Claim: Legal Definition
As a verb, “claim” means to put forth a formal demand for money that is due as a remedy from an injury suffered. As a noun, “claim” is a demand for something that is due, usually in a written format.
Personal Injury Claims
Personal injury claims take many forms spurred by a wide range of incidents that ultimately cause a person to be injured, and therefore to suffer economic and non-economic damages for which the individual seeks compensation.
The amount of compensation that the individual seeks in a claim depends on the various ways in which the person was injured, the extent of the injuries, and the amount of damages that result from those injuries.
The injured party in a personal injury case works through a series of steps to recover damages.
Step 1: Establish Negligence
Personal injury law states that if you suffer a personal injury caused by another party’s negligence, you can seek compensation for your injury and/or damages from the at-fault and negligent party.
The operative term, “negligence,” is proven via the establishment of four fundamental components:
- Duty of Care: One party (the Defendant) owed a duty of care to take reasonable steps to prevent another person (the Plaintiff) from suffering injury or harm.
- Breach of Duty: The Defendant failed, through action or inaction, to uphold the Duty of Care.
- Causation: The Defendant’s breach of duty caused an incident (an accident, for example) that resulted in the Plaintiff suffering injuring or taking on damages.
- Damages: The injuries caused by the Defendant resulted in the Plaintiff’s bodily harm, emotional harm, and/or financial harm.
A personal injury lawyer should have the resources, knowledge, and strategy to devise a substantial claim of negligence based on addressing the above components thoughtfully and in a compelling manner.
Step 2: Determining Damages in a Personal Injury Claim
Once you and your lawyer have established negligence, you will need to craft a far-reaching and complete list of damages you will seek to recover via your claim.
Damages can be:
- Economic – These are your financial losses, such as medical expenses, lost wages, physical therapy, diminished potential earnings, etc.
- Noneconomic – These relate to the intangible ways in which you suffered, including emotional distress and pain and suffering—even the loss of companionship.
Step 3: Filing a Claim with the At-Fault Party’s Insurance Provider
Before you dash to the courthouse, you might consider trying to settle your claim out of court. You can file a third-party claim against the liable party’s insurer. Your lawyer will send this insurance company a demand letter outlining the recoverable damages you wish to receive. The insurance company will respond in one of three ways:
- Accept and pay the claim
- Make a counter-offer (your attorney will negotiate to agreeable and fair terms)
- Deny the claim (your attorney can proceed on to a filing a lawsuit in civil court)
Step 4: Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Civil Court
If you find yourself contemplating or nearing Step 4, be aware of your state’s statute of limitations which limit the time you have to file a lawsuit following the date of the incident that caused your injuries.
Your lawyer will take the evidence resulting from his/her investigation of your accident and litigate on your behalf in a civil court for your fair compensation. A judge or jury will deliberate and determine the amount of damages you are owed.
An Arizona Personal Injury Lawyer Will Talk to You About Your Claim
Zanes Law would like to talk to you about your personal injury claim. We will do everything from A to Z to see that you are compensated in the manner you deserve. You pay nothing unless and until you are compensated, and the initial consultation costs you nothing but the time it takes to talk through your case. Call our firm today at 866-499-8989.