From motor vehicle crashes and workplace accidents to medical malpractice, product liability, premise liability scenarios, and just about any other type of incident, many preventable scenarios can unexpectedly leave someone hurt here in Maryland. According to the Maryland Department of Health, for example, at least 3% of workers suffer preventable injuries annually. Like most things in life, knowing how to respond to unexpected situations like these doesn’t come naturally to most.
If an accident attributable to someone else’s negligence has left you with serious injuries or caused the premature wrongful death of a loved one, it’s understandable that you may want to take legal action to recover compensation. You can use any amount you secure to pay for medical expenses, recoup lost wages, or pay for funeral or burial costs incurred by doing so.
Steps you should take following a personal injury accident sometimes vary slightly depending on the injury event involved; however, commonalities apply to all instances. We’ll shed light on these below so you’ll have a clearer understanding of the steps in a personal injury lawsuit as your Baltimore case unfolds.
Steps To Take Following Any Personal Injury Accident in Baltimore
There are a few steps you should take following any personal injury accident, which are:
- Documenting what happened: Keep in mind that reporting the injury incident involves merely reporting factual information about it to the police, a property owner, a doctor, a product manufacturer, etc. and the appropriate insurance company. None of these conversations should venture into a discussion of liability for what happened.
- Seek medical attention: Injuries aren’t always readily identifiable. Waiting for symptoms to appear could put you at risk of suffering irreversible harm. Continue receiving any recommended medical care per your physician’s treatment plan.
How You Can Expect a Personal Injury Case To Unfold
Once you’ve reported your incident, such as an interstate accident, you can expect your insurance company, perhaps the responsible party, and their insurer to reach out to you by mail or phone to request additional information about the injury event and your medical prognosis.
By the time they do, they already likely have access to the accident or incident report and have already reached their own determinations about liability for the incident. Even if it seems evident that the other party, such as a negligent homeowner whose dog bit you, shoulders the blame for what happened, the insurer may still deny liability for various reasons. Attorneys often work with their clients to establish a clear narrative of what happened so that they can push back on insurers’ determinations.
You can ignore those lines of communication from negligent parties and their insurers, but it doesn’t mean they’ll become less frequent. The only way to stop them is to inform the party that an attorney is representing you and provide their contact information. Once you do this, your lawyer serves as the buffer through which all communication passes on to you, thus alleviating you of pesky insurance adjuster calls so that you can focus on recovering from the injuries you suffered in your personal injury accident.
Whether you file a claim with the insurance company representing the party that injured you or an attorney files a personal injury lawsuit on your behalf, the insurer will continue to make regular inquiries. They will want to know more about the accident and your injuries and even go as far as periodically requesting submissions of your medical records and bills.
At some point during the claims process, the responsible party’s insurance company may request that you provide a statement (deposition) to the insurer about your personal injury incident and its impact on your life. If this occurs, your attorney will prepare you for this deposition and be with you throughout the process.
As your medical treatment appears to be winding down, you can expect your personal injury attorney to begin requesting final reports and bills from those health care providers. If you’re representing yourself in your claim, then it’s likely that the insurance adjuster assigned to your claim will move to get your case settled as it appears things are wrapping up.
What Happens if You Don’t Accept an Insurance Company’s Settlement Offer
Insurance companies are notorious for offering the bare minimum as initial offerings to settle personal injury cases. If an insurer appears unwilling to play ball and negotiate a fair settlement, you or your lawyer may need to consider escalating the case by formally filing the personal injury lawsuit with the county courthouse. A jury or judge can decide who bears responsibility for what happened and the fair settlement you may be due.
While very few personal injury cases need to be settled in court, ones in which liability isn’t clear often do. The support and guidance a personal injury attorney can offer can be invaluable in helping you decide whether reaching an out-of-court settlement is an effort in futility and, if so, how to build an airtight case with a strong potential of achieving an optimal outcome for you in the courtroom.
Whether you settle your case through negotiation with an insurer, yourself or with the support of a lawyer, or must pursue litigation in court, a successful outcome in a personal injury case happens when an insurance company presents you with a release of all claims followed by a settlement check.
While financial compensation doesn’t erase the permanent injuries and other losses you suffered from your accident, it is the sole recourse our civil law system in Maryland offers for holding negligent parties liable for their wrongful acts. It additionally serves as a deterrent to others who might consider engaging in similar actions.
How a Lawyer Can Help You With Your Personal Injury Lawsuit
Navigating uncharted territory, like an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit, may seem fairly logical from the outset. However, an issue may arise along the way that requires split-second decision-making. A wrong decision could affect the strength of your personal injury case, making it challenging to recover compensation.
A Baltimore personal injury lawyer like ours at Belsky & Horowitz, LLC can prepare you for what lies ahead and be there to provide that skilled insight and guidance as the situation warrants. There’s no obligation to schedule a free case evaluation with an attorney at one of our Maryland offices. Call or email us to discuss your case right away to ensure your best interests are protected.