Here is the question I was asked: As a pedestrian how do I write a personal injury claim to the insurance company?
Today's blog uses a pedestrian car accident to explain the four elements in any negligence case. The same principles apply to car, truck, ATV, motorcycle, scooters and other personal injury accidents that lead to you being injured.
Here are the details the injured pedestrian provides: I was recently hit by a car while walking across a pedestrian walkway. The driver was given a ticket and I have a broken leg, scratches, a large cut on face and my knee and hip continue to hurt. I do not believe my case is serious enough to need to hire a lawyer but I have no idea how to start writing a claim to the insurance company. They have agreed to pay medical bills, lost income, damaged property, pain and suffering. I'm just now sure how much to ask for so, how much should that be? I don't need a specific amount just a guide on how I should proceed. I've already talked to the insurance company over the phone, should I tell them to contact me by email instead? I just want everything to be fair. I am not trying to rip of the insurance company nor do I wish to be ripped off by them. Thank you.
Here is my answer.
That is an interesting question, but one without a quick and easy answers. There is no instruction manual for lawyers on how to handle a case. Nor is there any reference in any insurance claim manual saying, “Treat the injured person fairly.” Probably the only direction given is to save the insurance company money by paying as little as they can get away with in any given case.
Torts 101: In an injured person's personal injury claim, you have four elements to prove and they include: duty, a breach of duty, damages and a proximate cause to what the at-fault person did wrong.
So what should I tell this injured person? To answer this person directly, we don't just write a personal injury claim. You can make one, but from start to finish it is a process that takes months, not minutes to complete. No lawyer should have a quick recipe for filing a personal injury claim. Knowing what to do and how to do it takes years to learn. Doing it well takes well over ten years of hard work while making mistakes and learning to get better at it. After 30+ years do I still make mistakes? Yes I do and I’m constantly learning how to do it better. With over 33 years under my belt can I tell you a shortcut? No I can’t. There are no shortcuts to go from A to Z.
You must prove duty, a breach of duty, damages and a proximate cause between what the at-fault person did wrong and the injuries you suffered. You cannot save your case and save money on hiring a lawyer. In my experience even with paying a contngent fee people are paid more than what they get on their own. And no law book or lawyer can explain how to handle it yourself. To do so they would be guessing.
Every shortcut I know of means less compensation, not fair compensation.
So what should you do to “write a claim”?
Hire a competent personal injury lawyer who handles your type of an accident, injury and do it quick so you don’t lose valuable evidence. You can not possibly understand the complexities of insurance law for a personal injury claim.