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A Guide to Filing a Personal Injury Claim

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When you get hurt in an accident, you are faced with a lot of uncertainty and stress. So, stop – take a breath, and let us help. If you are injured in an accident, the process can be overwhelming. Still, there is nothing to worry about if you hire the correct accident attorney in Pennsylvania to guide you through filing your personal injury claim. 

If you have been injured in an accident because of someone else's negligence, you deserve compensation from the insurance company of the party who caused the accident. Insurance companies, however, are like most businesses and are constantly focused on increasing their bottom line. 

For this reason, insurers will attempt to limit their liability whenever possible. Too often, a settlement offer from an insurance company will be substantially lower than necessary to cover the injured person's medical bills, lost income from missed work, other injury-related losses, not to mention pain and suffering. Is there a secret to maximize recovery for a personal injury claim?

A personal injury lawyer who understands what an insurance company will do to lower the value of an injury claim going in can turn the odds in the client's favor by getting them to the right expert to evaluate their injury case. Therefore, having a personal injury lawyer who knows the game becomes crucial. This alone can mean the difference between a couple of thousand dollar settlement to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

How do I file a Personal Injury Claim?

The guide below explains how to pursue a personal injury claim in Pennsylvania, no matter if you were in a car accident, slip and fall, medical malpractice, or other accident. This walk-through will help you as you progress through this process, just as we work with you to get the compensation you deserve.

Collect Photographs, Evidence, and Contact The Authorities:

Take pictures of your injuries and the accident scene or product that injured you. Photograph several angles and keep anything you receive, such as witnesses' names and phone numbers. Call the police if you have been in a car accident or the building administrator if you were injured at your office or a place of business.

Contact an Attorney: 

It is essential to contact an attorney as soon as possible after an accident. All personal injury consultation with our attorneys is free. This is where we look at the circumstances surrounding your injury and determine if you have a viable case. Remember – do not talk to the other party's insurance adjuster without first speaking to your attorney for advice and guidance.

Be Diligent in Your Medical Treatment: 

If you are hurt, get to the hospital or see a doctor. Moreover, make sure you follow the doctor's orders related to your treatment. This can include being sent for diagnostic testing like x-rays, MRIs, emg's, and physical therapy. If the doctor sends you for these tests, there is a reason to diagnose and treat your injury correctly.

Keep Notes and All Information Related to the Personal Injury Claim: 

It may seem a pain to keep track of your pain and medical treatment, but these notes can be the difference between a small settlement and a significant cause. Note all of the medical treatments you receive and follow any orders your physician gives you. Hold on to your insurance explanation of benefits, medical bills and receipts, police reports, and any other information, even if you don't think it may not be relevant.

Help Your Attorney Prepare Your Personal Injury Claim:

  1. Keep documenting your injury. If this can be done through photos or video, do so.
  2. Keep all outstanding medical bills related to your injury. Your attorney will ask for your photos, videos, notes, bills, and papers related to the case.
  3. Present them to your attorney as requested so that they can build your case.

Demand Packet to the Insurance Company:

This demand packet is composed by your attorney, discussed with you is to compensate you for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and property loss. Typically, there will be several rounds of offers and counteroffers before you either reach a settlement or pursue legal action. As attorneys, we are bound by the Pennsylvania Rules of Professional Conduct to present all settlement offers to our clients. You will get our opinion on the offer, but the choice to accept is yours.

Reject the Offer and Proceed to Trial:

Rejecting a low-ball settlement offer and filing a lawsuit can provide the type of leverage needed to move the insurance company to a fair settlement offer. Then, we will prepare your injury case for trial, letting the jury (or judge) decide on the proper compensation for your injuries.

The Discovery Process: 

During discovery, both parties collect and present Evidence, respond to interrogatories (questions on paper), and request Evidence. Depositions by the plaintiff, defendant, and witnesses are given with a court reporter present. Evidence is gathered by both sides to put forth their case at trial – this phase can be slow but is often where personal injury cases are won.

Modified Comparative Negligence: 

In Pennsylvania, if you are partially at fault in the accident, your damages can be reduced by a percentage based on the amount of fault. But, again, this is something our attorneys will consider and discuss in the initial consultation, all the way through trial.

Trial: 

The trial process begins with jury selection, or if it's a bench trial, a judge will oversee the problem. Both sides make opening statements, and then the jury considers your claim and any counterclaim. Ultimately the jury then responds with their ruling, and hopefully a lot of money for our client. Remember, sometimes injury cases settle just before the court date because the insurance company wants to avoid the jury result, something they cannot control.

Ways to Maximize Your Personal Injury Claim

There are also ways to negotiate with an insurance company that has offered an inadequate settlement. An experienced personal injury attorney has many tools to prove that you deserve more than the initial offer and one important tool is the use of expert witnesses. 

Expert witnesses can analyze your situation and present their findings to the insurer to demonstrate that you truly deserve the total amount of your claim. The following are some expert witnesses that are commonly used in personal injury matters:

  • Medical professionals and specialists testify to your injuries' nature, cause, extent, and all treatments needed.
  • Occupational specialists to analyze your work-related capabilities after your injuries.
  • Accident reconstruction professionals testify that the other party was negligent in causing the accident and that you did not contribute to the cause.

Expert witnesses can play a critical role in a personal injury claim as they can support your allegations regarding your injury-related losses so that you can receive the maximum amount of compensation available in your case. Although expert witnesses get paid for their role in your case, their technical testimony can significantly increase your insurance award. 

Contact an Experienced Attorney to Handle Your Personal Injury Claim

A skilled personal injury lawyer will be able to evaluate your situation and advise you whether using an expert may be worth it in your case.

The team of experts we use, whether a doctor, engineer, accident reconstructionist, economics, or otherwise, are some of the most well-respected professionals in their field. Their evaluation of the claim, expert reports that they write, and often testimony at trial carry a great deal of weight and help us maximize recovery for our injury clients. 

These ten steps to pursue a personal injury claim in Pennsylvania are a general walk-through of the process. However, every case comes with its own set of complexities, and that is precisely why you need an attorney to guide you. 

If you have been injured in an accident in Pennsylvania, we can help! Our team of Personal Injury Lawyers understands the process. We will help you avoid the pitfalls and ultimately work to get you top dollar for your injuries. Contact us at 215-939-4895 for your free consultation.

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