The Injury Claims Process: What To Expect
When you begin the process of an injury claim, it is important to retain a lawyer from the state the accident happened in. If you are in New Jersey, it is important to retain a personal injury NJ lawyer with litigation experience. Most injury claims do not find their way to court though; most of these are settled outside of the courtroom. However, do not ignore the litigation experience, since you do not know how your claims process will go. In the event that your claims process is going to be settled, here is what to expect.
What to Expect From Your Personal Injury Lawyer
After your first meeting, your lawyer will begin his investigations into the matter. He may usually enlist the help of a private investigator. The evidence he will look at will include the following:
- Police reports of the accident
- Your medical records following the accident
- Eyewitness statements from the scene of the accident
- Any lost wages caused by injury from the accident
- Any paid and accrued medical bills due to the injury or trauma sustained
After the lawyer has gone through this evidence, with his advice, you will then propose an amount for settlement. If you have suffered a debilitating injury, it is good to consider that you will have lost wages for a good portion of time, probably even the majority of your life. The amount you propose should be higher than what you expect because the other party will always have a counter offer lower than your proposed amount. Be sure that the amount you finally settle on is your first proposed amount or one that is very close to it.
What to Expect From the Insurer
As you prepare your claims, the insurer will have already assigned your file to a claims manager. They will likely have an adjuster call you to offer a settlement amount. This amount is usually quite low, even before you can make out how much your claim is really worth. The adjuster will usually contact you before you have talked to a personal injury lawyer. It is advisable to ask the adjuster to talk to your lawyer, and route all negotiations through your lawyer since that is familiar territory for them.
The insurer will try to find any evidence pointing to your fault partly or wholly for the injury. Do not hide any important information from your lawyer because of this. The insurer will also look at the police report, witness statements and any photographic evidence available.
How Long Does It Take to Settle?
Various factors will affect the amount of time it will take to settle a claim. In the event that the case is clear-cut that the fault lies solely with the other party, compensation could take about a month from your first demand letter. Other factors, like the adjuster’s workload, the strength of your evidence and the viability of the claim, could drag out the process.
Ensure that your rights are protected by getting a reputable personal injury lawyer as soon as you can after your injury. Time is of the essence in this type of claim. Read more about personal injury lawyers on SK Law injury firm.