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You were in a car wreck, and upon the hospital visit, your doctor says you have a potential concussion, some fractured or broken bones, whiplash, and burns. It is a traumatic and overwhelming situation, and it feels even worse since the accident was due to a negligent act of another party, such as a person driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. After seeking medical attention, you need to hold the at-fault party responsible and ensure you get fair compensation for the damages caused. This brings us to the personal injury compensation claim process, and why enlisting an experienced Cookeville attorney is recommended. Below is a glance at what comes next and how the attorney helps.
Let’s start with the good news; most attorneys offer free consultations – with no strings attached. At this stage, you discuss with the attorney the circumstances of the accident. The discussion points revolve around:
- How the accident transpired
- The involved parties
- Who is liable for the accident, and why
- Injuries sustained, treatment received, and more you may need in the future
The attorney will weigh the situation and establish if your claim has merit. They’ll then advise you on the best course of action. The consultation is critical since you’ll ensure you are not flying blind, which could mean being caught off guard and ruining your chances of receiving fair compensation.
A thorough investigation into the facts and circumstances surrounding your claim is critical. This helps build solid evidence to ensure the claim is not merely based on your word. Your Crossville,TN personal injury attorney has the time and resources to ensure every detail is accounted for. Among the investigative measures your attorney will likely undertake include:
- A visit to the accident scene, which includes taking detailed pictures or even working with scene reconstruction experts
- Talking to witnesses
- Liaising with relevant parties to obtain incident reports such as police reports and medical records
- Identification of all the involved parties – the incident may include multiple at-fault parties who must be held accountable
The investigation forms your compensation claim basis. It provides a vivid idea of what you are entitled to, which informs the next step; making a claim.
Crafting the demand package
Filling a claim with the at-fault party’s insurer kick-starts your compensation claim. This means you must create a solid demand package to improve the chances of settling the claim quickly and receiving fair compensation. The claim details how the incident happened, your liability claim theory, and how much you are demanding as compensation. The claim can be supported by:
- Incident/police report
- Medical records, including bills
- Photos of the injuries and/or property damage
- Records of out-of-pocket expenses like receipts
- Details of other costs like lost wages, to name a few
Your Cumberland personal injury attorney will help craft a solid claim package and review it to ensure it is complete. They’ll also ensure it is sent to the insurance carrier(s). The insurance adjuster uses the demand package to evaluate the claim’s value, meaning you set the bar to begin the negotiations.
After receiving the demand package, the insurer typically responds with an offer for settlement. This is almost always a lowball offer designed to test your resolve. Your Tennessee attorney can advise and help you establish if the settlement offer is firm and fair. You can accept the offer and proceed to settlement if it is deemed fair. If not, you can submit your counter-demand and negotiate. This is among the reasons you need a professional by your side since they can make a fair valuation of the claim, accounting for the hard-to-quantify elements like emotional suffering and pain.
After successful negotiation and reaching an agreement, the settlement process begins. This mainly involves drafting the settlement’s terms. Before the settlement agreement execution, your Cookeville will prepare a memo detailing the settlement amount and how it will be disbursed. After reviewing and agreeing to it, the execution begins.
Negotiations don’t always yield acceptable results. In other cases, the at-fault party could be crafty and stall the process, making it harder to reach an agreement. You are not domed, though; you can proceed to file a lawsuit. This must be done before the expiry of the statute of limitation, which is another reason you need a personal injury attorney in Crossville by your side. The statute of limitation for a personal injury claim in Tennessee is set at one year following the date of the incident.
Besides ensuring your claim is not voided by such technicalities, your Cumberland attorney can help ensure you take the best shot at presenting your claim to the jury and obtaining a favorable verdict. Their objectivity and experience make it easier to argue the facts and paint a vivid picture of the losses, pain, and emotional damage experienced. They also eliminate the burden of follow-ups that could be overwhelming, considering that you could still be recovering or managing a packed schedule.
You want to protect your rights following a negligent act that results in personal injury. This means pursuing a compensation claim, but the process is more complex than you may anticipate. Insurers can force you to jump through hoops hoping to frustrate your quest and forcing you to accept their lowball offers. They are in business, after all, but it doesn’t mean you should cave in. A reliable and reputable Tennessee personal injury attorney can help you navigate the process, represent your interests to the fullest, and help you secure fair compensation.
Visit or call Burnett Law today for more on the personal injury compensation process.