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Why people should not handle their own personal injury claims

Accidents often cause permanent and traumatic injuries. Seeking damages without a strong ally can have negative consequences: Here is why.

Personal injury claims are common in West Virginia, ranging from motor vehicle accidents, slips and falls or exposure to harmful environments, such as working in a coal mine. People who sustain injuries in these types of accidents may have a long road of medical expenses and appointments ahead. Things get even more complicated when pursuing a personal injury claim, however.

People who try to handle their own personal injury claims may be cheating themselves from getting a more favorable settlement.

Knowing who to pursue

Typically, a personal injury claim is a civil matter between one injured person, known as a plaintiff, and a defendant, who is usually an insurance agency. For example, in a car accident, the injured person may seek damages from the insurance policy of the at-fault driver. In a slip-and-fall case, the defendant could end up being the company responsible for maintaining the building where the incident occurred.

A personal injury attorney is familiar with the different agencies and how to go about pursuing the policy limits of insurance policies.

Identifying the type of claim

In West Virginia in 2018, about 20% of fatal occupational injuries were due to “exposure to harmful substances or environments,” with the most culpable industry being private mining. Due to the great prevalence of coal mines in West Virginia, many miners suffer injuries resulting from unsafe working conditions, or end up with a pernicious lung disease known as “black lung.”

When people suffer harm as a result of their job, they may be able to pursue a workers’ compensation claim, or a personal injury claim, or both. A personal injury attorney can look at the situation and recommend an efficient course of action.

Maximizing the value of a claim

No attorney can promise to get someone “the best” settlement. However, the fact remains that someone who has spent years, and who has helped thousands of clients with similar issues, will have more experience in estimating the value of a claim.

Another thing to keep in mind is that a significant injury involves many medical appointments, including, in some cases, expensive imaging, hospital and specialist visits, and surgeries. A personal injury attorney’s office can help keep track of all of these providers, order up the records, and sort through what is relevant to a claim with the goal of reimbursing the injured person for every penny they can manage.

When standing up against a negligent party, there is no better time to have a skilled ally.