When a person acts recklessly or carelessly and causes injury to another person, they are said to have acted negligently. Accidents can happen in a number of ways including car crashes, slip and fall injuries, and dog bites, to name a few. If you were injured as a result of another person’s negligence, you may be able to hold them legally responsible for your damages by filing a personal injury insurance claim. While this may sound straightforward, things can get complicated when disagreements exist on how an injury was caused or how the victim has been affected. Below our blog outlines the process and requirements for filing a personal injury claim.
In order to be successful in your case, it must be shown that:
- A duty of care was owed: When you are in public, you have a reasonable expectation that the actions of another person will not harm you. For example, if you enter a store, the owner has a duty of care to provide customers with a hazard-free environment.
- The defendant acted negligently: Not all injuries which occur will constitute a claim. The accused party must have disregarded their duty of care by acting negligently. In the case of a car accident, if a person drinks and drives, they can be found to have acted negligently.
- The actions led to your injury: While it might make logical sense you received injuries as the result of an accident, in order to collect damages through the claims process or in court, you will need to prove that your specific injuries were a direct result of the accident.
- You suffered specific damages: Communicating exactly how an accident affected you can play a vital role in determining the value of a claim. Damages can include things such as the pain you have suffered, the destruction of your car, and the medical bills you will have to pay.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim
Seeking monetary compensation for the damages you suffered in an accident often begins with filing a personal injury claim with the at-fault party’s insurance. Here, an insurance claims adjuster will be assigned to your case to determine if (1) the at-fault party was truly acting negligently, (2) the extent of injuries and damages, and (3) how much a settlement is worth. A good number of claims end after this negotiation process, with both parties agreeing on a settlement.
However, there is also the possibility that you and the insurance company will not see eye to eye on the potential value of a settlement. When an insurance company undervalues or denies your claim, it may be time to head into the courtroom. At this point, your case goes from an insurance claim to a lawsuit. While you can technically file a lawsuit at any time, it is generally used only after other attempts at settlements have failed.
The Statute of Limitations
Time is another critical element in a personal injury case. Every State sets a limit on the amount of time a person has to file a lawsuit to recover damages. In Missouri, victims of accidents have five years in order to take legal action and the failure to do so by this time will invalidate your ability file suit. While this limit is among the most generous in the nation, it does not mean that you should take your time filing a claim. Numerous problems can arise from a delayed lawsuit. For example, the opposing attorney may argue against the validity of injuries that have since healed.
Learn More about Your Claim – Call (660) 722-4115
The personal injury claims process can be tremendously complicated and after an injury, the best path forward is not always clear. If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident due to the negligent actions of another person, contact Kempton & Russell and learn about your legal options. Our Sedalia personal injury lawyers have substantial experience helping the injured to seek justice and have recovered more than $50,000,000 in past verdicts and settlements for our clients.
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