What is an Injury Claim?

What is an Injury Claim

An injury claim is a legal route for an injured plaintiff to receive compensation for someone else’s negligent or intentional acts that cause the plaintiff harm. Personal injury cases come in a variety of situations, although not every case will lead to a liable party.

The most common personal injury case are car accident cases, where one party is injured because another party was not respecting the rules of the road. However, less common are medical malpractice cases, where a patient believes the doctor or other health care professional has failed to provide reasonable levels of care. Other accidental injury claims can include slip and fall cases, defamation with libel and slander, or dog bite cases.

Injury claims do not have to be accidental damages either, as assault and battery can also lead to a personal injury claim, as one party injures another with intent. While these cases are also criminal cases, the victim can still file a personal injury lawsuit.

Steps to take when filing a claim

Information is quintessential to backing up your claim, so be sure to gather and preserve as much information related to your case such as:

  • Your medical records
  • Photographs of your injury
  • Photographs of the location of the accident
  • Testimonies from witnesses

Write down the details as soon as possible after an accident, memory isn’t infallible, and having concrete documentation of your injury can help substantiate your claim. Be sure to take photographs of your injury and the location if possible.   

Before engaging in any legal recourse with the parties involved, consider hiring an attorney. Attorneys are trained to navigate the law on your behalf and give you an initial consultation to discuss the merit of your case, outline your legal options, and assist you with properly filing your personal injury claim.

Additionally, it’s important to notify the involved parties that may be responsible for the accident. After determining the parties that might be responsible for your accident, you’ll want to write a letter of notification to said parties. This must be delivered as soon as possible, to ensure they cannot say the claim has unfairly surprised them.

Your window of opportunity to file a claim can vary depending on where you live, however most states have a “discovery rule” exception. What this means is that your window of opportunity to file the claim doesn’t start until you, the defendant, realize that you have been injured or what the cause of harm is.

 

The Value of a Claim

The amount of compensation a claim is worth is dependant on the type of liability insurance the party liable for the accident has opted in to. Typically you can be compensated for the following:

  • Medical care and related expense
  • Lost income due to the accident
  • Permanent physical disability or disfigurement
  • Loss of social, family, educational experiences such as training, classes, vacation or special events.
  • Emotional damages like stress, depression, embarrassment or family relationships
  • Damaged property and personal belongings.

While it’s very easy to add the concrete items up, such as medical care and damaged property, there’s no explicit formula for the abstract losses one may suffer.  After the insurance adjuster adds up the medical and physical costs, they will figure out how much the injured person is owed for their pain, suffering and other nonmonetary losses. These will typically be called “general” damages. 

Minor injuries will have smaller multipliers for the general damages, around 1.5 to 2 times the value of the medical and physical damages. However, more severe and long-lasting injuries can get a multiplier of up to 5 times.  When the injury is incredibly extreme, this multiplier can be as great as 10 times the medical and physical damages.   Then the adjuster will estimate how much the other party is as fault, as a percentage. The rough estimate of your comparative fault is the amount by with the damages will be reduced. For example, if you were partly to blame for the accident due to your own personal negligence, the claim value would be reduced by 10 to 15 percent.

 

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