Here’s What to Expect When You File a Personal Injury Claim in Columbus
If you’ve been injured in an accident that was someone else’s fault, recovering your losses will involve filing a personal injury claim. This typically involves dealing with the at-fault party’s insurance company. Most successful personal injury claims settle without going to court; but, in some cases, accident victims will need to go to trial to win the financial compensation they deserve.
Legal Process for Accident & Injury Claims in Ohio
If you have a personal injury claim, it will be important for you to familiarize yourself with the legal process. Here is a brief overview what you can expect when you hire a lawyer to represent you:
1. Demand Letter
The legal process starts with your lawyer submitting a demand letter to the at-fault party (or the at-fault party’s insurance company). This letter will explain why you are seeking financial compensation, and it will demand payment for your accident-related losses.
After reviewing your demand letter, the at-fault party’s insurance company will respond. It will conduct an investigation, and it will either admit or deny liability. If the insurance company admits liability, then the rest of your claim will focus on the amount you are entitled to recover. If it denies liability, then your lawyer will need to continue working to prove your right to payment.
Once the insurance company reviews your demand letter and conducts its investigation, the next step is typically to enter into settlement negotiations. Your lawyer will present evidence of your losses, and the insurance company will do its best to counter this evidence with evidence of its own. This is one reason why it is extremely important not to share information about the accident or your injuries with the insurance company, your friends and family, or on social media. Anything you share can be used against you—and the insurance company will be looking for any justification to deny payment for your injuries.
If the at-fault party’s insurance company isn’t willing to settle, then your lawyer will file a lawsuit in court. Your lawyer can file a lawsuit at any stage in the process, and the timing of a lawsuit is a strategic aspect of your case. Settlement negotiations can (and typically will) continue once a lawsuit has been filed, and many personal injury cases settle between the filing of a lawsuit and trial.
Filing a lawsuit triggers the litigation process. Your lawyer and the insurance company’s defense lawyers will need to take several steps in order to prepare your case for trial. If your case goes to trial, your lawyer will present your case for negligence, the insurance company’s lawyers will present their defense, and then a judge or jury will decide if you are entitled to financial compensation.
While this is a general overview of the process, keep in mind that a personal injury claim can settle at any stage. Your lawyer will work continuously to position your case for a favorable settlement; and, if the at fault party’s insurance company makes a settlement offer, your lawyer will help you make an informed decision about whether to accept or keep fighting for more.
Damages in Ohio Personal Injury Settlements and Litigation
When pursuing a personal injury claim in Ohio, you need to know how much you are entitled to recover. If you don’t know what your claim is worth, you won’t know when (or if) to settle, and you won’t know what damages to seek at trial.
In personal injury cases, damages fall into two main categories: economic and non-economic. Economic damages cover your direct financial losses, while non-economic damages cover the various other ways your injuries impact your life.
Economic Damages in Personal Injury Cases
Economic damages that are available to accident victims in Ohio personal injury cases include:
- Property damage
- Medical expenses
- Prescription costs
- Transportation and other out-of-pocket expenses
- Loss of income and benefits
- Loss of future earning capacity
Non-Economic Damages in Personal Injury Cases
Non-economic damages that are available to accident victims in Ohio personal injury cases include:
- Emotional trauma
- Pain and suffering
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of companionship, consortium, services and support
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Considerations for Settling an Ohio Personal Injury Claim
When it comes to settlement, there are several factors that will determine how much you should be willing to accept for your injuries. While your economic and non-economic damages are key factors, they are not the only factors that require consideration. Additional factors that may influence settlement negotiations in your personal injury case include:
The Strength of Your Evidence
In general, the stronger your evidence, the less willing you should be to compromise. If you are clearly entitled to financial compensation, you should not settle for less than you deserve.
Any Evidence of Comparative Fault
If you were partially at fault in the accident, then you may only be entitled to partial compensation under Ohio law. Here, too, the strength of the evidence (in this case, the insurance company’s evidence) is a key factor.
A Reasonable Range for Settlement
It is not possible to calculate your future economic losses with absolute precision. Likewise, there are no specific dollar amounts that apply to emotional trauma, pain and suffering, and other forms of non-economic loss. As a result, your lawyer will help you establish a reasonable range for settlement. If you receive an offer at the top of the range, you will most likely want to accept. But, if you receive an offer at the bottom of the range, you will need to make a careful decision in light of the circumstances at hand.
Schedule a Free Personal Injury Consultation at Malek & Malek Law Firm
Do you have a personal injury claim? If so, how much are you entitled to recover? To find out, schedule a free, no-obligation consultation at Malek & Malek Law Firm. You can reach us 24/7, so call 888-444-7440 or tell us how we can reach you online now.