Step-by-Step Guide for Filing a San Antonio Personal Injury Claim
December 15, 2023 | Personal Injury
Filing a personal injury claim is a significant step in seeking compensation for the harm you’ve suffered due to another’s intentional actions or negligence. Such claims might arise from motor vehicle accidents, medical malpractice cases, or slip and fall incidents at poorly maintained premises. Essentially, any situation where injury results from someone’s negligent or intentional behavior can lead to a personal injury claim.
Understanding how to file your claim effectively and what steps you need to take to have the best chance at a successful claim is critical. Doing so can help you get the justice and compensation you need to focus on your recovery.
Seek Medical Attention
Securing medical care immediately after an accident or injury has occurred is not only critical for your well-being, but it’s also a necessary step for making a personal injury claim.
Whether you need to go to the emergency room immediately after the accident or see your primary care physician, getting checked out by a doctor is essential.
This early medical evaluation can assist in diagnosing and treating any injuries sustained during the incident, preventing further health complications that could arise otherwise. It establishes an official record of your injuries and prevents the defendant from alleging that you didn’t mitigate damages.
Gather Evidence at the Scene if Possible
If it’s possible and safe for you to do so, gathering evidence at the incident scene can be immensely beneficial in building your personal injury case.
This may include taking photos or videos of where the accident happened and any conditions that might have contributed to it. For example if you slipped in a supermarket due to a wet floor with no caution signs, taking pictures to illustrate the scene can be helpful.
Witness accounts can also enhance claims. Remember to get contact information for any individuals who saw what caused the accident or saw the accident itself.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer
Consulting an experienced personal injury lawyer is strongly recommended after you’ve been involved in a personal injury accident.
Because significant compensation can be obtained from the at-fault party, working with a legal professional to navigate each phase of your claim is essential to ensure you get what you need to focus on recovering. Their legal knowledge greatly increases your chances of achieving a favorable outcome for your claim.
Discuss the Case With Your Lawyer so They Can Collect Evidence
Once you’ve selected a reputable personal injury lawyer to guide you through the process, your attorney will discuss your case in-depth to fully understand what occurred.
They will then move into collecting evidence to build your claim. This may include obtaining your medical records, looking at the accident scene, speaking with witnesses, reviewing any police or accident reports, and anything else that might be relevant to your case.
Determine Liability and Who to File a Claim Against
Determining liability, or who is responsible for the accident leading to your injury, can be a complex process, depending on the details of your case.
Your attorney looks at all evidence to determine who is responsible for causing your accident and injuries. This is done by showing that the other party was negligent and caused your accident.
File Your Insurance Claim
Once you and your attorney have identified potential defendants, the next step is to file an insurance claim. Your lawyer will help you fill out the appropriate forms, and they will draft and send a demand letter detailing your injuries and the compensation you’re demanding.
Begin Settlement Negotiations
When the insurance company receives your claim and demand letter, they’ll likely respond with a counteroffer.
Your personal injury attorney will then negotiate on your behalf against the insurance company to reach an adequate settlement. This settlement agreement should cover your damages — from medical expenses to emotional distress caused by the accident.
Since insurers usually attempt to pay out as little as possible, working with a lawyer in this phase is essential to ensure you aren’t taken advantage of. You don’t want to accept a much lower settlement than you deserve. Working with a lawyer will help level the playing field.
File a Lawsuit
Suppose the insurance company refuses to offer a fair settlement. In that case, it may be necessary to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. Doing so can help you recoup your losses. Your attorney will guide you in this next stage by preparing and filing appropriate documents with the court, as they have extensive knowledge of the process.
Serve the Defendant
After the lawsuit is filed, the defendant is served with notice about the impending lawsuit. The defendant will then have a short response window. If they fail to respond, you may win your case by default.
Mediation assumes a critical role in the personal injury process. It involves a neutral third party, the mediator, who helps you and the opposing party reach a settlement. This can occur after initial settlement discussions and the lawsuit is filed but before it goes to court for trial.
The purpose is the same as before a lawsuit is filed – agree on satisfactory monetary compensation to avoid litigation.
Discovery is a crucial and in-depth stage of personal injury lawsuit proceedings. After filing your lawsuit, both parties must exchange information about each other’s legal claims and defenses.
This involves sharing documents, answering written questions known as interrogatories, and depositions involving recorded testimony from parties involved in the lawsuit. This information can be valuable in proving your case and gives you an idea of what to expect from the other party.
Trial preparation begins after discovery when all available evidence is assembled. During this time, each party will have opportunities for pre-trial motions that ask the court to rule on specific issues like admissibility of evidence.
This stage also involves the preparation of opening and closing statements, as well as questions for potential witnesses. The goal is to build a compelling case that effectively argues your claim and disputes any defenses the other party raises.
Litigation is the stage of a personal injury lawsuit where your case proceeds to trial if no settlement is reached. It can begin with selecting a jury, followed by presenting opening statements from both parties.
During litigation, evidence is presented, and witnesses are examined or cross-examined as each side makes its case. As the plaintiff, it’s your responsibility to demonstrate that it’s more likely than not that the defendant caused your injuries.
After all testimony has been given and evidence presented, both sides offer closing arguments. The jury then deliberates over all information provided before delivering their verdict – either ruling for or against you.
Should they rule in your favor, they decide fair compensation for the damages you suffered.
A Lawyer Can Guide You Through Your San Antonio Personal Injury Claim
Ultimately, understanding the stages of a personal injury claim empowers you to navigate the situation more confidently and potentially reach a successful resolution. Fortunately, you never have to do it alone. An experienced lawyer knows how to file a personal injury claim and will ensure you take the right steps.
Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm in San Antonio, TX
If you’ve been injured in an accident in San Antonio, Texas, and need legal help, contact our San Antonio personal injury lawyers at George Salinas Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation today.