If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, knowing what to expect when filing an insurance claim can be helpful. The most important thing to an insurance adjuster when deciding whether or not to approve the personal injury claim is the evidence the claimant provides.
There are four basic elements of a personal injury claim.
The Duty of Care
A person is responsible for an accident if they have neglected their duty of care. Duty of care is a legal term that means a person must act with the consideration and responsibility that a reasonable person would in the same position.
When a person gets a driver’s license, they have a duty of care to follow the rules of the road. When a person graduates from medical school and opens a practice as a doctor, they are expected to put their patient’s needs first and do them no harm.
There are some situations in which duty of care might be hard to prove. For example, if somebody saw a stranger’s child running into the street and they did not do anything to stop the child, there may be a discrepancy over whether or not the stranger had a duty of care.
Neglect of Duty
The point of a personal injury case is to prove that a person or business has neglected their duty of care. An attorney will establish this by presenting evidence, such as photographs of the accident, medical bills, and testimony from witnesses.
If you are suing a company, an attorney might also discuss a person’s general job duties. If it was an orderly’s job to clean equipment at a hospital and they did not, an injured person may sue that hospital for negligence or duty. If a store manager fails to have spills cleaned up in a timely fashion, they may be negligent.
An Injury Accident
To file a personal injury claim, a claimant must have sustained an injury. The patient’s medical bills will establish injuries. If you have been injured in an accident, it is important to present your attorney, the insurance company, and the courts with quantifiable proof of your injuries.
Proof of injuries would include everything from emergency room records to doctor bills. It would include reports from your physical therapist and bills from any kind of alternative treatments you have had, such as floatation or massage therapy.
Psychological injuries will have to be proven as well. You cannot just say that an accident has left you paranoid or with PTSD. You must get a note from a mental health professional. Testimony from friends and relatives also helps.
Causation is the major factor in any personal injury case. You must prove that the actions of the negligent party were the cause of the accident. For example, a person may have been speeding and hit a pedestrian. However, the pedestrian may have been walking on a street where pedestrians are not allowed. You would have to prove the pedestrian was walking in a permitted area and that the speeding caused the accident and injuries.
Causation is the main reason you need a lawyer to represent you in a personal injury case. They will be well-versed in what kind of evidence will be accepted to support causation and can subpoena records In a personal injury case, which can be invaluable.
For example, if you sue a doctor for malpractice, and that doctor wrote an email to another doctor indicating that he was guilty, an attorney could subpoena the email and use it as evidence in court. If you represent yourself, you will not be able to do that.
Choosing a Lawyer
According to personal injury attorney Scott J. Senft, You should look for a personal injury attorney with years of experience in Florida law. The attorney you select should have an excellent reputation with the Florida State Bar and be able to provide references from past clients.
Getting injured in an accident is one of the worst things that can happen to a person. If you and your attorney can prove the four elements of personal injury in your claim, you will get the compensation you deserve.