Personal injury cases usually involve a scenario where the victim, plaintiff, or claimant was injured in some sort of accident or event in which another person, business, or entity is at fault.
Most of these claims arise from negligence or carelessness on the part of one or many defendants. Sometimes the injury arises from recklessness or intentional action or lack of action on the part of the defendants. Common personal injury claims arise from these types of encounters:
- Car accidents where one vehicle collided into another occupied vehicle or pedestrian;
- “Slip and fall” accidents where the victim fell and was hurt while lawfully on someone’s property including establishments open to the public;
- Other accidents or incidents that caused an injury due to the property owner failing to make the area safe when legally required to do so;
- Accidents where the person injured would not have been injured but for the defendant’s negligence or other unlawful behavior;
- Mechanical, maintenance or design failures in vehicles, machines, etc. that caused an injury to the user;
- Defective products that harmed the user or someone near the user; and/or
- Employers may be liable for work injuries if they failed to make the workplace and tools safe.
- What are My Responsibilities in Notifying Responsible Parties for My Personal Injury Claim?
- Who are the Responsible Parties in My Personal Injury Claim?
- How Do I Provide Adequate Notice to Responsible Parties for My Personal Injury Claim?
- How Long Do I Have to Notify Responsible Parties?
- What Happens if I Do Not Notify Responsible Parties for My Personal Injury Claim?
- Should I Consult a Lawyer About Notifying Responsible Parties for My Personal Injury Case?
As the victim or plaintiff in a personal injury case, you must do certain things in a timely manner in order to file a lawsuit or in order to hold the defendant liable for your injury. One of those responsibilities is to timely notify all responsible parties for your personal injury.
In order to file a lawsuit or make other claims for compensation of your injuries, the person who may be at fault has the right to be notified of your injury. More importantly, if you fail to notify a responsible party, you may be barred from collecting compensation from that party.
Depending on the type of accident or incident that caused your injury, there may be more than one or many responsible parties. You should notify any and all possible persons, businesses, companies, or other entities that you think may be responsible for what happened to you.
Depending on the kind of accident or incident, you may be able to recover all of your compensation from only one responsible party or many. If you fail to notify any one of the responsible parties you may wind up with an inability to collect the full amount due to you.
Common examples of responsible parties can include the following:
- Driver and/or owner of a vehicle that hit you;
- Insurance company that insures the defendant;
- Employers who may be responsible if the incident occurred at your workplace or occurred while the defendant was performing a job task;
- Store or other business where you fell or were otherwise injured; and/or
- Companies responsible for manufacturing, designing or distributing a defective device.
Some companies may use a standard form for you to complete if you were injured like an employee who was injured at work. However, there is no requirement to follow a specific notice format.
You simply need to write a basic typed letter, that provides the following information:
- Your name and contact information;
- Date of the accident or incident;
- Time of the accident or incident;
- Place of the accident or incident;
- The fact that you sustained an injury or injuries; and
- A request that they respond to your letter.
Be careful not to include too many details. Because injuries can change over time, do not give information of the extent of your injury or a detailed account of the accident or incident.
This is only the beginning of the investigation to your claim and you may not even have all the details of what happened to you. Do not discuss who is at fault or place blame; again you may not have all the accurate information yet of what took place when you were injured.
Some states may have guidelines to follow, but in most cases there is not a specific timeline. Sending notice should be within two weeks of the accident or incident to ensure that any claim for compensation made later is protected.
If you fail to timely notify responsible parties or forget to notify altogether, you will likely be barred from suing that party later or collecting compensation from them even if they were at fault or responsible for your injury.
Yes, it is best to talk with a personal injury lawyer in your area about your potential claim and next steps. A lawyer can draft notices, lawsuit filings and inform you of the validity of your claim if it goes forward. They can also represent you against all responsible parties for your personal injury case.