What to Expect at Each Stage of a Personal Injury Claim

You’ve been injured by another person’s negligence, and you’re not sure what comes next. Panic is a common response in this situation, leaving many people wondering about how they will pay their medical bills, take unpaid time away from work, and navigate life after an injury. The good news is that you don’t have to go through this alone. If someone else is at fault for your injury, you can hold them accountable with a personal injury claim.

It all starts with a consultation with Kingbird Legal. Learn more about the personal injury claim process, and when you’re ready to get started, call us at 484-289-4880.

Case Evaluation and Consultation

The first step is a case evaluation. Most personal injury attorneys offer free consultations, which allows you to talk to different lawyers and find one you’re comfortable with. Use this time to ask plenty of questions, find out if you have a valid case, and figure out how much experience each attorney has. You’ll want to choose a lawyer who asks questions about your case before discussing compensation, makes you feel comfortable, and has substantial experience in cases like yours.

Case Preparation

If you have a viable personal injury claim and you decide to go with an attorney, they will begin working on your case. In addition to looking through any evidence you have already provided, your attorney will gather more evidence from different sources. Depending on the type of injury you’ve suffered, they may look into surveillance footage, eyewitness testimony, medical bills, medical reports, and police reports. This is also when they thoroughly document your damages. Injuries get expensive very quickly, and it’s important to document your financial losses so you can seek proper compensation. After gathering and analyzing all of the available evidence, your Washington DC personal injury lawyer will be ready to reach out to the insurance company.

Contacting the Insurance Company and Starting Negotiations

In the majority of personal injury claims, compensation is paid out by the at-fault party’s insurance—not by them personally. In fact, cases in which the at-fault party does not have insurance often lead to minimal or no compensation, as they do not have enough funds or assets to pay compensation. Your attorney will send a demand letter to the insurance company, outlining what you’re requesting and why they should comply. This begins the negotiation process, and the insurance company will likely send their own counteroffer. This may continue for several rounds until the parties reach an agreeable amount.

Reaching a Settlement or Filing a Lawsuit

The majority of personal injury claims result in a settlement, not a court case. Once both parties agree, the paperwork is drawn up and signed. When you sign, you are giving up your right to file a lawsuit for your injury and any other injuries resulting from the accident in question. In exchange, you get the agreed-upon settlement. Any expenses are paid from that amount, including your attorney’s fees, and you receive the remainder.

Going to Court

While most claims end in a settlement, not everyone is quite so lucky. There are situations in which the insurance company refuses to negotiate fairly or accept liability. If the two parties are so far apart on numbers that compromise is impossible, you may have to take your case to court. This process is significantly longer than negotiating a settlement out of court, so be prepared. However, even if your attorney begins court preparations, that doesn’t mean that court is guaranteed—a settlement can still be reached at any point.

If your case ends up in court, you will be in front of a judge and possibly a jury. They will hear from both sides, decide if the other party is or is not liable, and give their decision. If they believe the other party is liable, they also decide how much compensation you are owed.

Pursuing a Personal Injury Claim? Call Kingbird Legal

When you choose Kingbird Legal, you can rest easy and recover while we tackle your legal case. Our goal is to get you every dollar you deserve. Set up your free consultation now by calling us at 484-289-4880 or contacting us online.

The Importance of Keeping Accurate Records in a Personal Injury Case

When you decide to pursue a personal injury case, it’s better to have evidence your attorney doesn’t need than to lack evidence that could strengthen your case. You’ll need to prove every aspect of your claim, from how your injury happened to the ways it’s impacted your life. Keeping accurate records is one way to build a strong case and get a fighting chance at recovering your losses.

Choosing the right attorney is key to fighting for the compensation you’re owed. Call Kingbird Legal at 484-289-4880 to set up a consultation with our team of West Chester personal injury attorneys now.

The Uphill Battle of Proving Your Claim

When you learn about the breadth of evidence you can use to create your personal injury case, it may seem like overkill. To the victim, personal injury claims often seem straightforward—you’re injured, you can pinpoint where it happened, and you have documentation of your financial losses. What else do you need?

The fact is that getting compensation for a personal injury is an uphill battle. Insurance companies fight tooth and nail to avoid paying full and fair compensation, even if it’s obvious that their client was in the wrong. Basically, they won’t pay what you actually deserve unless you put them in a position where a lawsuit is the inevitable next step. Being proactive about your documentation and record-keeping can help put you in the best possible position for negotiating.

