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25 Tips for Getting a Fair Personal Injury Settlement

25 Tips for Getting a Fair Personal Injury Settlement

Have you been hurt in an accident? If so, there’s a good chance that you’ll have to deal with an insurance company as you seek compensation. Whether you’re seeking benefits from your provider or the at-fault party’s insurer, the company  and its defense attorneys won’t be eager to cut you a check. 

They’ll try to either deny your claim or drive down its value. 

So, how can you know that you’re really getting a fair settlement deal? 

Below, personal injury lawyers from across the country have provided their top tips for making sure that victims like you get a fair deal during negotiations. Check them out and keep them in mind if you’re in an accident. 

25 Tips You Can Use to Get the Best Settlement for Your Personal Injury Claim 

Personal injury claims cover car accidents, premises liability claims, defective product injuries, and many other types of accidents and injuries.  Before you accept any insurance settlement or personal injury settlement, read these 25 tips for getting a fair personal injury settlement.

Personal Injury Claim Tip 1

Tip 1 From A New York City Attorney

Jay Knispel – New York City Personal Injury Lawyers

Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers

Report the accident immediately. A written record of the accident is essential when filing a personal injury claim. Without a written record, the other party could deny their involvement in the accident. Additionally, the insurance company may not treat the claim as seriously if you don’t have any evidence that an accident occurred. 

Personal Injury Claim Tip 2

Tip 2 From A Los Angeles Attorney

Aleksey Katmissky – Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer

KJ Injury & Accident Lawyers, PC

Don’t lie to the police. When you report an accident or injury to the police, don’t lie or embellish. Instead, tell the police officer what happened without going into unnecessary details. Saying more than is necessary – or stretching the truth – can have serious consequences for you and hurt your ability to file a successful lawsuit.

Personal Injury Claim Tip 3

Tip 3 From A Fort Lauderdale Attorney

Gregg Hollander – Fort Lauderdale Personal Injury Lawyer

Hollander Law Firm Accident Injury Lawyers

Document the accident scene. If possible, take photographs and make a video of the entire accident scene. It is crucial to preserve the scene just as it appears after the accident. For example, if you are injured in a slip and fall accident, the property owner could remove the hazard and claim it was your fault that you fell.

Also, try to get the names and telephone numbers of eyewitnesses. Eyewitness testimony can be very compelling in an injury case. 

Personal Injury Claim Tip 4

Tip 4 From A Tampa Attorney

Peter F. Catania – Tampa Personal Injury Lawyer

Catania & Catania, PA

Seek prompt medical attention for your injuries. It is always a good idea to be checked by a physician immediately after an accident or injury. Even if you feel “okay,” you could have injuries you are unaware of immediately after the accident. 

If you don’t go to the emergency room from the accident scene, don’t say that you are fine or you are not injured. Instead, merely say that you intend to see your doctor about your injuries. 

Delays in medical care could hurt your case. The insurance company may use a delay in seeing a doctor to argue that the accident did not cause your injury. 

Personal Injury Claim Tip 5

Tip 5 From An Ocala Attorney

Bill Allen – Ocala Personal Injury Lawyer

Allen Law Firm, PA

Report all symptoms to your physicians immediately. Regardless of how you feel or how minor you might believe a symptom is, report all symptoms to your doctors immediately. You could have sustained a severe injury, and the doctor needs to follow up.

Also, your symptoms are noted in your medical records. If your symptoms worsen, there is a record of when the symptoms began after the accident. That information can help fight against claims that the accident did not cause your injuries. 

Personal Injury Claim Tip 6

Tip 6 From A Fort Worth Attorney

Jason Stephens – Fort Worth Personal Injury Lawyer

Stephens Law | Personal Injury Wrongful Death Trial Lawyer

Follow your doctor’s treatment plan. Don’t stop your doctor’s treatment plan. If you don’t follow up with your doctor and complete treatment, the insurance company may allege that you failed to mitigate your damages. You would not be entitled to compensation for injuries and damages that could have been avoided had you followed your doctor’s orders. 

Personal Injury Claim Tip 7

Tip 7 From An Attorney

Keep careful notes about your claim. Throughout your case, document each conversation or interaction you have with the insurance company or other individuals involved in your claim. Note the date, time, and topic of discussion. Make notes about the statements made during the conversation. 

Personal Injury Claim Tip 8

Tip 8 From A Miami Attorney

Sagi Shaked – Miami Personal Injury Lawyer

Shaked Law Personal Injury Lawyers

Don’t agree to a recorded or written statement without a lawyer. Claims adjusters may tell you that you need to provide a written or recorded statement to process your claim. Providing a statement is generally not in your best interest. Claims adjusters are trained to ask leading questions that elicit responses that can be intentionally misinterpreted. 

Anything you say could be used in court. Therefore, it is best to seek legal counsel before giving any statements about the accident or your injury. 

Personal Injury Claim Tip 9

Tip 9 From A Baltimore Attorney

Jill Kolodner – Baltimore Personal Injury Lawyer

William G. Kolodner Personal Injury Lawyers

Never admit fault for the cause of the accident or injury. Don’t apologize, say you are sorry, or indicate that you believe you could be to blame for the accident. 

