How Do I Sue For Personal Injury Damages?
If you have been injured in an accident, you may want to get compensation for your loss from the responsible party. Knowing where to start can be difficult. You do not have to be a lawyer to pursue a personal injury claim, although it helps to have one. One important fact to know is that 90 percent of personal injury claims are settled out of court. The first step is not to go to the courthouse.
1. Go to the doctor.
The first thing you should do after an accident, counsel or no counsel is go to a doctor. We recommend that clients be seen in an emergency room, urgent care facility, or by a primary care physician the same day as the accident.
The basis of any personal injury damage award is the injuries suffered by the plaintiff. You will only know the extent of your injuries and the cost of your medical care after you have received medical treatment.
2. Check the statute of limitations.
In order to avoid a lawsuit, you must settle your case before the statute of limitations runs out. In Utah, the statute of limitations for negligence is four years from the day of the accident. That means that you must completely all the steps in this list within four years. If almost four years have passed, you had better file a complaint in the court system. You can find forms on your state courts’ website.
3. Gather evidence and records.
Once you have determined whether or not you have time to pursue your case without filing a complaint, you need to build your case. Winning personal injury cases are built on evidence. You must prove that the other party owes you a duty of care and that they breached it. You must also show that that breach was the cause of your injuries.
You will need police reports, accident reports, witness statements, photographs, and any other documents you can find regarding your case. You also need all of your medical records and bills.
4. Write a demand letter to the other party’s insurance company.
Once you have gathered your evidence, you need to present it to the other party or their insurance company. You will write a letter, detailing the accident, your injuries, and your demands for damages. Use the letter to explain how the other party is at fault for the accident. It is advisable to add a deadline for reply to your letter. Insurance companies usually have thirty days to respond.
Next, send this letter and all of your documentary evidence off to the opposing party and wait for a response.
5. Negotiate of Litigate
If the opposing party responds to your letter you may be able to negotiate a settlement where they reimburse you for your medical expenses and property damage. If you do not receive a reply, you will have to file a claim in district court.