A personal injury is defined as a physical injury inflicted on a person, most often from a car accident or a defective product. At Ludlum Law Firm, we understand how seriously a personal injury can affect your ability to work and your wellbeing. That’s why it’s important to understand your options and choose the plan of action that best applies to your situation.
For this blog’s purposes, let’s say you were injured in a car accident that was caused by someone else. You’ve gone through hospital visits, medical bills and ongoing therapy. Your injuries are preventing you from working and the physical pain hasn’t gone away. What do you do? There are a few options to consider.
Make a Personal Injury Claim
A personal injury claim is an agreement between you and the at-fault driver’s insurance company. You’ll go through a claims process, which is a sequence of negotiations to find the best settlement payment that satisfies both parties. A claims adjuster investigates several factors of your case, including:
- Reviewing police reports
- Speaking with you and other witnesses
- Evaluating all evidence
- Reviewing medical charts and bills
- Determining damage to your car and estimating repair costs
In turn, you must support your case by providing the adjuster accurate information and proof of your injuries, medical bills and inability to return to work and earn an income. Once an agreement has been made, you’ll receive a release form to sign a check to cash. The claim is final and the courts won’t be involved in any way.
File a Personal Injury Lawsuit
If a settlement cannot be agreed on, then the next step is to file a personal injury lawsuit. Lawsuits generally happen when the insurance company’s claims adjuster denies their client was at fault or questions the severity of your injuries versus the amount of money you’re requesting.
Lawsuits can be costly with lengthy trials, so a negotiated settlement is often the best option. But, if your injuries are severe enough that the damage is permanent and changing the way you’re able to do daily activities, then you deserve a fair trial. Keep in mind that each state has their time limits for filing a lawsuit, also known as Statutes of Limitations. North Carolina’s Statute of Limitations breaks it down between negligent conduct, medical malpractice and products liability.
Consider an Arbitration
If your claim settlement falls through, but you don’t want to file a lawsuit, an arbitration is a less expensive alternative to consider. Both parties decide on a third party (arbitrator) that listens to both sides and decides on an outcome. Once a decision has been made, the verdict cannot be appealed.
When it comes to personal injury, our Sampson County and Duplin County attorneys are equipped with the experience and expertise to handle your case and make sure you’re able to make the best choices for yourself. If you feel uncertain about the laws or the process, we’re here to help. Contact our lawyers today to schedule a consultation.