The things you do immediately after an accident can affect the amount of compensation you get. If you don’t follow the right steps, you could end up with an amount lower than what you deserve or, worse still, with no compensation at all. So, what can you do to maximize your personal injury settlement? Consider the following tips:
Preserve the Evidence
Enough evidence is essential for three key reasons. One, it can help in determining the at-fault party. Two, it can speed up your case. If there is not enough evidence, it can take a lot of time to prove your case. Three, with enough evidence, it’s easier to get the right figure when calculating the compensation amount.
So, what kind of evidence do you need? Consider taking photos, noting the location of the accident, getting names and contact information for witnesses, and preserving all the medical records. Reporting the incident to the relevant authorities can also be evidence that the accident did happen. Therefore, don’t hesitate to call the police or to inform the employer or owner of the property where the accident happened. If the incident is not recorded with the relevant authority, that could work against you.
Get Medical Help
Getting a medical exam and treatment immediately after the accident is another step you can take to maximize your personal injury settlement. Thus, go to the hospital immediately, explain the incident to your doctor, and once they do an exam, follow the treatment plan they offer fully. If you don’t go to the hospital immediately, the other party may argue that the injuries were not serious, or they were sustained from another incident. Therefore, even if you are busy or don’t feel too bad, go to the doctor.
Avoid Posting on Social Media
Posting details and photos of the accident and things you do after the accident on social media is something that can ruin your personal injury case. Those photos, statements and comments you make can be used by the other party against you. Therefore, try and keep off social media at all costs. If you have to inform your friends or family about the accident, call or message them or have someone contact them on your behalf.
Understand What You Are Entitled to
If the other party’s insurance company contacts you with a deal, don’t accept the offer before you understand the kind of compensation you should be getting. The reason you shouldn’t be quick to accept an offer is because the first offer is usually an estimate based on a formula. Though the offer may look good to you, it may not cover all the damages you suffered. The settlement in each case will be different depending on the nature of the accident.
Other than medical expenses, other factors considered in determining the compensation amount include lost earnings, future lost income, lost or damaged personal items, pain and suffering, trauma and other mental health issues such as anxiety. Most people are not aware that they are entitled to compensation for some damages, especially the non-economic ones. This is why it is essential to consult an attorney to look through your damages before you accept any settlement.
An attorney who is experienced in handling personal injury cases can tell you whether the settlement is fair for both general and special damages. Therefore, always seek help from a qualified attorney before making a big decision. Also, don’t give statements or start negotiations without the help of a qualified legal expert. Other than reporting the incident to the police, an employer or supervisor or the person in charge of the property where you got hurt, you should avoid making any other statements to the other party and their insurance company without consulting your lawyer.
File as Soon as Possible
File your case as soon as possible when the evidence is still fresh. This boosts your chances of winning and getting the right compensation amount. When you wait too long, you may lose some evidence and get a lower amount than you deserve. The authenticity of the damages you present may also be questioned if you wait for too long. Thus, try and file your claim as soon as possible. If you sustained serious injuries, you can get an attorney to handle most of the work for you. Remember, there is a statute of limitations. Thus, if you wait too long, you may never get any compensation at all.
Hire the Right Attorney
As stated in the previous points, an attorney can help you with a lot of things, including compiling the required documents and presenting the claim on your behalf, advising you on the best steps to take, and determining if the compensation is fair. However, you can only get the right help if you hire the right attorney.
To do this, first locate several attorneys specializing in personal injury in your state. You can find them by using the search engines, attorney advertising and listing websites, or recommendations from friends. Next, check the company’s profile. Check their website for information, such as when the company was started, the expertise of the team, past results and other good signs like awards. Information on a website isn’t enough evidence that the lawyers are qualified to handle your case, however. You need to research further to ensure they are a legitimate company with a good reputation. Once you have established that, you can go ahead and consult them for a review.
All law firms should state their review terms and fees on their websites. Brown and Crouppen Law Firm personal injury lawyers offer a free consultation and you pay if you win, according to the information on their website, for example. Confirm the terms with the lawyer directly before deciding to work with them.
Above are some of the factors that can help maximize your personal injury settlement. Throughout the process, make sure you record all the events, consult the right people and avoid lying to manipulate the settlement amount. Exaggerating is also just as bad as lying and both can work against you. You could also find yourself in legal trouble for some lies. Therefore, don’t lie when making statements, talking to your lawyer, or even the doctor who examines you. If you had any preexisting injuries or pain before the accident, let the doctor know.