To the person who is injured, a personal injury case is anything but typical. For many people, their first experience with the injury claims process is because of an accident, such as a car accident or a fall. They are unsure what to expect as they file their insurance claim and wait for an insurance adjuster to decide what the claim is worth. While some claims are simple, many personal injury cases are complicated, and victims can benefit from the assistance of an Arkansas personal injury attorney.
What Should I Expect When I File a Personal Injury Claim?
Most personal injury cases begin when the victim files an insurance claim with the other party’s insurance provider. For example, after a car accident, the injured parties file an insurance claim with the other driver’s insurance company. The insurance company assigns an adjuster to evaluate the claim. For claims involving traumatic injuries or complex issues, the insurance company might also assign a claims investigator or other professionals to work on the claim.
The claims adjuster investigates the claim, assesses liability, gathers information about damages, and calculates a value for the claim. If the insurance company accepts that its insured was responsible for causing the injury, it may issue a settlement offer to the victim. The victim can accept the offer and the case is closed, or the victim can deny the offer and pursue other options for recovering compensation for damages, such as negotiating a higher settlement amount or pursuing legal action.
Things to Be Aware of During a Personal Injury Case
The review above is a simple version of how a personal injury case may proceed. If the case involves traumatic or severe injuries, multiple parties, or disputed liability, it is best to seek the advice of an attorney as soon as possible. Insurance companies try to limit their liability. They want to pay as little as possible for a claim. Therefore, they use various tactics to undervalue claims or deny valid claims. Some things you should be aware of if you are handling your claim without an attorney include:
- Anything you say could be used to harm your claim. Insurance adjusters may push you to make a recorded statement or provide a written statement. The statement is designed to gather information the company can use against you and also lock you into a version of the accident that could be used against you in court if your testimony is different from your initial statement.
- If you sign a medical release form, the insurance company may access your entire medical history unless you limit the access to records related to the accident. The insurance company would like access to your entire medical history to search for pre-existing conditions that it can argue caused your current condition or made your injuries worse.
- The first settlement offer by an insurance adjuster is typically lower than the actual value of the claim. You have the right to negotiate a higher amount, but the adjuster might tell you that negotiating is not going to help or that it could hurt your claim.
- A quick settlement may be intended to avoid paying a higher settlement amount. If you settle your claim before you complete medical treatment, you cannot file another claim for additional damages. The insurance company may be attempting to get rid of your claim before you understand the full extent of your injuries.
Contact an Arkansas Personal Injury Attorney for a Free Case Review
Personal injury cases are about people. They are about physical injuries, emotional distress, and financial damages. They are about the suffering caused by negligent, reckless, and careless individuals. They are not just about money, but insurance companies often focus more on the money than on the individual. Contact personal injury attorney Bryce Cook today for a consultation. We help accident victims seek the compensation they deserve after being injured. Before you settle a claim, talk to an attorney to ensure that you are being treated fairly and receiving just compensation for your personal injury claim.