If you’ve suffered an injury as a result of someone else’s wrongdoing, you’re far from alone. Unfortunately, there are over 39.5 million personal injury cases filed every year, and many victims do not receive the compensation they deserve. However, there are steps you can take to ensure that you receive a fair outcome for your case. Here’s where to start.
Visit a Doctor Right Away
Seek medical treatment right away if you experience a personal injury, regardless of the cause. If you plan to pursue a personal injury claim, you will need to show medical documentation to demonstrate that you’ve suffered an injury. Remember, seeking medical attention comes before any other step in personal injury cases. Not only can it hurt your case if you skip this step, but it could lead to worsening conditions involving your injury. If that’s the unfortunate case, it could become more difficult to prove that the incident caused these worsening symptoms.
Keep a Record
Not maintaining a record of your medical documents or contacts with the prospective defendant is one of the most common mistakes in personal injury cases. Make sure that you keep a record of all materials relevant to your case. One of the best things you can do as soon as possible is to write down your memory of the events that took place. There’s a saying that if it happened and you didn’t write it down, then it didn’t happen. Our memories change over time. The sooner you can write down exactly what happened as objectively as possible, the better.
From there, save any new document that may prove to be relevant to your case. This includes medical records, contacts with the responsible parties, the contact information of witnesses, and anything else related to your case. The more you have, the easier it will be to make your case. Also, we recommend documenting the effects of your injuries over time. This can be as informal as a handwritten journal, but it can make a world of difference for your case. Keep track of pain, doctor visits, treatments, and your condition as it improves or worsens. This should also include the effect that it has on your life. Has your injury forced you to miss work, forego important family obligations, or make dramatic lifestyle changes? If so, write it down.
What Are Some Common Mistakes That Happen When Filing a Personal Injury Claim?
Finally, let’s wrap up with some common mistakes plaintiffs make in personal injury cases. Here’s what you should avoid to ensure that you receive fair compensation.
Not Vetting Your Attorney
Always investigate your attorney’s background and feel free to ask for references from previous clients. Fortunately, we live in the digital age where access to reviews is only a click away.
Check online reviews on Google, Yelp, or other platforms to gauge previous client satisfaction. Remember to read the reviews, as a one-star or five-star rating is meaningless without context.
More importantly, make sure to check their website and ensure that they practice in the field you’re pursuing. You don’t want an unspecialized attorney to handle a personal injury case, as they require advanced knowledge and experience, and negligence is not always easy to prove.
Not Asking Questions
You have an attorney for a reason; to help you with your case. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is not to ask questions. Remember, there’s no such thing as a stupid question in this context. Your attorney doesn’t expect you to have advanced legal knowledge. If everyone did, why would they hire them? If you have questions about your case, potential compensation, alternatives, or any laws or legal procedures, ask away! The more you know about your case, the better.
Waiting Too Long
Waiting too long to contact an attorney can hurt your chances of winning your case. If you’ve suffered bodily injury as a result of somebody else’s negligence, then there is no time to waste. At the very least, you should consult with an attorney right away to discuss the merits of your case. While the statute of limitations is several years in most states for personal injury cases, it won’t help your case if you wait too long. This can lead to a lack of witnesses, questions about the delay from the prosecution, or a lengthy trial.
Conversely, acting now could lead to a quick settlement offer out of court and the compensation you need. You just have to take the first step!
How Can a Lawyer Help Avoid Mistakes When Pursuing a Personal Injury Claim?
Before filing a claim, it’s essential to hire a lawyer and talk to them about your claim. An experienced personal injury attorney knows the laws and can help you achieve the best possible outcome when filing a claim. Moreover, they can also go over the details with you at length. This will help you understand the legal ground of your case and some of the challenges with filing a suit.
Before bringing your case to court, you may want to consider an initial settlement offer. It’s still helpful to bring your relevant documents and materials to the attention of the responsible party. From there, you will need to contact an attorney and try to settle this out of court.
If you need to cover your medical expenses now, then a lengthy trial is the last thing you need. Sure, you can receive backpay and compensation for other issues with a long trial, but the sooner you can be done with it, the better.
That’s not to suggest that you should take their settlement offer no matter what. However, it’s best to pursue appropriate compensation outside of court initially to see if you can avoid a lengthy legal process.
Do Insurance Companies Try to Take Advantage of You During a Personal Injury Claim?
Whether intentionally or unintentionally on the behalf of insurance companies, you may not get the outcome you want or deserve in a personal injury case. Here are a few examples to cover.
If Someone’s Negligence Led to Injury
This covers a broad spectrum of possible outcomes. However, if you suffered an injury as a result of negligence on the behalf of another party, you are likely entitled to compensation.
Moreover, this can be a result of a slip and fall without a “wet floor” sign visible, a motor vehicle accident caused by neglect, or a host of other possibilities. Regardless of the circumstances, if your injury was preventable by the responsible party, this is generally the means to file suit.
If You’re at Fault for an Accident
Car accidents are far from the only personal injury claims, but they are the most common. Over 4.8 million car accidents result in injury every year in the US, and the way insurance companies handle this varies widely. In some cases, insurance won’t cover medical expenses if you’re at fault for a motor vehicle accident. This may cause you to use your health insurance, personal injury insurance (PIP), Medpay, or out-of-pocket payment.
Therefore, if you were deemed at fault or partially at fault for the accident, you may need to file a suit against your insurance company. If they refuse to give you adequate coverage due to your perceived fault in an accident, and if the other party is uninsured or underinsured, then you may need to bring your case before a judge. This is especially important if you live in a no-fault state, as refusing coverage would be a violation of state law.
If Another Driver Is at Fault
If the other driver is at fault, then you may sue them or their insurance company for damages (your insurance provider will likely pursue this) including medical expenses, damages, and potentially more depending on the circumstances that led to the accident. Although, if the other driver is uninsured or underinsured, you will need to file a claim through your own insurance. This is called uninsured motorist coverage, which most car insurance plans have. Again, if you are denied this coverage, then it’s worth speaking to a lawyer about your case.
How Soon Should I Seek Legal Counsel With a Personal Injury Claim?
Now that you know how to handle personal injury claims for the best results, follow these steps and get the compensation you deserve. It isn’t greedy to want fair compensation for someone else’s negligence, especially if it led to an injury on your part. Get the help you need today and file
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