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Starting a Personal Injury Claim

The time period after you have been injured in either a slip and fall or a car accident can be both confusing and stressful. First and foremost, you should look after your health and get the medical attention you require. When you're ready, you can begin thinking about pursuing a personal injury claim for your injuries. Here are some frequently asked questions about the first steps in pursuing a personal injury claim.

I was hurt in an accident. How do I start a personal injury claim?

After taking care to prioritize your well-being, there are a number of steps that you can take that will help preserve your right to file a claim for your personal injuries. These steps are valid in most situations and there is no "right" order to take (note: if the claim to be filed is against the government or a government agency you can learn about how to proceed at our injury claims against the government page).

  • Collect evidence, such as photographs and videos, that can point to who caused the accident, as well as the damage sustained as a result.
  • Write down everything that has happened to you after the accident. This may include things like medical bills, hospital visits, any lost work/wages, etc.
  • Be sure to get the names and contact information of any witnesses that may have observed the accident (and obtain a copy of the police report, if applicable). Contact these people to confirm their information is correct.
  • Try to obtain the insurance information or policy coverage related to any party involved in your accident, such as a supermarket's liability insurance (in a slip and fall case) or a driver's accident coverage (in a traffic collision).

How long do I have to notify a person that I am filing a claim for my personal injury?

Unless you are suing a government agency, you have no duty to notify a potential defendant that you intend on suing them. However, in some cases informing a private person or company that you intend on escalating the matter by filing a lawsuit may incentivize the prospective defendant to settle with you more quickly. When it comes to making your intentions clear to the other party you will probably increase your chances of resolving your claim by acting quickly and efficiently, rather than if you delay.

Keep in mind that even if you notify people of your intent to file a lawsuit, this does not make it a legal requirement that you follow through on actually filing. However, it is important that you do inform an adverse party that you have been injured as a result of their actions. By notifying the other involved parties you can ensure that negotiations regarding settlement and/or arbitration can proceed at a pace you are comfortable with.

Is there a time limit in which I have to file my lawsuit to be compensated for my injuries?

Yes, there is a time limit involved. Settling a personal injury claim can be time consuming and if you fail to file your claim in a timely manner, you may find yourself denied from collecting any sort of compensation. There are laws on the books called a "statute of limitations" that give the maximum time (sometimes as little as one year from the date of injury) you have for starting a personal injury claim. If this period expires, you may be barred from ever bringing suit to recover for your injuries. You should always check on your state's statute of limitations for your type of claim to ensure that the time period does not pass you by.

How soon do I have to file a claim against the government for my personal injury?

As mentioned above, filing a claim against the government, a government agency, or a government employee differs from filing against a company or a private citizen and usually has a shorter time period for you to initiate your claim. Depending upon your type of case and the state you live in, this period usually ranges between 30 days and one year. If you do not abide by these timelines, you may lose your right to recover any sort of compensation for your injuries and/or property damage.

Starting a personal injury claim? Consider an attorney

Injuries can be disruptive, complicating your life with medical bills, time away from work, and personal pain and suffering. Filing an injury claim, if caused by someone else's negligence or intent, can help to bring balance and stability back. Hiring an experienced attorney will aid with discovery, arranging for witnesses, filing the necessary paperwork, and advocating on your behalf. Learn more about finding a local injury attorney today.

You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help

Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.

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