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In certain accident cases, it’s actually not ideal to pursue the matter in court legally. This can happen where the affected party is partially to blame for the accident or if the claim does not include some damage to the vehicle.
Similarly, if the nature of personal injuries received in an accident is minor, they cannot be claimed in court either. For most other types of accident cases however, a person can claim compensation in court for personal injuries received or damage to the vehicle or personal property.
Making An Injury Claim
Before anything else happens, you or your attorney sends a demand letter to the insurance company or liable parties – it’s highly recommended that an experienced lawyer handle this for you. You can’t file a lawsuit for an injury until your demand or request for compensation has been declined. Typically an insurance company will either accept the claim, counter offer, or deny the claim altogether. In some cases, a demand letter is ignored as a strategy from the claims department in the hopes that you will go away or forget. If your claim is denied, or you can’t agree on a settlement the next step is a lawsuit, however negotiations may continue all the way through trial if your case makes it that far.
Determining Liability in a Personal Injury Case
One of the first questions to resolve in an accident claim is to determine the liability of the parties involved. The person or company that is considered responsible for causing the accident is usually considered liable to compensate the other parties.
The responsibility could be assigned to the one of the drivers, the vehicle manufacturer or any other party that may have caused disruptions to traffic that led to the accident. If it is determined that no parties is directly responsible for the accident, the claim may be compensated through the insurance company of one or both drivers involved.
Witnesses and Evidence
The court will consider any witness accounts and legal evidence presented to the court for determination of responsibility and liability. Police accident reports and surveillance camera recordings are often used to arrive a conclusion. The court uses the following sources to determine liability:
- Photos of physical damage to the car or any other property
- Position of vehicles after the accident
- Police reports
- Medical reports
- Car accident reconstruction experts’ reports
- Forensic evidence
- Witness statements
- Video footage
- The Value of Damage
The party that is held liable for the accident and damage is ordered by the courts to compensate the affected party. The value of compensation is determined based on the loss of property or cost to repair the damage received due to the accident.
In case of a personal injury, the courts may also order the party responsible to compensate the affected person for medical expenses, loss of earnings and any other damages. The court will consider medical expense bills and employer testimony to appraise the value of compensation that should be paid.
Whenever you are trying to recover money for any damages to your vehicle, or claiming medical expenses for any past or future medical expenses, it is always a good idea to show the judge several estimates for cost of repairs, hospital bills or loss of earnings.
Most plaintiffs bring estimates from three or four different car repair shops or hospitals. Multiple estimates help the judge in easily concluding the total cost of damages and ordering the defendant to pay an exact amount of compensation to the affected party.
Working with an Injury Lawyer
Take the time necessary to make a good choice when deciding on an attorney. An experience injury lawyer can make the claims compensation process much easier and faster. Your attorney will gather all the necessary evidence for you and present them to the claims adjuster or as evidence in court if your case goes to trial. Your attorney can also help negotiate with the insurance company, car manufacturer or any other party deemed responsible or liable for the accident. A good, experienced injury attorney can also significantly increase the amount you can receive in compensation.