Accidents take place across the country every day, and they happen more often than we want to admit. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals that over 32,000 people are killed, and over 2 million are injured in car accidents every year. Also, more than 4.5 million people get bitten by dogs (USPS data), and around 5,200 workers suffer from fatal on-the-job accidents (OSHA data) annually.
It’s not at all too surprising then that personal injury lawsuits make up a sizable proportion of civil litigation. Traffic accidents, dog bites, work-related injuries, and medical malpractice are just some of the more common cases that serious injury attorneys handle, and they usually involve some form of compensation.
If you’ve been in an accident or sustained injuries due to the negligence of another, you’re probably wondering how you can maximize your claim to cover the bulk of your medical bills and other expenses while recovering.
Here are some tips to help you get the best possible compensation out of your personal injury case.
Contacting emergency services and requesting a police officer at the scene right after an accident transpired does not only help ensure your safety; written police reports are also critical to the expeditious handling of accident claims.
The police report should document what happened and contain the identities of the parties involved, the witnesses, and their contact information. If you have sustained any injuries, make sure to have them included in the report no matter how small. These will be very important in building your legal case later on.
The amount of compensation or settlement offer that you’ll end up receiving from a personal injury case largely depends on the strength of the evidence you’ve presented. Thus, the more evidence you gather and preserve, the higher your winning/success rate is going to be.
Even if the police are doing a relatively good job of documenting the case, don’t rely on the police report alone. Take photos of your injuries and the accident scene, and have your own list of the witnesses’ contact information. Of course, don’t forget to get a copy of the police report. All these will be very valuable in proving your claim.
Receiving medical care right after an accident not only guarantees your safety and faster recovery; it is also integral in solidifying your case. Keep in mind that the at-fault party’s insurance company will always be looking for a way to lower the compensation or settlement amount.
If possible, get yourself to the emergency room immediately and let your doctors know of any pain, discomfort, or injury you’re experiencing.
Delaying medical treatment would allow them to argue that your injuries came from another source and discredit your claim.
It’s important that most of your symptoms are diagnosed, treated, and documented soon after the incident. Involve a specialist, if necessary.
Keep your medical record spotless by following instructions regarding follow-up appointments and treatments, and make sure to inform them of any additional pain or symptoms that developed between now and your previous check-up.
Also, don’t forget to mention any pre-existing injuries or prior accidents you’ve been involved in. The victim’s credibility is of the utmost importance when making a claim or testifying in a court of law. Any gaps, errors, or inconsistencies in records and statements may lower the value of your personal injury case.
After the case is filed, expect the insurance companies and their lawyers to gather as much information they can use to pay you the least amount of compensation possible.
Remember that everything you say can and will be held against you in the court of law – and this applies to your social media posts, too. While the support of your family and close friends is vital in helping you cope with the trauma, it would be best to avoid sharing the details of the incident on Facebook and Twitter if you have a pending injury claim. Even a seemingly innocent status update can be used against you.
More importantly, never allow the insurance company to record your statement without your attorney’s presence. Speaking with the other party’s insurer is often not necessary.
To pursue the best possible claim from a personal injury case, you need to consider and account for the myriad of damages you’ve incurred – both economic and non-economic. There is an array of losses that can result from your injury, so never limit yourself to a single type of damage.
On top of physical damages, it’s possible to file a claim for emotional injuries like stress, anxiety, and PTSD. There is also the possibility of hidden damages from unseen, internal trauma. If the injury left you unable to work, track the days you’ve missed and keep documents of your lost income.
Proper calculation of damages is crucial in filing a successful claim. If you fail to consider all the different factors in the calculation, you may end up with not enough money to cover your expenses while recovering.
According to statistics released by the Bureau of Justice Statistics Bulletin, only four to five percent of personal injury cases in the United States go to trial. This means that around 95% to 96% of the cases are settled pretrial. While these numbers are quite shocking, it’s easy to understand why. Taking a personal injury case to court is a lengthy process. Worse, it can take anywhere between a year to several years for the trial to begin.
When a person’s injured, it’s normal for them to want to get their hands on the check as fast as they can for whatever reason. However, if your goal is to get the best compensation possible, never jump at the first offer, especially without consulting an attorney.
Insurance adjusters almost always begin the negotiations by offering a low amount, if only to gauge whether or not you understand what your claim is worth. Thus, coming up with the right demand letter amount is essential. This shows the other party that you know what you’re doing.
Building a strong personal injury case and figuring out how much compensation you need can be complicated if you do it on your own.
Personal injury attorneys often work on a contingency basis, so you don’t have to pay them upfront. Instead, they get a percentage of the settlement money as payment after they win your case.
That said, you must find a lawyer who is not only experienced but takes a personal interest in your case as well. Working with a reliable and experienced personal injury attorney will boost your chances of getting the compensation you deserve — maybe even more!
If you or your family member have been involved in an auto accident, injured at work, or suffered a slip & fall accident in New York or New Jersey, we invite you to explore our free comprehensive library.
Whether you need more information about filing your workers’ compensation claim or need to find an experienced doctor or personal injury lawyer, you’ve come to the right place – Accident Help Zone is here to help you and your loved ones!
The content on this site is for informational purposes and should not be considered as legal advice, medical diagnosis or treatment recommendations for your accident injuries.
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