In this article you will learn:
- The Steps to File a Personal Injury Claim
- How to Know If Your Injury Case is Valid or Not
- The Different Kinds of Personal Injuries
- Why You Should Never Defend Yourself in Court
- If Personal Injury Settlements are Taxable in Illinois
- What an Arbitration Hearing For a Personal Injury Claim is
- The Difference Between Personal Injury and Workers Compensation
How To File A Personal Injury Claim
The personal injury claims process can seem complicated and confusing. But, by breaking down the steps, filing a personal injury claim can be made significantly easier. Here are the steps you’ll need to follow to file a personal injury claim:
1. Claim Submission
Depending on the situation, you will need to file a claim with both your insurance company and the insurance company of the person at fault. If you’re unsure if a claim should be sent to both companies then a lawyer can assist you in determining whether both insurance companies are liable to pay compensation for the claim.
2. Provide Proof
The insurance companies involved will appoint an insurance claims adjuster to validate your claim. Therefore, you will need to provide proof to support your personal injury claim that shows the negligence of the person at fault, the severity of your injuries, any loss of wages, and the number of medical expenses incurred.
3. Evaluating the settlement offers
Once you file your personal injury claim, the insurance company adjuster may offer you a settlement. Your attorney will advise you whether or not to take the settlement offered based on the facts of the case and the likelihood of success in court. This is an important step to have an expert personal injury attorney involved.
If you reject the initial settlement offer, the personal injury claims process moves into negotiations. If no mutual resolution can be reached, your case will go to court for final judgment.
5. File a Lawsuit
If no fair settlement is reached, a personal injury lawsuit can be filed. An experienced lawyer will do his or her best to get you a fair settlement without filing a lawsuit, but will also be there to fight for the compensation you deserve in the event your case goes to trial.
At trial, you and the defendant will have the chance to provide testimony and physical evidence from lay and expert witnesses. Your attorney will make a compelling argument that you should be fully compensated for your injuries.
How Do I Know If My Injury Case Is Valid?
When looking for a personal injury lawyer, what’s most difficult is understanding whether or not you have a valid injury case. Ask yourself:
- Were you injured as a result of another person’s negligence?
- How about recklessness?
- Was another’s recklessness responsible for your current discomfiture?
- Was unjust conduct demonstrable?
- Have you suffered pain or injury?
- Is there high medical bills associated with the injury?
- Was there property damage or work missed?
- Have these things induced financial stress?
Sometimes such injuries can even lead to death. If you’ve had anything that has resulted in any situation like these, please contact a personal injury lawyer immediately. You need professional legal representation to ensure you receive fair compensation for the damages you’ve incurred.
Different Kinds Of Personal Injuries
Personal injuries come in a variety of different types. Some are small but still very damaging. Others have several higher levels of magnitude. For example, a car accident is more likely to cause more accumulative damage than a motorcycle accident.
Meanwhile, if a semi sideswipes your car on the interstate, the settlement could be massive. Sometimes people are injured at their job-site. What if the sweeping semi-knocked a construction worker over a bridge? That could result in traumatic brain injury!
Four Reasons Why You Should Never Defend Yourself In Court
Most reasonable people would never try to perform a kidney transplant on themselves or tell the pilot, of the airliner that they’re a passenger on, to take a seat in coach while they take the controls. That’s why it’s often baffling as to why people choose to represent themselves in court instead of retaining a personal injury attorney to represent them. There are many reasons why you should never defend yourself in court.
A working knowledge of accident law is a highly specialized skill. That’s why it takes years of training for attorneys to earn their degrees. If you’re on the fence about whether to represent yourself in a personal injury case or hire an accident attorney, consider these four reasons for trusting an experienced professional:
1. Knowledge of personal injury procedures and rules
Courts operate on a very strict set of rules and procedures. Very few non-attorneys know these rules and procedures well enough to plead their cases in court. Ignorance of these procedures may cost you critical rulings and decisions.
