If you've been injured because of another party's negligence, the court system allows you to seek compensation by filing a personal injury claim. This is a complex legal process, and if you have never gone through it, understanding the different aspects can be challenging. To help you understand your rights and options, here are answers to common questions that people have about pursuing this type of claim.
What You Need to Know About Personal Injury Claims
What is the process?
The first step is to receive prompt medical treatment for any injuries. This prioritizes your health and safety and documents the accident in medical records, which supports the claim. The next stop is to file an insurance claim against the at-fault party's insurer. If you have not yet done so, hiring a personal injury attorney to represent you is recommended at this step, as the process can be confusing. Securing legal representation is useful because they can negotiate settlements with the other party and their insurer. If you cannot reach a settlement, your lawyer will file a lawsuit.
Is there a deadline to file a claim?
Yes. The statute of limitations in Missouri is five years, which means you have five years from the date of the injury to file a legal claim in civil court. If you file even one day after the five-year mark, a judge can dismiss the claim, preventing you from seeking compensation for the injury.
How can I build a strong claim?
A strong claim is one that provides solid evidence of the injuries and the other party's role in those injuries. Explain all injuries and pain levels in detail to your medical providers so that they can document everything accurately in your records; these records can back up the information provided in the claim. If possible, take photos or video of the accident scene and the injuries you experienced. If there were witnesses, have them give sworn statements about what they saw. Also, always get copies of police and accident reports, as these documents can help establish fault.
What damages can I pursue?
While every claim is different, there are some damages that are more common in personal injury cases, such as payment for medical care and lost wages. You can also request compensation for noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering and loss of consortium or companionship. Working with an attorney is the best way to ensure you seek all relevant damages.
When you need a personal injury lawyer, contact Allen, Nelson & Wilson. With offices in Springfield and Columbia, MO, these attorneys have more than 60 years of combined experience. They represent clients in injury, workers' compensation, and Social Security Disability claims. Call (573) 441-2667 to reach their Columbia office, and dial (888) 549-2667 to reach their Springfield location. Visit them online to browse their services.