If you suffer an injury in an accident in Omaha, you could be eligible for financial compensation. The civil justice system gives injured accident victims the opportunity to bring damage claims against at-fault parties. A successful claim will result in financial compensation to make the victim whole again. Learn five basic facts about filing a personal injury claim before you start the legal process.
An Injury Does Not Automatically Mean You Have a Claim
First, recognize that suffering an injury in itself will not automatically give you the right to file a personal injury claim. The accident that caused your injury must contain the required elements of a claim based on the overarching law. For example, if you wish to file a claim based on negligence, you will need to prove that the at-fault party owed you a duty of care, failed to fulfill the standards of care and caused your accident.
The elements of proof will change depending on the legal doctrine applied. A case based on premises liability, for example, will not be the same as one based on product liability. In general, however, a defendant must have committed a wrongful act that caused or contributed to your injury. If no one negligently, carelessly or recklessly caused your injury, you may not have grounds for a claim. There are exceptions, however, so consult with an attorney to find out if you have a case.
Insurance Companies Do Not Always Treat Clients Fairly
One of the biggest mistakes injured parties make is thinking the insurance company receiving the claim is on the client’s side. The agent you speak to may sound friendly and sympathetic, but he or she has one goal: to save the insurance company money. A claims adjuster will often try to achieve this goal by undervaluing the worth of a client’s losses.
Be wary when speaking to an insurance company about your claim. Do not admit fault for the accident and do not accept the first settlement offer. Initial settlements are not always fair. Seek a second opinion from a lawyer first, especially if your injuries are serious or long-term.
Personal Injury Lawsuits Come With a Deadline
Another critical error is assuming you have an unlimited amount of time in which to file your personal injury claim. In Nebraska, a law called a statute of limitations limits your ability to file a claim to four years from the date of the accident or of injury discovery. Although this rule has a few exceptions, it is critical to act quickly to file your claim if you do not want to risk being barred from recovery forever.
Filing a Claim Does Not Mean You Will Have to Go to Court
You may not have to go to trial to obtain compensation for your claim. The majority of personal injury cases settle before they go to court. Settling means the insurance company accepted the claim and offered a reasonable amount the client agreed to, effectively ending the case. The only cases that end up in trial are those with complicated factors, high-value damages or liability disputes. You can increase your chances of saving time and money by successfully settling your injury claim when you hire a personal injury attorney.
Hiring a Lawyer Makes a Big Difference
Hiring a personal injury lawyer can make an enormous difference to your case – both its outcome and your legal experience. A lawyer will understand Nebraska’s laws and navigate them to your greatest advantage. A lawyer will create an accurate estimate of your case’s value and won’t let you settle for less than you deserve. A lawyer will also grant you greater peace of mind during a tough time in your life.
If you are worried about how to afford a personal injury lawyer, look for a law firm that practices on a contingency fee basis. With this arrangement, you will not pay your lawyer unless he or she wins financial compensation on your behalf. This removes any financial risk you have in bringing a claim. Learn more about filing a personal injury claim during a free consultation with an attorney today.