2. Knowing what NOT to say if you defend yourself in court
Litigants who represent themselves often make statements that may ruin their cases. They may inadvertently admit to fault in a car accident. Or, they may say that they hadn’t lived up to the terms of their insurance policy. In court, knowing what not to say is often as important as knowing what to say. An experienced attorney knows what statements to avoid in court.
3. The paperwork
Court cases typically require quite a bit of paperwork including written complaints, briefs, motions, and more. Attorneys know the proper style for writing these documents as well as submission rules and deadlines.
4. The costs
While it may seem smart to save yourself a few thousand dollars on attorney’s fees, you expose yourself to a huge danger of financial loss should you choose to represent yourself in court. Even if you think you have a great case, a skilled attorney can easily trip up a layman on various points of law and procedure and secure a hefty judgment. The money you think you might save, simply is not worth the risk.
Are Personal Injury Settlements Taxable In Illinois?
While a straight yes or no answer would be helpful to most people, in this case, it isn’t possible. In the state of Illinois, certain portions of a personal injury settlement are taxable, while other portions are not.
It all comes down to whether or not your settlement is compensation for expenses or punitive damages. Many personal injury settlements contain both compensatory and punitive parts, so part of your settlement will be taxable and part won’t?
If all of this confuses you, that’s normal. Fortunately, if you have an experienced lawyer handling your case, they should be able to explain your settlement to you and explain whatever tax liability you may have.
Injury settlements that are compensation for expenses are not taxable in Illinois. Examples of the compensation would be damages awarded to cover medical bills, property damage, and lost wages.
When you receive a settlement to cover something you lost as a result of your injuries, you don’t have to pay tax on that part of the settlement. You aren’t really earning any additional money here. You’re just receiving compensation for the money that you lost or money that you spent to cover injuries and property damage.
Compensatory damages should replace money that a victim lost as a result of an accident that was the fault of another party. Punitive damages are damages that are awarded to an injured party that is meant to punish the person or entity that caused the accident.
Punitive damages are normally awarded when the defendant in the case has been found to have either intentionally caused someone injury or their reckless actions resulted in someone else suffering an injury.
One example of punitive damages would be if a drunk driver hits you. They would be subject to punitive damages. This is because they were reckless which resulted in your injuries and possible property damage.
When you’re in an accident and suffer injuries and property damage, then you can receive compensation from the other party. In many cases, you’ll receive compensation for both money that you lost as a result of the accident as well as punitive damages.
What Is An Arbitration Hearing For A Personal Injury Claim?
What is an arbitration hearing for a personal injury claim? An arbitration hearing is an alternative to going to trial where both parties decide to allow an independent third party to determine any arbitration awards that should be paid. Arbitration is legally binding, which means that the ruling of a tribunal in an arbitration hearing can be enforced in court if necessary .
Arbitration is a popular option because it allows for a faster resolution than going through the court system does. Going to court often means waiting for a trial date, then continuances, then many other possible delays. For most people the idea of dragging an issue out for months or years is distasteful. That’s why arbitration is an option that many people consider.
If you’ve suffered a personal injury where you should be awarded damages, it’s often possible to negotiate a settlement with the other person or company’s insurance provider. Insurance companies don’t like going to court because the chances of damages going up a great deal are always possible.
That’s why they are quick to offer a settlement whenever possible. Before accepting a settlement, speak with a lawyer who can offer you advice as to whether or not the settlement is fair. In many cases, it’s in your best interest to accept a settlement that is less than you could win if you filed a lawsuit.
But, while the award is lower, you are guaranteed your money. Plus, you won’t have to go trial and can get the matter resolved quickly. However, there are some cases when an arbitration hearing is necessary. This is due to a legal clause that you agreed to beforehand. A common example of this is any injury claim you are pursuing through your car insurance company.
What Are The Advantages?
- Arbitration hearings are faster than going to court to settle a case.
- Both parties can work together to choose their tribunal. Since you can choose your tribunal, you can feel confident that you will have someone who is fair and impartial. This gives you a better chance of a positive outcome.
- Damages awarded in an arbitration hearing can remain confidential.
- Arbitration doesn’t offer as many appeals as going to a trial does. This helps to close the matter in question so both parties can move on.
