Whatever your occupation is, there are chances of getting injured in the course of completing your work duties. Statistics show that 2.8% of all full-time workers experience workplace injuries at some point in their careers. So, if you ever get injured at work, in this article, you’ll learn a step-by-step guide to follow when filing a personal injury claim.
1. Determine the Severity of Your Injury
First and foremost, you ought to know the severity of the personal injury you’ve suffered so that you can seek compensation from your company. The most common injuries in the workplace are:
- loss of limb
- loss of mobility
- injury from the use of defective products
- car accidents
- fractured bones
- serious burns
- cognitive impairment
- health deterioration due to chemical exposure
- emotional trauma
If your specific injury falls within these categories, you can proceed with filing a personal injury claim.
2. Gather Preliminary Evidence
Evidence is vital to back up nearly all types of claims. As such, don’t leave the accident scene without gathering evidence. If you’re involved in a car accident, after you’ve ensured your safety or your passengers’ safety, use your smartphone to take a few photographs of the cars and the parties involved. If there are any passersby or witnesses present, ask for their contact information, as you may need their statements in case you proceed to file claims or press charges against the offending party.
3. Seek Medical Treatment
As your health is far more important than any monetary compensation, go and see a doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor should be able to carry out the necessary medical tests and ascertain the severity of your injuries, as well as verify you’ve suffered these injuries in the performance of your work duties.
Don’t assume that since you don’t feel any immediate symptoms, you can skip the medical examinations. There are numerous cases of people who elected not to take medical checks this way but ended up in severe suffering some months or years later.
4. Seek Legal Counsel
Next, it’s best to seek legal counsel first before speaking with the authorities or filing any claims. However, don’t stay passive and wait until things get out of hand before you consult a lawyer. Your lawyer can advise you on which steps to take next and going forward.
Make sure you work with a team of experienced personal injury lawyers with a proven track record of facilitating the compensation of injured persons.
5. Negotiate a Settlement
If possible, your employer, the company’s insurer, or the other party who caused your injury should agree to compensate you for your injuries. Your personal injury lawyer can make a demand of compensation on your behalf. If the other party agrees and makes an acceptable offer, you could drop the charges.
But if they refuse to compensate you or you can’t amicably agree on a settlement amount, you can have the option of taking the matter to court.
6. Gather More Evidence
Before filing a petition, arm yourself with all the necessary documentation that’ll prove the validity of your claims. In addition to the evidence that you initially gathered, you may need the following documents:
- Doctor’s assessment of the type and period of treatment you’ll need
- Receipts for medical expenses that you’ve already incurred
- Estimated damage of your own property, such as your car
- Estimated loss of income, if you can no longer work as a result of the injuries
- Medical reports that detail the severity of your injuries
7. File a Petition
With these supporting documents, you can now file a petition in the courts. Of course, your personal injury lawyer will do the paperwork for you so that you get it right. Note that you don’t have to attach all the evidence to the initial petition. Make it general. The court will use this to give you a hearing date. This is when you should present all the details to court.
The court’s Personal Injury Assessment Board will then evaluate your claims. If they rule in your favor and you accept the proposed settlement, there’s no need for legal proceedings. If you still feel the amount offered isn’t enough, you can file a lawsuit.
8. File a Lawsuit
The last resort is to have your case heard before a jury. It’s here that witnesses will testify before the court in an attempt to justify your claims. You’ll also state in the lawsuit how much you expect to receive in compensation.
The jury will weigh the arguments and facts and determine how much you will be compensated. If the accused agrees, the claim is over.
Don’t hesitate to file a personal injury claim when you get injured at work. With guidance from a trusted personal injury lawyer, you can get enough compensation to fund your unexpected medical expenses, cover any income lost during the course of your rehabilitation, or as payment for your legal fees.