Navigating a personal injury claim can be daunting but our experienced personal injury attorneys are ready to assist you. Below, our personal injury lawyers break down the injury claim process into detailed steps. This article will cover:
- What to do Before Filing a Personal Injury Claim
- How the Pennsylvania Personal Injury Claim Process Works
- Statute of Limitations for Filing a Personal Injury Claim
Before Filing a Personal Injury Claim
Report the Incident to the Police
Everything begins at the scene of the accident. It’s critical to report the incident to the Pittsburgh Police immediately. A police report will contain important information that will be relevant to your case. Whether you were involved in a car accident, or injured on the job, make sure the accident is documented.
Be sure to document the incident by taking photos or videos of the scene, noting down the details of what happened, and gathering witness contact information.
Seek Immediate Medical Attention
After you or a loved one is injured, seek medical attention immediately following the accident. Some injuries might not show symptoms right away, but they may manifest later. A swift medical examination will create an official record of your injuries that will serve as crucial evidence when filing an injury claim.
How the Pennsylvania Personal Injury Claim Process Works
It would be wise to consult a personal injury lawyer as soon after your accident as possible. Personal injury attorneys understand the relevant laws that determine your potential compensation as well as complexities surrounding personal injury claims. A personal injury lawyer will explain your rights, provide legal advice and possible legal strategies, to get the best course of action specific to your situation. They’ll interpret complex legal jargon and procedures, ensuring you understand every aspect of your case.
Investigation and Evidence Gathering
A skilled injury attorney will thoroughly investigate your claim. This process involves collecting and preserving evidence, interviewing witnesses, gathering and reviewing medical records, and collaborating with economic and medical professionals to understand the extent of your injuries and their impact on your life. They may also employ accident reconstruction experts and / or medical professionals to substantiate your claim.
Settlement Negotiations with the Insurance Company
The negotiation begins once the insurance company responds to your claim. Insurance companies aim to settle claims for as little money as possible. A skilled personal injury lawyer will know how to deal with insurance adjusters and fight for fair compensation that adequately compensates you the amount of damages the at-fault party owes.
Once your attorney has collected all of the necessary information, they will prepare and submit a personal injury claim and a demand letter on your behalf to the at-fault party’s insurance company. This claim will include an outline of your personal injury damages such as lost income, property damage, and medical expenses.
If negotiations fail and you reject the settlement offer because a fair settlement cannot be reached, your lawyer will file a personal injury lawsuit. At this point, your claim moves from the insurance claim process into the civil court system.
Filing Your Personal Injury Claim
Discovery Process and Pretrial Motions
Both sides enter the discovery phase of a case after a lawsuit is filed, wherein they exchange evidence and information such as interrogatories and taking depositions. Your lawyer and the defendant’s lawyer will also prepare pretrial motions, to shape the upcoming trial.
Going to Trial
If a settlement is not agreed upon during the pre-litigation phase, your case will proceed to court, where the facts will be presented before a judge or jury. They will then decide the outcome of the case. It is possible however, that your case is being litigated, a settlement may be reached before your case goes to trial.
Judgment and Collection
If you win the case, or reach a settlement, the defendant must compensate you. Your lawyer will assist in collecting the funds and ensuring you receive the awarded compensation.
Statute of Limitations for Filing a Personal Injury Claim in Pittsburgh
In Pennsylvania, you may lose your right to sue if you don’t file a lawsuit within the legally required timeframe – generally two years from the date of the incident that caused your injuries. While this deadline is strict, some exceptions may apply, especially when injuries aren’t discovered immediately.
The Pittsburgh personal injury lawyers of SMT Legal understand the complexity of pursuing a personal injury claims and winning personal injury lawsuits. Contact the injury lawyers at SMT Legal today to schedule your initial consultation and get a free case evaluation today.