Make a Personal Injury Compensation Claim For a Car Accident vs Slip and Fall Accident vs Dog Bite
Edited by Kathy McGraw, Maria Quinney
When you become injured because of someone else's negligence, whether it's from improper driving, failure to correct a foreseeable hazardous condition on their property, or a dog bite, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Compensation includes payment for your medical expenses, lost wages, if any, and pain and suffering. This article will show you how you can make a personal injury claim for car accidents, slip and falls, and dog bites.
Method 1: For a Car Accident
If you have been injured in a car accident through no fault of your own, you are entitled to be compensated for your damages as a result of the accident. Even if you were partially at fault, you are still entitled to receive some compensation. To recover any money from the other party's insurance carrier, you need to prove the following:
- The other party was at fault, or at least partially at fault for the accident;
- That you were injured as a result of the loss;
- And, that you suffered economic and general damages as a result of becoming injured. Economic damages are medical bills, bills for prescriptions, and any lost wages, while general damages are the pain and suffering you had because of your injuries.
Whenever you are involved in a car accident serious enough to cause an injury, even if it's just neck pain, make sure that you:
- 1Get the other driver's information. This is rule number one, for any car wreck, regardless if anyone was injured or not. Make sure that you get the other party's name, address, phone number, drivers license number, and insurance information.Advertisement
- 2Don't talk about liability. The accident scene is not the place sort out whose fault the accident was. Save discussions of fault for your conversations with the adjuster.Advertisement
- 3Take pictures of the scene and damage. Since you have a camera right on your smart phone, use it to snap pictures of the scene of the accident and the damage to all the vehicles involved. If your vehicle cannot be moved from the point of impact, be sure to get pictures before the tow truck arrives.
- 4Get a police report. In most cases, the police will not respond to the scene of an accident unless there are injuries and/or there are vehicles impeding the flow of traffic. Consequently, make sure that you let the dispatcher know that you are injured. Getting a police report is very important because the police will interview everyone at the scene when their memories are the freshest and will get witness information that you can use to prove fault. The police often make an at fault assessment, as well, which is useful in proving fault in contested cases.
- 5Seek treatment as soon as possible. Don't wait to start treating your injury. You may not need to visit the emergency room for soft tissue injuries, such as whiplash, but you should see your doctor the very next day and follow their instructions about subsequent care. It is important to do this because the amount of your damage award depends on the severity of your injury. You must document that you were in fact injured and that you are suffering because of it.
- 6Make a claim under the other party's insurance policy. If you are not the at fault party, you can opt to make a direct claim with the other party's insurance rather than making one under your auto policy. When you call, have all of the information about the accident in front of you, such as your copy of the police report, if you have it, the information you gathered at the scene, such as the other party's name, the make, and model of their car, etc. Be sure to report that you were injured and that you are under treatment.
- 7Be careful when you are giving a statement. As part of their liability investigation, the claims adjuster will want to take your statement. It's usually done over the phone and is recorded. The adjuster will ask you a series of questions about the accident and your injuries. Always be truthful, but don't volunteer too much information. The adjuster will be looking for any reason for reducing the amount that they have to pay out, and they may try to trap you into admitting partial fault or minimizing your injuries.
- 8Keep records of doctor visits and prescriptions.Make a file for your injury claim and keep copies of your medical bills. Also, keep copies of any treatment notes or prescriptions you receive. When you have completed active treatment, you will need to get a copy of your medical records for your treatment. You will most likely have to pay a fee to get this information, but it's necessary for making your claim. You are entitled to be compensated for this expense.
- 9Negotiate a settlement. The final step in making a personal injury claim is to negotiate a settlement with the adjuster. The adjuster will have looked at your medical records and bills and will come up with a number, usually a low one for a first offer. Don't be afraid to counter offer and to explain why you believe that your claim is worth more.
- 10Get a lawyer. Sometimes, the insurance adjuster is not able or willing to pay you what your claim is worth. They may try to reduce your damages by telling you that you were partially at fault, even if you weren't, or minimize your injury to reduce their offer. If you come to an impasse, it's time to hire an attorney to fight on your behalf.
Method 2: For a Slip and Fall Accident
Whether you slip and fall at a neighbor's house or at your local grocery store because of a hazard on the property, such as uneven pavement or wet floors, you may be able to get your medical bills covered and be compensated for your pain and suffering as a result of your injury. To recover from a slip and fall claim, you must prove:
- That the property owner or an employee should have known about the hazardous condition that contributed to your fall and done something to correct it, or;
- That the property owner or employee's actions caused the hazardous condition and should have known that it was likely to cause an injury.
- 1Make an incident report with security. If you fell in a store or other business, be sure to file an incident report with the security office for the building or location you were in when you fell. It serves the same function as a police report and will help you in your evidence gathering for proving your case to the insurance carrier later on.Advertisement
- 2Talk to the witnesses if any. If anyone saw you fall, talk to them right away and get their information. This should be included in the incident report, but in case it isn't, it's a good idea for you to obtain it yourself.
- 3Make note visible hazards. Carefully look around and note any hazards in the area where you fell. Note the general condition of the property, as well.
- 4Take pictures of the location where you fell. Whether you will prevail in your slip and fall claim comes down to whether or not you can prove that the property owner or employee was liable due to negligence. Having pictures taken contemporaneously with the date of your accident will help you to prove your claim.
- 5Follow steps 5 through 10 from Method 1.
Method 3: For a Dog Bite
While we love our pooches, we have to remember that they are animals, and at the end of the day, they are unpredictable. According to HG. Org, every year 800,000 people are bitten by dogs and receive injuries serious enough to require medical attention. If you have been bitten by a dog and were injured. As a result, you are entitled to make a claim under the dog owner's homeowner's insurance policy for compensation of your damages.
What you have to prove depends on whether they state you live in is a strict liability state for dog bites or not. Typically, if you live in a strict liability state, you don't need to prove that the dog owner was negligent to recover. In non-strict liability states, the laws vary. Here is a listing of strict liability states as well as information on the various state laws regarding dog bites. Be sure to research the laws in your state before making a dog bite claim.
- 1Get the dog owner's information. Most dog bites occur in the owner's home, so this is pretty straightforward in most cases. However, if it occurs on the street or another public place, you will need to make sure that the person controlling the dog is the owner, and be sure to get the name of the owner if it is different.
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