Personal injury lawsuits can be complicated and it can be tempting to get them over with as quickly as possible, but that can be a huge mistake. If you don’t make the proper preparations every step of the way, you risk lessening your compensation or even losing it altogether.
Here are ten steps you can take to maximize your claim.
The time immediately after your injury is often the most crucial, with evidence being freshest. Photograph everything you can, including damage to yourself, your car, and anything else that may have been affected. Get the names and contact information of anybody nearby. Even if they didn’t see all the events leading up to the incident clearly, they can still testify about the state of the scene afterward.
If you wait until the damage has healed or been fixed, then you run the risk of losing your claim. On top of that, the severity of your injury may visibly diminish after a few days, even though you’re still in a great deal of pain. If you wait until then to capture evidence, you won’t have an easy proof of just how terribly you were affected.
Social media has been the downfall of many compensation claims. If your posts on social media contradict your claimed hardships, then you may find that used against you in court. In particular, if you’re shown celebrating or having a good time, then it may be used to argue that you weren’t affected all that much by your injury, even if you were in great pain at the time of the picture.
Of course, you also have to worry about what other people put on social media as well. You can be tagged in photos you didn’t post, so make sure to keep an eye out for any postings from your friends that might hurt your case.
As quickly as possible after your injury, you want to get documentation from official sources. If the police come out to the site of your injury, they’ll put it on the report, so make sure you report everything you can about your current state. There are times and places to act tough and downplay pain, but this isn’t one of them.
You want to make sure you get your injuries checked out by a medical professional as soon as possible. If you delay, it could be argued that your injuries clearly weren’t serious enough because you didn’t bother to go see a doctor. Once you do see a professional, make sure you follow their recommendations to the letter. A failure to do so could be used against you, with the opposition arguing that your injuries are only severe because you improperly followed the advice of medical professionals.
When seeking compensation, the terminology can be pretty confusing, especially when it comes to different types and damages and their limits, which will vary from state to state. What’s important to note is that you can pursue and be awarded multiple types of damages. If you're in the Houston area, learn about it here. Contacting a local attorney is the best way to get insight into which types of damages and how much of each would make the most sense for your case.
It can be tempting to accept the first offer you receive, but that isn’t always the best choice. You may feel like you want to get it over with or that you don’t want to be a bother, but you were injured and you deserve this money. Don’t accept a lowball offer and remember that the very act of rejecting an initial offer can tell the other side that you mean business.
When determining how much money you need, make sure you aren’t just looking at how much you need to deal with your immediate situation. Medical bills and lost wages can add up to a lot, but don’t forget to examine how your quality of life will be affected in the future, along with how your mental well-being has been affected by your injury. The last thing you want is to win a settlement and find that it only covers a fraction of your needs.
One common misconception is that you only need to gather and organize your evidence for hearings in court. In actuality, you want to have all your ducks in a row long before them. The more prepared you are beforehand, the better equipped you will be to deal with settlements out of court, which are surprisingly common.
When it comes to personal injury lawsuits, it doesn’t pay to wait. You want to start the filing process as soon as possible. One big reason for doing so is that you can avoid any potential problems with the statute of limitations. The time limit ranges from state to state and is generally pretty long, but you don’t want to let life get in the way and miss your opportunity.
Furthermore, filing your lawsuit sooner than later can allow you to use the severity of your injuries to your advantage. Filing fast demonstrates a need on your part and makes your injuries seem serious. It also means that your injuries will be at their most severe when it comes to appearances in court, which can convince the other side that you really are suffering.
Even if you’re absolutely sure of your righteousness and things aren’t going your way, it pays to keep your calm. Present a polite and attentive you to the court. Your objective isn’t just to convince the other side that you deserve compensation, but also impartial third parties like the judge and jury. Coming off as clean and collected might not win the case for you, but failing to do so can certainly lose it.
When seeking compensation, make sure you thoroughly document everything, properly assess how much you are owed, and present the best possible image to the public. If you fail to do any of those things, you may find yourself getting a lot less than you need or even nothing at all. No matter what you choose to do, it’s a good idea to talk to a lawyer before you do it. At the very least, they can advise you on how things will progress and what your chances of success are.