A personal injury (PI) claim is a lawsuit you may choose to initiate in cases where an accident results to injuries, especially one that is not your fault. It is basically a civil case that seeks recovery of all medical and related expenses due to the accident, from the one who caused it.
A PI claim is normally filed when accidents occur, such as vehicular mishaps, where individuals get hurt. This article intends to guide you on how to commence such a claim. The following tips on how to start a PI claim after a car crash will help you prepare for your PI lawsuit and increase the odds of winning it.
Tip#1: Get the Information of the Other Party in the Accident
It is vital to write down all the relevant details of the accident while in the scene instead of relying on your memory. The most important details you should get are the information about the other party in the accident, mainly for use in the PI claim you intend to file.
Some of the significant information you should list down are as follows:
- Name and contact number of other driver;
- Name and contact details of driver’s insurer;
- Plate number, model, color and type of the car of the other party;
- License number of the other driver;
- Names and contact number of witnesses in the scene;
- Location and other important details about the accident.
It would also be helpful to get photos of the injuries and the cars involved in the accident, taken from all angles. A police report may be prepared upon police investigation. A copy of the report should also be obtained.
Tip#2: Evaluate How Much Your PI Claim is Worth
Before starting the claim, it is advantageous that you first evaluate how much your claim for personal injury should be worth. This will prepare you in case there are settlement negotiations and offers are made. You will immediately determine if an offer is worth accepting or not.
When considering the value of the claim, what you should determine are the damages caused to you by the injury you incurred, namely, monetary, mental and physical damages. Compensatory damages are the most typical types of award given to the injured plaintiff in a PI claim.
However, in cases where the conduct of the person who caused the accident or the defendant is too careless, the court may also add punitive damages to the award. Some of the examples of the compensatory damages are as follows:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
- Loss of property
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium and loss of enjoyment
Given the foregoing damages that you may consider given your own situation, you will somehow get an idea of the value of settlement that will make you satisfied. What is important is that you get compensated for the effects of the injury you acquired due to the accident.
Tip#3: Prepare a Demand Letter
Once you are armed with all the important documents and proofs that will support your claim and you have in mind the value of the claim that will satisfy you, you may start drafting a demand letter addressed to the other party or his insurer.
This letter needs to be concise and straight to the point but complete with all the relevant information that will help you gain a successful claim.
Aside from listing down all expenses incurred related to your injury from the accident, it is necessary that all statement you made in the letter be well-supported with official documents as proofs. Some of these documentations are as follows:
- Police report;
- Photos of the injury;
- Medical bills/receipts;
- Medical documents, e.g., tests, x-rays, etc.
Be sure to include in your demand letter all significant information and end it with the value of the claim you are demanding to obtain.
Tip#4: Seek Help from a PI Attorney
Given that a PI claim is a legal endeavor that necessitates prior preparation of pertinent documents, and basically carries with it the risk of being unsuccessful, it can be considered a wise investment to hire a personal injury attorney to handle the claim.
The odds of winning your claim and obtain a satisfactory settlement is higher with a highly experience attorney assisting you throughout the proceedings.