A claim is the amount the victim of a personal injury demands to compensate for the damages he has suffered. It is difficult to assess precisely the value of an injury a person endures due to the action or negligence of another person. The medical bills form a tangible source. But how does one quantify the mental agony and emotional stress? In severe injury cases the assistance of an expert may be required to tabulate this.
Invariably the insurance companies try to avoid payment, or to pay as little as possible. They have a system of evaluating a claim and may, if they don’t reject it outright, initially offer a nominal amount as settlement. This is the basis from which negotiations start. Unless the victim or his lawyer is fully prepared, he is likely to end up with a raw deal. In severe injury cases, the victim may not be in a position to attend to the details. In such a situation the job has to be left to a competent lawyer.
It would be advisable for the victim to note down all the details relating the event that resulted in the injury, as soon as he can. The lawyer may filter these to suit his strategy. The points to be considered while preparing a claim include medical expenses before the claim is submitted, being met at that time, and projected, pay loss due to absence from work, damage to the vehicle or other property, mental anguish, and trauma. The field is vast. A claim can even include damage caused by forced abstinence from sexual relations.
To win a favorable verdict, the victim has to prove that the injury was caused by the defendant’s failure to act with reasonable care. The stronger the case, it is easier to negotiate with the insurance company. A victim should never allow himself to be browbeaten by the insurance adjusters. But the entire process should be conducted bearing in mind that a settlement may not materialize, and the case may go to trial.
The victim should be careful not to allow the negotiations to drag on interminably. There is a time limit of two years from the date of injury to file a claim. If it is against a government agency, the limit is only six months. There are authoritative books on the subject by experts. They would be useful.