- Arbitration is simpler than a court trial. There’s less paperwork and the overall process is faster.
What Are The Disadvantages Of An Arbitration Hearing?
- If both parties agree to arbitration they cannot change their minds and decide to take the matter to court instead.
- Since there are not many avenues for appeal, if a decision goes against someone, they will likely have to live with the outcome
- If the party ordered to pay damages during an arbitration hearing refuses to comply, the party awarded damages will have to go through the courts to get the agreement enforced.
- Arbitration doesn’t allow for a jury trial. Juries often favor injured parties. Especially when they are facing off against large companies.
The Difference Between Personal Injury And Workers Compensation
When you suffer any kind of injury, you’ll find that there are several legal options available in order to get compensation. Two examples of those legal options are personal injury and workers’ compensation claims. However, when deciding which legal option is right for your specific case, you will need to keep the following 3 big differences in mind.
1. The Requirement Of A Fault
The biggest difference between personal injury claims and worker’s compensation claims is that with the latter, you won’t need to prove someone else is at fault before you can claim compensation for your injuries. To get compensation, it suffices that you were at your workplace during your normal working hours or that you were somewhere else for reasons of work. All that matters is that you were doing something within the scope of your job description and that you were injured while doing that.
It should be noted that you will even be entitled to compensation if you are injured because of something that’s your own fault, except for when you’re under the influence of certain substances or such.
The reason for this is that according to the law, a workplace should be a safe environment and that includes protection against work accidents. Your employer is required by law to take precautionary measures when it comes to work accidents. And, the employer has to offer compensation if an accident still does happen, no matter the circumstances.
With personal injury claims, on the other hand, you need to prove that someone else is at fault for causing the accident. That could be your employer, but it really could be any other person as well.
This means that you carry the burden of proof. You will have to find certain evidence to support your claims. When you decide to pursue a lawsuit, it’s important that you gather enough evidence to convince the judge or the jury that your claims are entirely true. Only then, will you be able to claim compensation for your injuries.
2. The Amount Of Compensation
Another big difference is the amount of compensation you can receive.
When you are injured in a work accident and you decide to file a worker’s compensation claim, you will find that you’ll only be compensated for your actual losses. Your employer’s insurance company will analyze your case in order to know exactly what they owe you money-wise.
This ranges from compensation for the salary that you miss out on to paying back your medical bills and such. Thus, you’ll receive compensation for your actual losses, but for nothing more than that.
However, when you file a personal injury claim, you’ll find that you can claim a lot more compensation. For example, you could also claim compensation for any kind of physical or moral pain. This would not be possible when you’re filing a worker’s compensation claim. When your particular case allows it, you could even ask compensation for punitive damages.
3. The Legal Options
Lastly, there’s a difference when it comes to filing the actual claim.
When you are filing a worker’s compensation claim, the first thing that you need to do is notify your employer of the accident. Then, you need to fill out some mandatory forms. After that, your employer’s insurance company will analyze your case. Then, they will decide if and how much compensation you’ll receive.
However, if you don’t agree with this decision, you can seek the help of a lawyer. He or she will help you with your appeal against the insurance company’s decision.
When you’re filing for a personal injury claim, on the other hand, you can just file a complaint with your state’s civil court which will result in a lawsuit. More importantly, you can file such a lawsuit against the person who’s at fault for causing the accident. And, that doesn’t necessarily have to be your employer. From then on, the case can go in many directions. This can range from a settlement to a full-on lawsuit.
An Experienced Lawyer Can Help You To Get The Compensation That You Deserve
If you’re the victim in an accident you have rights. But, in order to exercise those rights, you have to act. No insurance company is going to give you what you deserve unless they have to. And, they won’t have to unless you have an experienced personal injury lawyer working on your behalf.
An experienced lawyer can help you to get fair compensation. They can also help you to understand what your tax liability will be for your settlement.
For your personal injury claims call The Law Offices of Marc J. Shuman & Associates, LTD. You will not pay any legal fees until you receive compensation. For free legal advice, contact us at (312) 422-0700.
Sources:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arbitration