When you are injured, either physically or psychologically, due to the actions of others, in most cases you are entitled to some type of compensation. Not only do you have expenses related to treatment and recovery, but injuries typically lead to a loss of income, reduced quality of life, and other long-term issues that deserve compensation.
Of course, the process of getting that compensation isn’t always simple. Companies are rarely eager to accept liability for injuries to employees or customers, and even when the responsibility clearly falls on their shoulders, they are generally reluctant to pay more than they have to.
For that reason, it’s usually in your best interests to hire legal representation to help you with your claim, but before you do, you need to ask yourself a few important questions to ensure that you not only have a legitimate claim, but that you also handle it appropriately.
1. Are You Eligible to Make a Claim?
The first question to ask is whether you are even eligible to make a claim in the first place. Not all injuries are worthy of making a claim, and in some cases, your condition may not meet the requirements of a claim. For example, it is possible to seek compensation for injuries due to work stress, since your employer has a duty to provide a safe work environment. However, if the stress is due to the normal pressure or requirements of your position, you most likely do not have a case.
Other factors that influence your eligibility to file a claim include time limits and your own responsibility for the accident or injury. A qualified claims assessor or solicitor can review the details of your case and help you determine whether filing a claim is appropriate or not.
2. Do You Have Sufficient Evidence to Prove Your Claim?
Successful personal injury cases hinge on your ability to prove that the defendant was at fault for your injury, and that you deserve compensation. You must have documentation to prove that not only did you incur expenses from the injury, but also evidence showing that your injuries are directly attributable to someone else’s negligence or actions.
The more evidence you have, including photos, witness statements, and paperwork, the more likely you are to have a successful claim.
3. Do You Have Insurance Coverage to Cover Some or All of Your Legal Expenses?
Legal representation in personal injury cases can be expensive. However, you may have insurance cover that will pay for all or some of your legal expenses in a personal injury case. Certain insurance policies, such as those offered through trade unions or homeowner’s policies, include legal expense coverage that will pay the costs of representation in the these types of claims.
4. Who Will Represent Your Claim?
When you have a personal injury claim, you can always try to go it alone, and navigate your claim yourself. However, the process is so complex so getting help is generally advisable. However, you have options. You can hire a lawyer who specializes in personal injury claims or a solicitor, or you can utilize the services of a claims management company like Claims Direct.
When you work with a claims management company, which is usually a no-win, no-fee arrangement. An assessor reviews your case to determine its merit, and provides an estimate of potential compensation. If you do have a case, the claims assessor will then refer you to a solicitor. Some companies have in-house counsel to handle claims, while others refer clients to outside representation from a network of providers.
5. How Does Your Representation Charge for Services?
Most personal injury cases are handled on a “no-win, no-fee” basis. Essentially, if you do not win your case, you do not have to pay for legal services provided. However, most solicitors will not take on cases they cannot win, so if you are lacking evidence or have a particularly difficult case, you may have better luck seeking representation that does not work on a contingency basis.
Keep in mind that if you do win a no-fee case, you will have to compensate your representative, and may also be liable for a “success fee.” In many cases, though, these fees are included in your compensation amount. In addition, if you do not win your case, the defendant may be able to recoup legal costs from you.
Filing a personal injury claim can get you much needed money after an injury. However, even minor missteps can prevent you from getting all that you are entitled to, so proceed carefully and make smart decisions when filing your claim.