The Personal Injury Claims Process Explained

One of the most common questions we get from potential clients is, “What is the personal injury claims process?” In fact, it happens so often that our Georgia personal injury attorneys thought we’d provide a helpful explainer for those curious about what to expect as they pursue their claims. Do you still have questions? Then contact a personal injury lawyer at Geiger Legal Group, LLC today for a free consultation about your unique case and what it might entail.


Understanding Personal Injury Claims

A personal injury claim is a legal process in which an injured party seeks compensation from those responsible for their injuries. Many different incidents can give rise to a personal injury claim, from a motor vehicle collision to a slip-and-fall at a store to a defective product that hurts the user. If you suffered an injury that you would not have but for the behavior of another party, there’s a good chance you have grounds for a personal injury claim.

Immediate Steps After an Accident

In many ways, the personal injury claim process begins at the moment of injury. As such, taking specific steps in the aftermath of an accident is crucial to protect your rights and lay the groundwork for a potential personal injury lawsuit. Here’s what you should do:

  • Seek medical attention.
  • Report the accident to authorities.
  • Document the scene with your smartphone.
  • Ask witnesses for their contact information.
  • Notify your insurer, if relevant.
  • Never admit fault.
  • Keep careful records of your accident-related expenses.
  • Consult a personal injury attorney.

Following these steps gives you a head start on building a compelling case for compensation.

Seeking Legal Assistance

The sooner you consult an attorney after an accident, the better. Here are a few ways the team with Geiger Legal Group, LLC can help you with your personal injury lawsuit:

  • Evaluating Your Case: We start by assessing the accident details to determine your options for pursuing compensation.
  • Gathering Evidence: Next, we’ll collect crucial evidence such as accident reports, health records, medical bills, lost wages, and witness statements to determine what happened, who was to blame, and how much they cost you.
  • Handling Insurance Companies: Once we’ve interpreted the evidence, we’ll present it to the at-fault party’s insurer and negotiate toward a settlement that fairly compensates you for the full range of the harm you’ve suffered.
  • Representing You in Court: Settling out of court is the most common way for personal injury cases to resolve, as it saves time, money, and convenience. But in some cases, the only way to pursue full compensation for a client is to take their case to trial. If the at-fault party’s insurer refuses to make you a fair settlement offer, we won’t hesitate to file suit and take them to court, where we’ll present your case to a judge and jury.

Filing Your Personal Injury Claim

Once your attorney has investigated your injury and its cause, they will send the at-fault party and/or their insurer a demand letter stating what happened to you, why the at-fault party is to blame for it, and how much money it will take to make things right. The recipient of the letter can either agree to pay the amount you’ve demanded, refuse, or make a counteroffer. As such, the demand letter serves as an opening position for negotiations. If the at-fault party or their insurer refuses to make a fair settlement offer, your attorney can file a complaint in court, which begins the formal litigation process.

It’s important to note that there’s a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits in Georgia. This means you have two years from the accident date to file a lawsuit before losing your right to compensation. Therefore, you must act quickly. Starting early gives your attorney ample time to build a strong case, negotiate with insurance companies, and prepare for trial.

The Negotiation Process

After submitting a demand letter outlining their assembled evidence, your attorney and the insurance company will negotiate. Your attorney’s goal is to secure a settlement reflecting the full extent of your suffering, including immediate and future medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering.

There are a few potential outcomes in these negotiations. Ideally, the insurance company will offer a settlement both parties can agree on, thereby avoiding the need for a trial. However, your attorney may advise taking the personal injury case to court if the insurance company’s offer is too low or they deny the claim.

Going to Trial (If Necessary)

If the at-fault party or their insurer refuses to offer a fair settlement, your attorney will need to file a personal injury lawsuit against them. At this point, you become the plaintiff, and the allegedly at-fault party becomes the defendant. Both sides will present their arguments before a judge and, potentially, a jury, asking the court to serve as factfinder and decide whether the defendant is to blame for your injuries. If so, the court decides how much you are owed as a result of their negligence. 

Your attorney plays a crucial role during a personal injury trial. They are responsible for preparing and presenting your case compellingly. This includes questioning witnesses, cross-examining the defense’s witnesses, objecting when the defense attorneys step out of line, and making a persuasive closing argument to the court. Their ability to strategically present evidence and counter the defense’s arguments can significantly influence the trial’s outcome.

Receiving Compensation

If you accept the insurance company’s settlement or win in court, you will receive compensation. This money could be paid in full or over time in installments, depending on the circumstances. The money first goes to your attorney’s office, where the attorney deducts their agreed-upon fees. They also pay any outstanding medical bills or liens from the recovered amount. If the personal injury settlement or award is paid out in installments, these occur gradually over time.

After the Injury Claim – Moving Forward

With the legal process behind them, a plaintiff can concentrate on their well-being and future, supported by the financial resources their attorney helped them recover. For many people, this marks a period of readjustment, where they can start to rebuild their lives with a sense of closure and financial stability.

Contact Our Georgia Injury Lawyers Today

Now that you know how personal injury claims work, you know why working with an experienced personal injury attorney is so essential. Find out what Geiger Legal Group, LLC can do for you when you contact us today or reach out online for a free consultation.