More than 40 million people suffer from serious injuries each year in the United States, though many of them are unsure what to do next.
“Get better” is the obvious answer, but there are a lot of ways to go about doing this. You need to consider medical bills, pain, and suffering, the impact of a fatality in your family, insurance, lost wages, and financial stress. The reason there are tens of thousands of personal injury claims each year — and nearly 50 percent involve motor vehicles — is to get your life back on track.
At the Dixon Injury Firm, the majority of our St. Louis-area clients are under incredible pressure. It’s our job as personal injury attorneys to guide you through the process of seeking compensation. The most common cases our firm handles include:
- Slips and Falls
- Dog Bites
- Bicycle Accidents
- Car Crashes
- Premise Liability
- Truck Wrecks
- Work-Related Injuries
- Defective Products
- Traumatic Injuries
- Scarring and Burns
It’s the job of a personal injury lawyer to help you and your family recover from these tragic events.
But what do you do? Whom do you call? How do you open an injury claim in Missouri or Illinois? What kind of compensation are you able to receive? How long does it take to win a case? What if you lose the case? How do you pay for a personal injury lawyer when your money is tied up in medical bills or car repairs or you aren’t eligible for worker’s comp?
Here are a few answers to those questions to point you in the right direction.
8 Steps for Filing a Personal Injury Claim
Beyond getting immediate medical attention, it’s important for victims of falls, car accidents, or other circumstances to reach out to a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Each case is different, of course, and varies on a number of factors like the state you’re in, if there are fatalities, and how many people were involved.
Below are a few general steps for opening a personal injury claim. Again, the steps vary if this is a worker's compensation case, a big rig accident, or even a dog bite, which is why Step 1 is the key to winning an injury case.
- Call a Lawyer: Reach out and contact a local personal injury attorney as soon as you can. An experienced lawyer can help you determine what to do next, which is incredibly helpful if you are dealing with serious injuries, medical bills, time off of work, and other financial or personal complications.
- Gather Information: You’re going to want to gather as much information as possible. This may include license plate numbers, time of day, addresses, personal contact information, photographs, witness testimonies, medical bills, and anything else that pertains to the accident. Your personal injury lawyer will help navigate you through this investigation phase.
- Demand for Settlement: Usually, injury victims need to send a letter that demands settlement. This demand package will outline liability and damages (such as lost wages, pain, and suffering, medical bills, injuries, etc.). The defense may settle then and there, make a counteroffer, or outright reject the demand.
- File a Lawsuit: If the claim isn’t settled via demand settlement, it’s time for your personal injury attorney to file a lawsuit for compensation. The Dixon Injury Firm has had tremendous results settling personal injury cases throughout St. Louis and Illinois.
- Discovery: Similar to Step 2, the discovery phase is when both you and the defendant gather more information about the case. It’s critical to have as much information as possible and prepare it properly, which a seasoned injury attorney can help you with.
- Mediation: Typically, injury or workplace compensation cases enter a mediation phase before (if ever) going to trial. Mediation is another chance to negotiate a settlement outside of court. This is often preferable for both sides given court fees and potentially lengthy trials.
- The Trial: Next up is the trial. The trial isn’t uncommon for personal injury cases, though the vast majority are settled with a well-written demand letter or a coordinated mediation session.
- The Appeal: The losing party has a chance to appeal the case. Appeals are a little different than the initial trial, which is another reason to find a qualified personal injury attorney to steer you through the process and, hopefully, a victory.
As mentioned, the injury claims process varies wildly based on the circumstances. Our injury attorneys have experience in worker's compensation cases, auto accidents, and other injury claims. You can call us today at (314) 208-2808 for more information and a free case review. Dixon’s attorneys only charge a contingency fee if we win the case; otherwise, our services don’t cost a dime.