bodily injury victims on a daily basis. Get in touch with us to learn more about our legal expertise, and what we can do for you.
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