Personal Injury Claim Process Overview
Pursuing a Missouri personal injury claim varies greatly from case to case. Some cases are appropriate for settlement, while others must be tried to a community jury. There are many factors which must be ascertained and considered before determining whether or not a particular case is appropriate for trial or settlement. A basic overview of the personal injury claim process will assist in this analysis.
After an individual suffers an injury through the negligent or reckless conduct of another, the personal injury claim process begins. This process is generally initiated by an attorney for the injured victim notifying the negligent party’s insurance company of a personal injury claim. Following any accident in which a person is injured and property is damaged or destroyed, two claims arise side by side. There is a personal injury claim, along with a property damage claim. The personal injury side of the claim seeks reimbursement for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages associated with the physical injury the person sustained. The property damage claim seeks reimbursement for all property damage incurred, such as vehicle damage, personal effects, equipment, etc.
It is important for an injury victim to understand one basic truth of the personal injury claim process. If the person who caused the harm has liability insurance covering the negligent conduct, their insurance company will immediately dedicate enormous resources to work against your interests. Injury victims need to realize that insurance companies make their profits in one manner only: They must collect more insurance premiums than they give out to injured victims. Arguments as to whether a company with this great of a responsibility should operate for such a large profit aside, insurance companies have perfected their claim denial abilities to a point which enables them to churn billion dollar of profits every year. Following an accident, the large insurance corporations will immediately attempt to obtain recorded statements from the victim, despite whether they are represented by an attorney, medicated, or unsure of the extent of their current injury. The insurance company will then later attempt to use portions of these statements to deny coverage to the individual based on a statement made before they had even had the opportunity to consult with medical professionals. From a claim process perspective, injury victims must be aware of the initial tactics employed by the insurance company for the negligent party. Again, the insurance company has an interest in denying valid claims to produce more revenue for their shareholders. Do not speak to anyone following an accident until you have consulted with a injury attorney.
Following the initial claim submission, the investigation and treatment phase begins. At this point, all parties are investigating the facts of the crash and the subsequent injuries. Among the numerous events all occurring simultaneously at this point, motor vehicle damage estimates are obtained, victims seek medical attention to repair their physical injuries, future medical treatment is discussed, accident photos are taken, vehicles are inspected for mechanical defects, driving histories are obtained, etc. An injured victim should be aware at this point that while the are often unable to investigate their case due to their injury, the large resources of the insurance companies are at work gathering evidence while it is fresh. This evidence will not be offered willingly to the injured party when they complete treatment and are physically able to begin their investigation. If you disagree, I encourage you request all evidence obtained by the insurance company related to your accident. Not only will they not produce any, they will want you to sign various forms for them to investigate the matter in more detail. For this reason, it is imperative that following an accident, you retain a Missouri injury lawyer to gather evidence on your behalf before it is lost or destroyed. Retaining a personal injury lawyer will also allow the injured party to focus solely on their recovery process knowing that someone has their best interests in mind.
It is important to remember that once you settle your personal injury case, you are forever barred from future reimbursement for your injuries related to that particular accident. The next phase of the claim process begins when the injured party has fully healed from their injuries and has been released from treatment with their medical professionals. Due the fact that settlement forever releases the other party from any future liability, an injured party must be certain they are fully healed and all injuries are properly documented. At this point, a personal injury lawyer will gather all remaining evidence related to the case and begin the negotiation process with the insurance company for the at fault party. This is typically the point where it becomes known whether the insurance company is willing to offer an injured victim full reimbursement for their harms and losses. The case is appropriate for settlement if the injured party receives full reimbursement for their medical bills, lost wages, future related medical treatment, and all other appropriate damages under Missouri law. If the insurance company refuses to fully assume responsibility for their negligent insured, as is increasingly the case with pressure for more profit, injury victims have the legal right to have their circumstances evaluated by a jury from their local community. Local juries have the opportunity to ‘level’ the playing field and hold large insurance corporations fully responsible for the harm their insured has inflicted. After all, their insured has paid premiums for years expecting their insurance company will cover them if they cause an accident.
Please note that the above overview is a highly abbreviated outline of the injury claim process. Many cases involve circumstances in which it is advised that the case be immediately filed and taken to Court. It is impossible to cover all the various situations which dictate special case need. The most important piece of advise is to immediately contact a lawyer for personal injuries following an accident. Immediately retaining an attorney provides for the prompt preservation of evidence, along with a counter force against the resources of large national insurance corporations. If you have been injured in any type of Missouri accident, or are in need of information related to a Missouri personal injury, please contact Accident attorney Chris Dixon at 1.314.409.7060. We look forward to providing assistance.