If you've suffered severe injuries and sustained damages in an accident, winning your personal injury lawsuit can make or break your future. Once you've decided to file a personal injury claim, you need to do everything in your power to maximize your potential compensation.
A critical part of rehabilitation is ensuring you have the help of a personal injury attorney. But, what you do after your accident matters, and there are certain things you can do to make the most of your personal injury lawsuit.
Understanding what aspects of your personal injury case are in your control can help you get the maximum amount possible while working with your personal injury attorney.
Below are several ways to maximize compensation in your personal injury case.
Table of Contents
- What is a Personal Injury Attorney?
- Preserve Evidence From Your Personal Injury Accident
- Have a Specific Settlement Amount in Mind for the Insurance Company
- Be Detailed With Your Losses and Damages
- Get Medical Treatment for Your Accident Injuries
- Don't Jump at the First Settlement Offer
- Pick the Right Personal Injury Lawyer
What is a Personal Injury Attorney?
Personal injury attorneys provide legal representation to those injured by a negligent party. Most of the time, the negligent party does not intentionally harm the injured party, but a lawyer still needs to hold the responsible party accountable for their actions.
They strive to get their clients the maximum compensation for their injuries. Personal injury attorneys have years of experience dealing with insurance corporations and have streamlined their approach to the negotiation process, claims process, and litigation process.
Types of Accidents Personal Injury Law Firms Handle:
Traffic Accident Injuries- Traffic accidents are the most common personal injuries. Commercial truck accidents and car accidents are the most worked cases for personal injury attorneys. According to the United States Department of Transportation's Highway Administration, as of 2019, there were 229 million licensed drivers in the United States. Traffic accidents are highly probable if you drive.
Motorcycle Accidents- Getting into an accident on a motorcycle is usually worse than if you were to get in a wreck behind the wheel of a car. Riding a motorcycle does not offer the same protection as a car. Injuries are usually severe or fatal. Loss of limbs, head injuries, spinal cord damage, paralysis, lacerations, road rash, and multiple fractures can happen to the biker.
Bicycle Accidents- Like motorcycle accidents, bike accidents can be fatal as well. Bikes do not offer the same protection as a car, and the injuries sustained can be severe.
Pedestrian Accidents- Drivers who fail to pay attention, are under the influence, or are texting and driving account for most pedestrian-related car accidents. As a pedestrian, it is very important to properly use crosswalks and sidewalks to avoid accidents. If a car traveling 40 mph hits a pedestrian, there is an 85 percent chance the injuries could be fatal.
Medical Malpractice- When a physician or another medical professional provides negligent treatment or treatment that is below the standard of care. The patient becomes injured because of the negligence. Medical malpractice cases can be tricky to prove, which is why you should contact an experienced attorney that deals with medical lawsuits.
Birth Injuries- Cases of cerebral palsy, Erb's Palsy, hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, or broken bones can cause disability, developmental delays, or in some cases, death. A skilled attorney has to find the doctor negligent for causing the birth injury.
Workplace Accidents- Common at jobs where employees are in dangerous situations. First responder, factory, warehouse, and construction accidents are some of the most widespread.
Slip and Fall Accidents- Filing a suit against a negligent property owner to hold them accountable. Property conditions must be deemed unsafe and the cause of your injury.
Wrongful Death- Wrongful death can come out of any of the personal injury categories. Cases may come as a result of a traffic accident involving a drunk or negligent driver or a defective vehicle part, such as airbags that failed to deploy in an accident. Other cases of wrongful death include public transportation accidents, assaults, and slip and fall accidents. The accused party needs to be deemed negligent, and the accident must be the reason for the death.
Preserve Evidence From Your Personal Injury Accident
The adjusters or the jury will decide your case by reviewing the evidence. The other party will always decide whether to offer you a fair settlement based on the strength of your case and the evidence it is built on.
That means the more you can do to preserve and gather proof, the more you will increase your chance of winning your case.
Take photos of the accident scene and all visible injuries if you can. This means taking pictures before moving any cars out of the way. A police officer will want to see the placement of the vehicles so they can accurately write a police report.
Collect names and contact information of witnesses and anyone involved in the accident. This includes vehicle insurance details.
Call the police so you can get a police report. Make sure to request a copy as soon as possible.
Your accident lawyer can look into this information and collect detailed witness statements and prepare the case.
Have a Specific Settlement Amount in Mind for the Insurance Company
When you put together your personal injury settlement demand letter with your attorney, you decide together what you believe your personal injury lawsuit is worth. This means determining a minimum settlement figure you would accept before offers and counter-offers start going back and forth.
The demand letter needs to be drawn out before speaking demands with the insurance adjuster. This "amount" is for you and your attorney's eyes only, not something you reveal to the adjuster. And remember, you don't have to stick to the figure you initially set for yourself.
