Whether you were involved in an automobile accident or slipped and fell at a local eatery or retailer, you may be able to file a personal injury claim. The claim can help pay for your medical care, which is important if you have suffered injuries that affect your quality of life and life satisfaction.
Additionally, if your injuries prevent you from working, compensation is even more important. Especially, if you can’t pay for health care. Of course, the claim filing process is stressful and overwhelming. However, winning a personal injury case brings valuable compensation.
This guide and an attorney will help you navigate the process of filing a personal injury lawsuit.
1. Do Not Wait
When filing a personal injury case, you need to know about a statute of limitations. The statute of limitations ranges from one to six years depending on your state.
In Iowa, you have a two-year statute of limitations for filing a personal injury case. This means you have two years from the date of the accident/injury to file a lawsuit.
If you feel that you have the time to file a case, you should start the process as soon as possible.
2. Secure Legal Help
Legal help is important for a few reasons. An experienced personal injury lawyer has the knowledge required to successfully navigate a lawsuit. In addition, their skills can help you receive more compensation.
Recent surveys showed that the average amount of compensation for personal injury lawsuits was $17,600 for individuals who filed the claim on their own. For individuals who hired attorneys to work on their case, the average compensation was $77,600.
Remember that higher settlements equal more money to not only pay your medical bills, but also to pay basic living expenses if you have lost time at work because of your accident or injury. Although higher settlements are not guaranteed, you should make the worthwhile investment and hire an attorney to help you handle your case.
3. Gather Evidence
You will also need to gather a good amount of documentation and evidence to support your personal injury claim. Another benefit of hiring an attorney is that they will help you understand and gather evidence in some cases.
Examples of documentation you will need to show your attorney include medical records that show the extent of your injuries and how the injuries have affected your ability to work and quality of life. Also, you will need proof of treatment.
Evidence from the accident scene is also essential for building a personal injury lawsuit. If you were involved in an automobile accident, collect a copy of the police report.
If you were injured in a public place, such as a restaurant or store, you and your attorney can work to gather evidence from security cameras. Photographs of the accident scene and accounts from witnesses who saw the accident occur can be extremely helpful.
If you were injured at work due to your working conditions, you should fill out an incident report.
4. Be Patient
Even though you may experience physical, emotional, and financial distress because of your injury, you need to remain calm and be patient through the process. Work with your attorney to file your case against the responsible parties.
Here’s what usually happens after a case begins:
Insurance companies will attempt to settle the case, offering you a specific sum of money to avoid trial. You can accept the offer, but your attorney can help you negotiate a higher sum, especially if the first offer was not sufficient to cover your medical care. An estimated 95 to 96 percent of all claims are settled pretrial.
If you choose not to accept the settlement offers, your case will go through a trial process. This process can increase time and court/legal fees, so you need to decide whether or not settling out of court is the right option for you.
Visit Galligan Law in Downtown Des Moines, Iowa
Our experience in this area of law helps us tackle various legal issues as we represent clients. Come visit our office in Des Moines, located across the street from Cowles Commons and around the corner from Des Moines’ Downtown Farmers’ Market.
For assistance with your personal injury case, contact Galligan Law Firm today for legal advice in Des Moines, Iowa.