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Got injured in a car accident? Here's what you need to know

Let's say you were driving your new Mercedes home from the office one Friday afternoon and got sideswiped by a semitruck. Your injuries were catastrophic, requiring extensive medical care, surgeries and in-home medical services.

You've been receiving the best medical care available, but it's exorbitantly expensive. The only way you can pay for these costs is to hold the at-fault driver financially responsible. What's involved in the personal injury claim process?

Basic information to know about personal injury claims

No matter what your injury claim is about, there are three primary ways to resolve it. You might (1) settle it out of court without filing a lawsuit, you'll (2) file a formal lawsuit and litigate the matter in civil court, or (3) you'll attempt to resolve the matter through alternative dispute resolution. Here is a little more information on these three strategies to resolve your case:

-- Filing a formal lawsuit: If you have a viable claim for personal injury damages, it usually means that another person or party was at fault for your injuries due to negligence, carelessness or unlawful behavior. When you can prove that a party's negligence proximately resulted in your injuries -- and associated financial damages -- you Minnesota civil court will usually demand that the at-fault party compensate you financially.

-- Informal settlement: Due to the threat of being sued, and the threat of being forced to pay monetary damages by the court, many at-fault parties will engage in good-faith settlement negotiations before you actually file a lawsuit. If you and the other party can see eye-to-eye during pre-suit negotiations, it may be possible to reach a fair settlement for your injuries and damages.

If a settlement cannot be negotiated, it will be necessary to file your lawsuit. Nevertheless, you may still be able to settle your claims before going to trial if the other party is willing to cooperate.

-- Alternative dispute resolution: At any time before or during your lawsuit, you might also want to consider an alternative dispute resolution process. This may, for example, involve the use of a mediator, during mediation proceedings, to assist you in reaching a settlement with the at-fault party in your case.

Preserve your right to file a personal injury claim as soon as possible

Statutes of limitation apply to all personal injury lawsuits. This means that you only have a limited amount of time within which to file your claim. If you have a viable claim for damages, you should, therefore, speak with a lawyer as soon as possible to begin your personal injury claim process before you run out of time.

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Law Office of Jeffrey A. Jones, PA

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