Life offers its share of surprises — sometimes, some very unpleasant ones resulting in moderate to severe personal injuries. Maybe you were in a car accident, slipped and fell on a wet floor, had an allergic reaction to a misprescribed drug, or got caught up in a fight. Whatever the circumstances, these situations can send your life in an unwanted and costly direction and may justify seeking fair compensation for your injuries.
One of the ways to obtain that compensation is through making a personal injury claim, where you seek damages for your injuries from the other person’s insurance company. A personal injury claim is a distinct process from filing a lawsuit, which requires more formal proceedings before a court of law.
Personal injury claims can sometimes linger in the pending stage, leading you to ask a reasonable question: Why is my personal injury claim taking so long?
What Is A Personal Injury?
It’s first important to understand what constitutes a personal injury. According to the Legal Information Institute at the Cornell University Law School, a personal injury covers injuries to a person’s “body, emotions, or reputation” as distinguished from injuries to property.
An “injury” does not have to be physical. It can include intentional infliction of emotional distress, defamation, malicious prosecution, and invasion of privacy, according to the Institute. If it involves a personal injury, those can be tied to situations such as automobile or workplace accidents, assaults, product defects, and nursing home abuse, among others.
Personal injury litigation is typically based on any of three potential theories: negligence, intentional act, or strict liability.
What Is A Personal Injury Claim?
A personal injury claim is not a lawsuit. It is a claim against a person’s insurance for personal injuries you may have suffered, whether physical or emotional. Depending on the facts of the case, your claim might be against an individual’s auto, homeowners, property insurance policy, or in the case of a business, a professional liability policy. Filing a claim and negotiating an outcome, if successful, is a way of handling your case and obtaining compensation without going to court.
You should not attempt to deal with the insurance company yourself. Discuss your claim with an experienced personal injury attorney and let them negotiate on your behalf.
Why Is My Personal Injury Claim Taking So Long?
Every personal injury matter stands on its facts, and the complexity of the facts dictates the length and tenor of the negotiations. Some may resolve quickly; others may take additional time. One of the key drivers in processing a claim is providing the insurance company adjusters with the right amount and type of information to allow them to evaluate the claim.
Some cases may be straightforward, involving demonstrable injuries; others are more complicated. For instance, if your injuries keep you out of work for a lengthy period, you may be able to make a claim for lost wages. You will have to provide the proper documentation to support that claim. You might wish to seek compensation for pain and suffering, which will also have to be documented. Sometimes the negotiations involve issues of law, such as whether a case shows negligence or intent. These are matters that take time to assess and resolve.
As a general statement, insurance companies do not want claims to go to court. But there is an exception to every rule, and sometimes the facts are in dispute and cannot be resolved quickly or easily. In that situation, you always have the right to file a lawsuit instead and seek a solution in court.
That said, the insurance company will seek a way to keep the claim as low as possible. That’s why it’s important to enlist the help of a personal injury attorney such as those at De Castroverde Law Group.
What Should You Do While Your Claim is Being Processed?
At De Castroverde Law Group, our attorneys understand the urgency involved, particularly if your injury involves expensive medical care. We will work hard to bring your case to a conclusion quickly and fairly. The best thing you can do while the claim is under consideration is to remain patient as we work through the issues with the insurance company. It’s also critically important to maintain careful documentation of everything that transpires. Collect police reports, take good notes on conversations with your attorney and/or the insurance company, and keep close track of medical bills. The better the documentation, the quicker your claim can be resolved.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim or a Lawsuit?
Do not wait too long to consider a claim or lawsuit, because the statute of limitations clock is always ticking. In Nevada, personal injury and wrongful death cases must be filed within two years, while property damage and medical malpractice cases have a three-year time limit. The longest statute of limitations is for product liability claims, which is four years. The attorneys at De Castroverde Law can help you understand which category your cases fit under and how much time you have to file.
How Are Personal Injury Lawyers Compensated?
In Nevada, as in many other states, personal injury attorneys often handled cases on a contingency fee basis. What the means is that attorneys receive a percentage of the final settlement as their fee. Let’s say you settle a case for $100,000 and the contingency fee is 40 percent. That means $40,000 will go to the attorney. But remember that the attorney (not the client) generally bears all the costs of making and processing the claim out of their pocket.
Let The De Castroverde Law Review Your Claim
Emotions and challenges run high for the whole family in the aftermath of an accident or incident that causes personal injuries. Let De Castroverde Law stand by your side to review your case and seek appropriate compensation. Our attorneys and staff focus on accident and injury law and can guide you to the best outcome as quickly as possible. Call us or contact us online for an initial consultation.