How the Personal Injury Claim Process Works
Written by Joseph A. Nagy, Edmonton Injury Lawyer
I am Joseph A. Nagy, and I am an experienced Edmonton injury lawyer serving central and northern Alberta. Personal injury law is my business, which means I have daily experience with the personal injury claim process.
I receive many inquiries from people who have tried unsuccessfully to complete the required steps in the personal injury claim process themselves. They start out believing they can settle their claim with the insurance company by themselves. Inevitably, they require a lawyer to file a Statement of Claim with the Court to protect their right to sue. By then, however, they have already prejudiced their case by releasing critical information to the insurance company, information that they did not have to provide. This critical mistake makes it more difficult for an injury lawyer to protect their interests. My advice: get personal injury law advice up front!
If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, please call (780) 760-4878 (HURT) or contact me, Joseph A. Nagy, to discuss the injury claim process and how to deal with the insurance company. Just ask for a free consultation. You are under no obligation to hire me as your personal injury lawyer.
Learn more about how the personal injury claim process works. These client testimonials may also help you understand the importance of having a qualified injury lawyer in your corner to help you through the personal injury claim process.
Personal Injury Claim Stages
The personal injury claim process has two main stages: the insurer stage and the litigation (trial) stage. Rather than going to trial, however, your personal injury claim may be resolved through Alternative Dispute Resolution.
In the insurer stage, your lawyer will deal directly with an insurance adjuster.
In the litigation stage, your lawyer will deal with a lawyer hired by the insurance company after a lawsuit has been filed. A trial may follow.
In Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), your lawyer will help you resolve your claim without having to go to a trial.
Personal Injury Claim: Insurer Stage
With very few exceptions, your claim must be settled within 2 years of the date of your accident. If your claim can be resolved directly with the insurer without having to resort to litigation, then there is no need to litigate. I have successfully settled thousands of personal injury claims without having to litigate.
Obtaining the best possible compensation for my clients requires a pro-active approach to obtaining all of the medical, wage loss, and other information I might need to prove your claim to the insurer. For more information, see my injury law team experts. To find out how I use these experts to obtain maximum compensation for my clients, see Why I Use Personal Injury Experts to Build an Injury Case
I guide my clients through the important steps required at the insurer stage. These steps include:
- follow up with your doctor’s recommended treatment
- attend upon any expert assessments
- co-ordinate your Section B benefits so that your medical treatment is paid for and your disability benefits are in place.
Reasons a Claim Cannot Be Resolved at the Insurer Stage
Generally, insurance companies and clients want to avoid costly litigation. Litigation can be a stressful experience and a lengthy drawn-out process. In some cases, however, claims cannot be resolved at the insurer stage. The main reasons why a claim cannot be resolved with the insurer include:
- you have not reached maximum medical improvement
- the adjuster does not want to pay you a reasonable amount for your injuries, harms, and losses
- the adjuster believes your claim is subject to the Minor Injury Regulation—a Statement of Claim must be filed at the Court house usually within 2 years; call (780) 760-4878 (HURT) or contact Joseph A. Nagy for exceptions to this rule
- the adjuster is disputing contributory negligence; causation of your injuries, harms, and losses; who’s at fault for the accident; or the seriousness of your injuries, harms, and losses.
Personal Injury Claim: Litigation Stage
In the litigation stage, the insurance company of the party responsible for your injuries hires a lawyer to defend your claim. As your personal injury lawyer, I will exchange relevant records with the other lawyer.
Then, a procedure called a “questioning” will occur at one of the lawyer’s offices.
- In advance of this questioning, I will have prepared you to make you comfortable with the procedure.
- During the questioning, a court reporter will be present.
- Parties will be sworn under oath to tell the truth.
- I will question the party at fault for your accident.
- The insurance company lawyer will question you.
Further document production will likely arise out of the questioning, and a second questioning may be held. Questions may then be asked pertaining to the information that was not available at the original questioning. The insurance company’s lawyer may require you to attend one or more Defence Medical Examinations. Expert reports are exchanged and your case can be scheduled for trial.
Trial is the final stage of the litigation process. Most personal injury cases, however, settle without trial.
Personal Injury Claim Process: Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) refers to various ways of resolving your claim without having to go to a trial. Settlement can occur at any time without resort to an ADR process. The two most common forms of ADR in personal injury claims are mediation, and Judicial Dispute Resolution (JDR). Both forms of ADR are “without prejudice”, which means what is said in the mediation cannot be held against you at some later date for any purpose (usually trial).
In mediation, a trained mediator helps the parties come to a resolution by identifying the interests of the parties and developing strategies that meet those interests. This type of mediation is referred to as “interest-based mediation.” Mediation is effective when the parties are not far apart on the issues and when an evaluative approach is not required.
A JDR occurs at a Courthouse before a Judge in a private setting (not inside a Court room). The lawyers prepare written briefs for the Judge. The lawyers make submissions, and the Judge may have a few questions for the parties. The Judge addresses the strengths and weaknesses of the arguments on both sides and informally “evaluates” the case. JDR is very useful when one or more parties need to have a Judge’s informal opinion on a matter or complex legal issue.
Personal Injury Claim Process: Conclusion
Having a skilled and experienced lawyer on your side is vital to the successful resolution of your case. If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, you should protect yourself by calling me as soon as possible after your accident so we can discuss your case. Call (780) 760-4878 (HURT) or contact me, Joseph A. Nagy, to discuss the steps I can recommend to ensure your injury claim is handled to your maximum benefit.
Joseph Nagy and his firm really helped me alot in terms of getting all the medical diagnosis and help needed. This firm helped me in all the little steps from time to time and provided me the right legal advice. More than case study its really important to get right medical help and getting proper financial aid in recovery . This firm hepled me alot in pointing at right direction at right time which helped me in recovery without any halt or finacial problem.
I cannot stress enough to anyone reading this that finding a lawyer and medical care is really important in first few days and it can affect your process and assistance in recovery . I made a mistake of going to a lawyer and not taking any accident and injuries seriously in first few days . After meeting Joseph naggy i got to know that i have a TMJ and other few related problems because of my accident which i would have ignored because of not seeking right medical help. Try not to make same mistake as mine. Seek legal and medical help ASAP after getting into an accident.
After the accident I was hesitant to call an injury lawyer. My first conversation with Joe however made me realize that I had made the right decision. He was understanding, straightforward, and clearly interested in helping us through this traumatic event.
Joe and his staff made this daunting experience, far easier than I ever could have imagined.
I was very satisfied with the outcome of my case and I would recommend Joseph Nagy to anyone that needs help with their injury claims.