There are many types of records you should keep as you pursue your personal injury claim; we’ll go over some of the most important ones now.

Documentation of the Accident

Any evidence you have of the accident and how it happened can be very useful in your claim. This looks a little different for each type of incident. In a car accident claim, you may want witness statements, photos and video footage of the crash scene, and dashcam footage. In a slip and fall, you might have surveillance footage from the store and a written incident report. For a dog bite case, an official report from the animal control officer and photos of your injuries may help. You need to create a causal link between the incident itself and your subsequent injuries.

Proof of Your Injuries and Their Effects

Records of your injuries and the ways in which they’ve affected you can go a long way in helping you get the compensation you deserve. Both official and unofficial records can be helpful. Official records may include medical bills, medical reports, test results, and treatment plans from your medical providers. Unofficial records may include photos that you take of your injuries as they progress, written notes regarding your pain levels and limitations, and your notes about your treatments and physical therapy appointments.

Think of it this way—it’s easy for the insurance company to wave off your injuries if you say that your back injury has left you with chronic pain. It’s a lot harder for them to ignore you if you have scans from multiple doctors, proof of your attempted and failed treatment plans, and payment receipts for the household tasks you’ve had to outsource because of your injury.

Evidence of Your Financial Losses

Injuries can be extraordinarily expensive. The more proof you have of your financial setbacks, the stronger your claim will be. If you have to take time away from work, document every hour missed and if you had to pay out-of-pocket for any healthcare benefits or other employment benefits. Don’t forget to account for missed overtime or advancement opportunities. Keep copies of your medical bills as they start trickling in, repair estimates if you have damaged property, and receipts for anything you have to replace.

Thorough and accurate record-keeping can mean the difference between a weak personal injury claim that results in a pitiful settlement offer and a solid claim that forces the insurance company to negotiate fairly.

Starting a Personal Injury Claim? Call Kingbird Legal

If you’re ready to pursue compensation in West Chester or Washington DC, it’s time to talk to the team at Kingbird Legal. We’re committed to holding the negligent party accountable after an injury. Set up a consultation now by calling us at 484-289-4880 or reaching out online.

What Does Maximum Medical Improvement Mean in a Personal Injury Claim?

Your journey to recovery is a big part of your personal injury claim. While many injuries follow a predictable pattern, some chart their own course. What appears to be a minor injury may cause complication after complication, while an apparently severe injury may heal with minimal delays. That’s why the term “maximum medical improvement” is important. Not only is it important in terms of your recovery, but it also plays a big role in your compensation.

If you’ve been injured because of another person’s negligence, you could be entitled to compensation. Call Kingbird Legal at 484-289-4880 to set up a consultation with our Washington DC team.

Defining Maximum Medical Improvement

The term maximum medical improvement is commonly used in personal injury claims and workers’ compensation claims. A patient has reached maximum medical compensation once they have made as much progress in their recovery as they are likely to. Further progress may be technically possible, but it’s extremely unlikely—even with additional medical interventions. In some cases, maximum medical improvement is the same as making a full recovery. If you break your arm and it sets without any loss of mobility after six weeks in a cast, you’ve both made a full recovery and reached maximum medical improvement.

In other cases, a patient may reach maximum medical improvement before they make a full recovery. Let’s look at the same example as before. You break your arm and get it set in a cast. However, it takes twice as long to heal as it should. Once you get the cast off, the bone is healed but in such a way that you can no longer fully extend your arm. You’re unlikely to recover any further, but you aren’t the same as you were before your injury.

Why MMI is So Important in Personal Injury Cases

As you may expect, medical expenses make up the largest part of many personal injury claims. Medical care is expensive in the United States, and even mild injuries can lead to thousands of dollars in bills. Reaching MMI is perhaps the best way to know exactly how much your medical care will cost you. 

Consider what could happen if you accept a settlement before reaching maximum medical improvement. You’ve been in treatment for months and the insurance company is getting pushy. They don’t want to wait for dozens of other treatments that may or may not work, and they may even be threatening to take back their settlement offer. Against your better judgment, you accept their offer.

The week after that, your injury takes a turn for the worse. You have to go back to see your specialist and they recommend a new treatment—one that will likely cost thousands of dollars. But since you’ve already accepted the insurance company’s settlement offer, you are now on the hook for this treatment. You cannot go back to the insurance company and ask for more.

