Personal Injury Claim Process
No one expects to be in an accident. But unfortunately, there may come a time in your life where you or a loved one is hurt due to another’s carelessness.
Some accidents are purely accidents. But in cases where someone else’s actions (or failure to act) cause an accident that results in injuries, North Carolina law allows victims to pursue personal injury compensation for their losses.
Many people find the idea of taking legal action too overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be. The majority of personal injury claims result in settlements, where victims never see the inside of a courtroom.
If you’ve been harmed in an Asheville accident, the attorneys at The Elmore and Smith Law Firm, PC, can represent you through every stage of the personal injury process.
Contact us for a free consultation today.
How The Personal Injury Claims Process Works
Personal injury law hinges on the concept of negligence. Your case must be able to prove that a party had a duty to act responsibly around you, failed in that duty and that their recklessness caused your injuries.
Although you are not required to hire an attorney to handle a personal injury claim, we highly recommend that you at least go to a free consultation to learn your legal rights. With or without counsel, you will be pitted against insurance companies who will go to great lengths to deny or diminish your claim for compensation, no matter how valid the case is.
An attorney can help you demand full and fair compensation from the liable party in your accident. A favorable outcome can help with medical bills, missed wages, pain and suffering and other damages that you have incurred.
Stages Of A Personal Injury Claim
Here are the basic steps of the personal injury claim process:
- Hire a skilled personal injury attorney.
- Establish the facts of your case through investigation, interviewing of witnesses, and collecting medical records.
- Send a demand letter to the insurance company outlining your personal injuries and damages.
- Enter mediation and negotiation.
- Settle the claim.
- If the claim does not settle, file a lawsuit.
Hiring A Personal Injury Attorney
It’s important to find a lawyer that you trust. The good news is that personal injury attorneys offer free consultations so that you can “shop around” to find the one that is right for you.
At The Elmore and Smith Law Firm, there’s no obligation and no strings attached after a consultation. We just want you to know that you have legal options, regardless of whether you decide to act on them.
Once you have chosen your lawyer, he or she will begin investigating and putting a value on your claim.
Sending a Demand Letter
When the investigation is complete, your personal injury attorney will prepare a demand letter for the insurance company or the at-fault party’s attorneys. This is where your lawyer will make a legal argument about why you are owed financial compensation for your injuries.
Litigation: Discovery, Mediation, And Negotiation
Sometimes the insurance company or person at fault will agree to the compensation requested and settle the case out of court. If not, your case may need to be litigated. This is where your attorney files a lawsuit in court. As part of the lawsuit, your case will enter the discovery phase. That’s when attorneys from both sides will collect and review evidence to see how strong a case each is building.
Once discovery is complete, the case may proceed to mediation. By agreeing to mediation with an unbiased third party, the claim may be concluded more quickly than if it went to trial.
During mediation, attorneys will work to come up with a total amount of compensation that is agreeable to both parties. However, if the other party won’t agree to fair payment, your lawyer may recommend proceeding to trial.
In court, a judge or jury will hear both sides of the argument and make a decision. Trials are riskier and expensive, so it’s very important to have a thorough conversation with your attorney before heading to trial.
Statute of Limitations
In North Carolina, you have three years after you are injured to begin your personal injury claim. Claims cannot be filed after this three-year window has closed. If the case involves a minor child, the statute of limitations may be longer. If the case involves wrongful death, the statute of limitations is two (2) years.
Get Help from An Experienced Asheville Personal Injury Lawyer
At The Elmore and Smith Law Firm, PC, our team of dedicated personal injury lawyers are prepared to fight for you. We understand how difficult life can be in the aftermath of an accident. We work hard to reach resolutions with as few disruptions to your life as possible so that you can focus on rest, recuperation and healing.
Call us at (828) 367-7998, chat with us live, or fill out our contact form for a free consultation.