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04/30/24   |   By

How to File a Personal Injury Claim

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Filing a personal injury claim can be complicated. The type of injury, proving your case, negligence standards, and faults all factor into your claim. Keeping on top of the legal process while managing your injury and recovery can be overwhelming. If you or your loved one have been injured and are wondering how to file a personal injury claim, call Regan Zambri Long’s  personal injury lawyers today for a free initial consultation.

How to File a Personal Injury ClaimInjury cases follow a general pattern, which means skilled personal injury attorneys can get the ball rolling quickly on your behalf. Regan Zambri Long has law offices throughout Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia. Our lawyers can help with filing a personal injury claim.

What Is a Personal Injury Claim?

The first question you have after an accident or injury is probably, “Do I have a claim?” The short answer is that if you were injured or suffered damages because of someone else’s actions, that person is liable for your losses. However, your personal injury attorney will dig into the facts of your case to determine whether you can prove negligence and whether your case is worth pursuing.

Types of Personal Injury Claims and Personal Injury Lawsuits

Personal injuries are categorized into several types, allowing for specialized legal expertise. Some of the most common categories include:

  • Motor vehicle accidents: vehicles and their accidents come in all shapes and sizes. Accidents are common in the DC Metro area, from personal vehicles to commercial trucks, boats, buses, motorcycles, and rideshares. In 2022, Maryland had 108,443 crashes, and Virginia had 122,434 crashes. Among the crashes in Washington, DC, 35 were fatal.
  • Premises liability: property and business owners must ensure their premises are safe for guests, customers, and tenants. Icy walkways, debris, spills, and other hazards that aren’t taken care of or blocked off can cause an injury.
  • Product liability: you have a right to expect that what you purchase is safe when properly used and that proper warning labels are included. Injury can occur when designers, manufacturers, or distributors fail to take these precautions.
  • Medical malpractice: patients have a right to expect and receive quality medical treatment. Misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, surgical errors, medication errors, and other mistakes can have serious health consequences.
  • Wrongful death: when an accident causes the victim’s death, surviving family members are entitled to compensation to help cover any medical bills, funeral and burial expenses, and to help cover lost income.

These categories cover many other injuries, including slips and falls, nursing home negligence and abuse, and sports and recreation injuries. If you think you may have a personal injury lawsuit, you can meet with an experienced personal injury attorney at Regan Zambri Long to discuss your options.

What Do You Have to Prove in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

Ultimately, every successful personal injury claim must prove negligence. Legally, negligence comprises four parts:

  • that the liable party had a responsibility or duty to behave in a certain way
  • the liable party breached that duty
  • the breach caused actual harm and damage
  • you are the victim of the harm and damage

For example, if you are a pedestrian crossing the street at a crosswalk with a “walk” light and a driver takes a right turn and hits you, you have a personal injury case. The driver had a duty to ensure the crosswalk was clear before turning, and the driver breached that duty. The breach caused injury, and you were the one who was hit.

Steps to Help Your Case After You’ve Been Injured

The first thing to do after any accident is seek medical care. This establishes a connection between your injuries and the accident. Keep all your appointments and recommended follow-ups. You should also keep any documents that show your medical costs.

If you can, collect witness names and contact information. After the accident, consult with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Many firms offer free initial consultations. After you hire a legal team, they will conduct an independent investigation and build your case.

It would be best if you never said an accident was your fault. Even taking partial responsibility for an accident may prevent you from claiming compensation.

How do I claim compensation for personal injury?

In most cases, you will first negotiate with the liable party’s insurance company. They will investigate your claim, assess your losses, and offer a settlement. However, many initial settlement offers do not reflect the true value of your case, so you will need an attorney to help you get a fair settlement from the insurance company.

Your attorney and the insurance adjuster will review medical records, property damage assessments, and the pain and suffering the accident causes you to determine a fair settlement. If negotiations fail, you will go through the trial process and receive a jury verdict.

Each state has a statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim. In Washington, DC, and Maryland, victims have three years from the accident date to file. In Virginia, victims have two years.

Fault in Personal Injury Cases

In an injury claim, you must prove that the responsible party was negligent or at fault. Without this proof, it is highly unlikely that you will be able to recover compensation. Police reports, witness testimony, and camera footage are key ways to help establish who is at fault for an accident.

How Negligence Works

Proving negligence first requires establishing that the responsible party had a duty to behave reasonably. Drivers must stop at red lights; medical professionals must investigate symptoms and diagnose diseases. Failure to uphold this duty is usually considered negligence.

Unfortunately, some states follow contributory negligence standards, which can limit your ability to recover compensation, depending on the situation.

Contributory Negligence and Personal Injury Claims

Contributory negligence is a harsh standard that bars anyone responsible for an accident from claiming compensation. If you are even one percent responsible, you will get nothing. Few states follow this standard, but Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC, uphold it.

Insurance companies are not above trying to pin some fault on victims to avoid paying for medical treatment, lost wages, damaged property, and other losses.

Can I File a Personal Injury Claim Without a Lawyer?

You are not required to hire a lawyer for your case, but taking on a claim without professional advice is rarely in your best interest. Many personal injury cases receive lowball settlement offers from the insurance provider. Legal representation is the best way to fight against unfair compensation.

Accident victims also have a lot on their plate with physical recovery and dealing with personal property damage. Taking on the legal burden as well, without legal representation, is not a good idea.

Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer to Help You Win

When you or a loved one are injured and must begin the personal injury claim process in the DC Metro area, look no further than Regan Zambri Long. Our lawyers will help you file a personal injury claim and pursue the maximum compensation you are owed. We don’t take any payment until we’ve made a recovery in your favor.

How to File a Personal Injury ClaimWith more than 100 years of cumulative experience, our attorneys are consistently recognized by the press and peers alike as the DC Metro area’s best lawyers. We approach each case with the compassion and consideration it requires.

Your case isn’t just about winning; it’s about justice. Call 202-960-4596 to schedule a consultation with a personal injury attorney today.

Regan Zambri Long
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Personal Injury
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