How Do You Know When You’ve Reached MMI?

Determining when someone has reached maximum medical improvement is a task assigned to the healthcare professionals treating the patient in question. This can be complicated when dealing with complicated injuries, as the victim may be seeing numerous doctors as part of their treatment. Doctors may have differing ideas about when a patient has reached maximum medical improvement, so it’s important to do what you can to support your recovery. That means attending all of your scheduled appointments, taking prescriptions as intended, doing any physical therapy exercises that have been recommended, and following your treatment plan exactly.

You should also stay in clear communication with your doctors throughout your treatment. Make sure you know what your treatment plan entails and what the next step is. If you must miss an appointment, reschedule it as soon as possible to show that you are compliant with your treatment plan.

This will make it easier to know when you have reached MMI and when you can begin negotiating.

Explore Your Legal Options with the Team at Kingbird Legal

When you’re ready to start your personal injury claim, the team at Kingbird Legal is here to support you. Let’s schedule a consultation to talk more about your options. Call us at 484-289-4880 or contact us online.

The Role of Mediation in Personal Injury Cases

Personal injury cases are often emotionally and physically demanding on both sides, requiring everyone to consult with attorneys and invest significant mental energy. There are multiple ways to resolve personal injury cases that do not involve going to court, and mediation is one solution you may consider. Mediation avoids many of the downsides of going to court while offering you a chance to advocate for yourself.

How Mediation Works

Mediation is a non-adversarial process that is completely voluntary for everyone involved. Rather than both sides negotiating directly with the help of attorneys, they are helped along in the process by a neutral third party trained in mediation. The presence of a third party is often enough to prevent disputes, limit misunderstandings between the parties, and give everyone a chance to understand the facts of the case. Mediation has long been used in business disputes, family law, and other areas of law, and it has recently become more widely used in personal injury claims.

Once you and your attorney have decided on mediation—or it’s been ordered by the court—you’ll move forward with choosing a mediator. Both sides must agree on the mediator. Each side will give an opening statement, summing up their case and their grievances with the other party.

From there, the mediator will discuss privately with both parties and their legal representation. The mediator aims to understand what each side hopes to get from mediation. The parties can speak freely with the mediator at this point, as they cannot give this information to the other side without express permission.

The mediator will then assist in negotiations. Hopefully, each round of negotiations will bring you closer to a compromise that both parties can accept. In some situations, the parties will meet up for a joint session to discuss resolution options.

If an agreement is reached, the mediator will draft the legal agreement for both parties to sign. This settles the case and allows parties to move forward. If the parties cannot reach an agreement or either party withdraws, the case will go to court.

The Benefits of Mediation

The mediation process offers both plaintiffs and defendants a number of benefits. You may feel overwhelmed by your claim, the injuries you’ve suffered, and the uphill battle to get compensation. This often makes it hard to advocate for yourself and be crystal-clear in your communication. A mediator can help both sides communicate clearly and eliminate misunderstandings. The process is more cost-effective than going to court, saving both parties legal fees and court costs.

Mediation also provides much quicker resolutions than court cases do. Court cases can easily drag on for months. In the meantime, the accident victim has bills piling up, no money coming in, and panic setting in. This can protect you from accepting a lowball settlement just to get your bills covered.

Those who choose mediation enjoy more control over the outcomes and privacy. When a case goes to court, you have no control over the final verdict. Both sides present the strongest case they can, and from there, it’s in the hands of the judge or jury. With mediation, you can decide where you’re willing to compromise and how much you want to risk. Additionally, since mediation results in a settlement agreement, it is much more private than a court case.

One benefit of mediation that isn’t always discussed is the fact that it allows you to preserve relationships with people close to you. This sometimes comes into play with personal injury claims. If the person at fault for your injuries is a friend, family member, or colleague, taking your case to court could ruin your relationship. Mediation may be swift and mutually beneficial enough to allow you to maintain your positive relationship with the other party.

Even if you choose mediation, you should work with a personal injury attorney you trust. You must know what you’re giving up with each potential settlement agreement, and your attorney can ensure that you don’t fall prey to an insulting settlement offer.

Start Your Claim Now with Kingbird Legal

Ready to explore your legal options after a personal injury? Call the team at Kingbird Legal at 484-289-4880 or connect with us online.