When you have a serious injury due to someone else’s negligence, you will be facing hospital and doctor’s bills, the cost of medication, and ongoing therapy treatments. You will be hurt, unable to work, and in a great deal of pain.
So what should you do? Should you sue the person who caused you to be injured?
For most minor injuries, suing is the last resort. Typically suing is only considered when negotiations fail and other methods, such as arbitration and mediation, have been exhausted.
However, it’s not the only way to get compensation. Whether you’re trying to avoid attorney’s fees or you dislike confrontation, here are a few ways you can try to get money for your injury without suing:
Make a Complaint or Claim
Did you get injured at a store? Talk to the manager. Some stores will have claims procedures where you can file a complaint and request compensation.
Did you slip and fall at a government building? While you may be able to sue for damages, most state statutes will require you to file a government tort claim with the appropriate agency first. You can only sue for damages after the government agency has denied your claim.
Were you injured at work? Workers’ compensation will help cover your medical bills and lost wages. When you’re injured, notify your employer of the injury, and the HR department will give you forms to fill out to file a claim. This is not a lawsuit. Unless your claim gets denied for not being a work-related injury, you’ll likely see some money without ever having to go to court.
Call Your Insurance
Sometimes, you need money to pay your medicals bills sooner rather than later. Suing can take months or years, and enforcing a judgment can take even longer. If you have health or car insurance, you should consider calling your insurer first. Your insurance will usually cover your medical costs, and then sue the other side for reimbursement. Leave the legal rigmarole to your insurance company.
If you find dealing with the insurance company daunting, a lawyer can help you negotiate. Don’t worry if you can’t afford to go to trial. Many lawyers will work with you to get a settlement so that you can avoid the cost of trial.
Threaten to Sue First
Just because you don’t want to sue, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t threaten to sue. Write a demand letter to the other party. List out your injuries, your costs and damages, and what you want them to do. Sometimes, companies and people will negotiate with you after receiving a demand letter because they want to avoid a lawsuit just as much as you do.
Even if you do want to avoid suing, don’t be afraid to call an attorney. An attorney’s experience dealing with personal injury cases, negotiating with insurance, and writing demand letters can actually make it easier for you to get compensation without having to file a lawsuit.