If the adjuster points out things you had not considered that weaken your legal claim, you may have to lower your minimum figure. But, if the adjuster starts with a low settlement offer or a number at or near your minimum, or if you discover evidence that makes your claim stronger, you may want to raise your minimum.
Be Detailed With Your Losses and Damages
The more detailed you can be, and the more information you have about your injuries and damages, the more likely you will obtain a full and fair settlement. Even include the details that you may not think are important to the case.
Your attorney will have you contribute to the demand letter they send to the at-fault party's defense attorney. You will need to list every consequence of the accident and how it has affected your day-to-day quality of life.
For example, the degree of pain you deal with daily, how your family is suffering emotionally and financially because of your injury, and your emotional damages are all essential and should be thoroughly detailed.
Types of Personal Injury Damages You Lawyer Will Consider:
Property Damage- This includes damage to your vehicle, anything inside your vehicle, hiring a rental car, towing expenses, and taxi or rideshare bills to and from the tow yard or repair shop.
Medical Expenses- Following an auto accident, you may be required to pay for a hospital stay, ambulance rides, X-rays or other imaging, specialist appointments, surgical procedures, chiropractic visits, or physical therapy. Treatment bills can add up, especially if you have long-term damages. A knowledgeable lawyer will account for future medical bills as well.
Lost Income- The injured accident victim is entitled to financial compensation for any lost income because the plaintiff had to miss work or receive treatment because of the injury. Vacation days should be compensated if the plaintiff had to use those days because of the accident.
Pain and Suffering- A type of non-economic damage that is more subjective. A judge will consider the physical pain, physical discomfort, anxiety, mental anguish, or any other psychological effects caused by the injury.
Emotional Distress- When an accident influences a patient's mental health. A mental health provider needs to diagnose and treat this type of claim.
Wrongful Death- This type of lawsuit is filed by a family member of someone killed due to someone else's negligence. A lawyer could argue for damages to cover medical bills, funeral and burial costs, pain and suffering during the accident, loss of expected income had they lived, and loss of care the deceased would have provided. Loss of care refers to if the victim had young children, a parent, or a spouse to look after.
Loss of Consortium- These are relationship damages suffered by the injured accident victim's spouse, partner, or family member. sometimes this is meant to compensate a spouse for the loss of a physical or sexual relationship
Punitive Damages- This type of damage is awarded to the plaintiff and is intended to punish the defendant. Punitive damages make an example out of the defendant because of atrocious behavior.
An experienced lawyer can assist in creating a detailed, itemized list of the ways your accident has impacted your life.
Get Medical Treatment for Your Accident Injuries
Winning your personal injury case means you received a reasonable settlement for your injuries and other losses. But to do this, you need to paint an accurate picture of your damages.
The best way is to have doctors, nurses, chiropractors, lab techs, or other health care professionals document your injuries and develop a treatment plan. Thorough documentation encourages the defendant to come to the table and offer a higher payment during settlement negotiations.
You should always receive medical treatment, even if you're unsure about the extent of your injuries or you don't feel injured at all.
If your doctor recommends a treatment plan, you should follow it step by step without any deviation. You must follow through with all scheduled appointments in your treatment plan, including all doctor's appointments, physical therapy, chiropractic appointments, and X-rays. Missing a scheduled appointment gives the insurance company adjuster the impression that your injury is not as bad as it is, resulting in a smaller payout.
Throughout the treatment process, keep detailed medical records for the lawyer and insurance company adjuster.
Don't Jump at the First Settlement Offer
The insurance companies will always begin negotiations by first offering a meager amount. When they do this, the adjuster is trying to determine whether you understand what your claim is worth and if you are impatient to settle. Impatience can prompt the insurance adjuster to offer less compensation for injuries.
When a first offer is made, you need to decide if the insurance adjuster's proposal is a strategic play. Many accident victims accept what seems like a large amount before going over it with an attorney. Many factors go into the settlement, and you may not be aware of the additional costs that will arise because of your accident.
If the offer is reasonable, you can counter with a higher proposal, showing the adjuster that you, too, are reasonable, paying attention, and willing to compromise. A little bargaining should get you to a final amount that you both think is fair compensation.
Pick the Right Personal Injury Lawyer
Securing legal representation before pursuing a serious personal injury lawsuit is a must. Taking on the insurance companies and their lawyers isn't something you want to do on your own, especially when your health, finances, and well-being are on the line.
An experienced personal injury attorney with a successful track record working on your behalf can protect your rights and get you your full compensation.
If you are in search of a personal injury lawyer, contact an experienced attorney at Helping The Hurt. They will do everything in their power to make sure you get the settlement you deserve in your personal injury lawsuit.
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