Filing a personal injury claim to receive compensation from the negligent party is just the beginning of a potentially lengthy and difficult process. Your personal injury case is more complicated than you would think, even if – for you – it is very clear that you have sustained injuries due to someone else’s fault. However much you believe that you have a justified claim, we still need to prove it.
You need to obtain medical treatment
If you’ve been injured in an accident you should always promptly see a doctor to be evaluated. There might be injuries that you weren’t even aware of yet. You should seek medical treatment immediately following your accident.
Retain a lawyer
Most people who are injured don’t fully know their legal rights, how the legal system for personal injury cases works, and how much their case could be worth. Insurance companies know this, which is why they will handle a claim differently if an attorney is involved. Insurance companies need to make money so they will always try to offer you the lowest possible amount for compensation. We will help you negotiate with any involved insurance companies to get you the highest possible settlement.
Don’t give statements to insurance companies
During their investigation, insurance company examiners may try to get you to give them recorded statements about the accident and to say things that could hurt your case. You should always politely refuse to give a recorded statement until you’ve contacted a personal injury lawyer. Our firm only allows an insurance adjuster to interview our client if we are physically present with our client.
Maintain good communication with your attorney
Our lawyers and staff are here to help you through the entire process, but we won’t be able to provide you the necessary advice and help if you don’t communicate. Always let us know when you make doctor appointments for new examinations or when a new injury that’s linked to the accident has popped up. It’s important that you hire a lawyer who you feel comfortable with, as this will make it easier to keep good two-way communication going throughout the entire process. We pride ourselves on prompt, full communication, and on returning phone calls.
Be thorough and accurate about your medical history
Many people think that if they have a history of back problems, they shouldn’t mention this if their back got hurt in an accident. This is not a good idea. If a back problem was worsened due to the accident that you filed a claim for, you can get compensation for this even if your medical history shows prior back problems. However, if you don’t mention these previous back problems, they will likely surface anyway, which will look bad to the jury. Always disclose your full medical history to your doctors and lawyer. This information will help us prepare your case and maximize your recovery.
Preserve evidence – take pictures
Modern cell phones allow quick and easy photos to be taken at the scene of any type of accident. If you are in an auto accident, take pictures of all vehicles involved in the accident – including the damage to your car. If you are too injured or in shock, ask a friend or relative to take photos as soon as possible. Also take photos of any visible injuries, such as bruises, hematomas, cuts, stitches, braced necks and casts and slings. The old saying that one picture is worth a thousand words is true. Keep copies of repair estimates, driver’s exchange of information, police accident reports, Emergency Dept. discharge papers, and anything else that may be helpful. Bring these with you to your initial appointment with our office, as well as a copy of your own auto insurance policy, so that we can see if you have PIP insurance to cover your medical bills and under insured motorist coverage, in case the other driver has no – or inadequate – coverage.
If your claim is for a slip and fall – or other type of injury – again, take photos of the scene of the accident or injury. If your claim is for a defective product, keep the product if possible. Take photos of the product and injuries.
Beware of Social Media
Insurance adjusters and insurance lawyers now routinely go to Facebook and other social media to find “dirt” on the injured person. This may range from photos or texts showing you engaging in physical activities or looking happy and healthy. Facebook and other social media can really harm a case so beware.
While these tips cannot guarantee a positive outcome for your personal injury case, they can help put you in a better position to obtain a satisfactory settlement. Make sure to talk to us regularly so we can help guide you through the entire process as painlessly as possible.