Getting injured due to someone else’s negligence can be extremely difficult. You may be facing mounting medical bills, lost wages from being out of work, pain and suffering, and a long road to recovery.
While no amount of money can fully undo the harm done, filing a personal injury claim can help you regain your financial footing. With some key strategies, you can maximize your settlement. Here are essential tips for getting the most out of your personal injury case:
Document Everything Related To Your Injuries
The key to proving your case comes down to documentation. Keep all records of your injuries, including medical reports, bills, prescription receipts, pay stubs showing lost wages, and anything else related to how the incident has impacted your life. A clear paper trail will bolster your claim that you deserve maximum compensation.
Get Prompt Medical Attention
Seeking prompt medical care shows that you are taking your injuries seriously. Gaps in treatment can allow insurance companies to argue that you have exaggerated your injuries or that they have healed. One of the first things a Burbank personal injury lawyer will advise is to get checked out, follow all doctors’ recommendations, and continuously attend doctor and therapy visits until you have recovered.
Accurately Document How Your Injuries Affect Your Daily Life
Beyond just medical care, record how your daily activities have changed due to the accident. For example, note tasks you can no longer perform around the house or hobbies you cannot enjoy due to limited mobility or pain. These records help demonstrate just how deeply the injuries have impacted your life.
Find Witnesses To Strengthen Your Case
If anyone witnessed the accident or the dangerous conditions that caused it, be sure to get their contact information. Eyewitness statements help counter any attempts by insurance companies to shift blame onto you rather than their policyholder. Written statements carry more power than just having a verbal conversation, so witnesses should document what they saw while it’s fresh in their minds.
Hire An Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer
Handling a personal injury claim alone puts you at a disadvantage against seasoned insurance company attorneys. Personal injury law can get highly complex, but a quality lawyer knows exactly how to build your case for maximum compensation. Remember that if the injuries are severe, legal expertise is critical.
Understand How Negligence Is Proven
To receive just compensation, your lawyer must demonstrate that the other party acted negligently and directly caused your injuries. Generally, negligence claims must establish four key elements:
- Duty Of Care: The person had an obligation to prevent unreasonable risks of harm to others. For example, drivers have a duty to share the road safely with cyclists.
- Breach Of Duty: The person failed to fulfill their duty of care through reckless actions like speeding or texting while driving.
- Causation: It was the breach of duty that directly led to the accident and subsequent injuries.
- Damages: Real monetary losses stem from the injuries, from medical bills and lost income to pain and suffering.
Documenting how the other party breached their duty and linking it to your verified damages strengthens a claim’s value.
Calculate Damages In Detail
Don’t just give your lawyer a stack of medical bills, pay stubs, and call it a day. Sit down and use a spreadsheet to categorize all accident-related expenses into types of damages. For example, tally up costs into:
- Medical expenses such as bills, prescriptions, assistive devices
- Lost income and future loss of earning capacity
- Cost of household help, transportation
- Pain and suffering
Seeing damage itemized this way provides a clear picture of what you have lost and the scope of what you are seeking to recover.
Demand Policy Limits Immediately
Insurance policies limit the payouts for injury claims, but demanding this immediately puts pressure on the insurer. This may motivate them to settle promptly for the total amount rather than drag out negotiations. Your experienced attorney knows how to push for policy limits skillfully yet aggressively.
Prepare Thoroughly For Your Deposition
During a deposition, lawyers for the insurance company can interrogate you under oath about every aspect of the incident, your injuries, and your finances. Meticulously prepare answers with your attorney beforehand to avoid accidentally making statements undermining your claim. Answer questions briefly while volunteering as little extra information as possible.
Enlist Reputable Expert Witnesses
The testimony of respected medical, vocational or accident reconstruction experts can be significant in establishing negligence or validating your injury claims. For example, an accident forensics specialist can analyze crash data to prove the at-fault driver was speeding. Identifying polished, credible expert witnesses will get your case taken more seriously.
Consider Alternative Dispute Resolution
Personal injury lawsuits can be extended and expensive for both parties. Typically, your attorney may suggest alternative dispute resolution methods like arbitration and mediation. In arbitration, a neutral third party hears both sides’ arguments and then makes a binding decision. Mediation is more informal, with a mediator facilitating discussions to reach a settlement agreement. Both options usually resolve cases faster than going to trial.
Don’t Post About Your Case On Social Media
You may be tempted to vent about the incident on your personal social media pages but resist the urge. Insurers look for any evidence that you are exaggerating your claims of disability. Pictures from your hiking trip or dance class could bite you. Let your lawyer handle statements about the case—anything you post can and will be used against you during settlement negotiations.
Have Realistic Settlement Expectations
While you want to maximize your payout, legal experts say claimants with unrealistic expectations tend to walk away the most dissatisfied, even after winning their case. Work with your attorney to develop an accurate estimate of what your case is truly worth based on the documented evidence. This will prevent disappointment down the road.
Patience Is Critical
Lastly, don’t expect your claim to be resolved overnight. The legal process often moves slowly, forcing you to be patient as your lawyer presses the insurance company. Delays are expected as each side investigates evidence, identifies witnesses, and prepares their legal position. But refusing early lowball offers and keeping up the negotiations almost always results in a far more favorable outcome.
Maximizing your personal injury claim requires a strategic and well-documented approach. By following these tips and strategies, seeking the assistance of a qualified personal injury lawyer, you can navigate the complexities of the legal process and increase your chances of obtaining the compensation you rightfully deserve.