Under comparative negligence and contributory fault laws, your compensation could be significantly reduced if you are partially to blame for the cause of your injury. 

Personal Injury Claim Tip 10

Tip 10 From A Philadelphia Attorney

Todd Lasky – Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyer

Zavodnick & Lasky Personal Injury Lawyers

Don’t discuss the accident or your injuries with other people. If you discuss the accident with another person, they could be called as a witness at your trial. It is best not to discuss your accident or injuries with anyone other than your physicians and lawyer. Keep in mind: a spouse cannot be forced to testify against the other spouse.

Personal Injury Claim Tip 11

Tip 11 From An Augusta Attorney

Chace Hawk – Augusta Personal Injury Lawyer

Hawk Law Group

Avoid using social media during your case. Posting online or using social media during an accident case can hurt your chance of recovering a fair settlement. The things that you post online are not private, even if your security settings are set for the highest levels of privacy. 

There have been cases where a judge permits defense attorneys to access the accident victim’s social media accounts. Therefore, it is best not to use social media while your claim is pending.

Personal Injury Claim Tip 12

Tip 12 From A Kansas Attorney

Ryan Bradley – Kansas City Personal Injury Lawyer

Bradley Law Personal Injury Lawyers

Wait for a complete investigation. Either you or an attorney needs to conduct a thorough investigation to determine how you were injured, who is responsible, and what evidence is available. There could be more than one party responsible for your injuries. It is crucial to identify each liable party to maximize compensation. 

Personal Injury Claim Tip 13

Tip 13 From An Oklahoma Attorney

Kent McGuire – Oklahoma City Personal Injury Lawyer

McGuire Law Firm

Document your recovery with photos and a journal. You are entitled to non-economic damages as part of your injury claim. However, these damages are not proven through medical records or bills. Instead, you need a detailed narrative about how your injuries impacted your daily life.

Taking pictures of your injuries as you heal gives the insurance company evidence of how long it took for you to recover. Keeping a pain and suffering journal detailing your recovery provides information about how your injuries negatively impacted your daily life and enjoyment of life. 

Personal Injury Claim Tip 14

Tip 14 From A Houston Attorney

Brian White – Houston Personal Injury Lawyer

Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers

Don’t accept a settlement offer or sign documents without talking to a lawyer. If you sign a settlement agreement, your case will be over. The insurance company inserts language in the agreement that releases ALL parties from ALL future claims. You cannot try to collect more money in the future, even if you discover more damages or other injuries. So, while accepting a settlement check right away might make life easier now, it could ultimately do more harm than good. Discuss settlement options with your lawyer or, better yet, have your attorney handle negotiations on your behalf.

Personal Injury Claim Tip 15

Tip 15 From A Clearwater and St. Petersburg Attorney

Mark H. Perenich – Clearwater and St. Petersburg Personal Injury Lawyers

Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers

Never release your medical records to an insurance company. You may be asked for your medical records or to sign a release for medical records. Don’t! The insurance company is searching for pre-existing conditions and prior injuries.

The company will try to blame your current injuries on pre-existing conditions to avoid paying the claim. Don’t hide or lie about a prior injury or pre-existing condition. Let your attorney handle disclosing that information. 

Personal Injury Claim Tip 16

Tip 16 From A New York City Attorney

Craig D. Rosenbaum – New York City Personal Injury Lawyer

Rosenbaum & Rosenbaum, P.C.

Don’t plead guilty to a traffic offense without legal counsel. Pleading guilty to a traffic ticket could make it easier for the other party to avoid liability and even point the finger at you. Establishing that you’ve violated a safety law could give them grounds to base a claim on negligence per se. That would effectively pave the way for them to hold you accountable for their injuries. But, don’t ignore the ticket. Instead, seek legal advice to help you decide what you should do about the traffic ticket.

Personal Injury Claim Tip 17

Tip 17 From A San Diego Attorney

David J. Muñoz – San Diego Personal Injury Lawyer

Mission Legal Center

Document damages and financial losses with records. To recover compensation for damages, you must document the damages with direct evidence.

Evidence may include:

  • Copies of medical records
  • Medical bills and invoices
  • Receipts for payment of out-of-pocket expenses
  • Statements from your employer
  • Copies of tax returns and pay stubs
  • Invoices, bills, and receipts for payment 

The more evidence you have of your damages, the greater chance you receive maximum compensation for your injury claim. 

Personal Injury Claim Tip 18

Tip 18 From A Miami Attorney

Boris Lavent – Miami Personal Injury Lawyer

Lavent Law Personal Injury Lawyer

Check your insurance policy. Know what types of insurance you have and the limits for each type of insurance. You could recover compensation under your insurance policy for some damages. Once you’ve exhausted your policy limits, you can then discuss the possibility of filing a claim or lawsuit against a liable third party.

Personal Injury Claim Tip 19

Tip 19 From A Harrisburg Attorney

Christopher J. Marzzacco – Harrisburg Personal Injury Lawyer

Marzzacco Niven & Associates Injury Law

Never settle an injury claim while receiving medical treatment. You need to complete your medical treatment before settling your case. Until you complete your treatment and your doctor releases you, there is no way to know if you sustained a permanent impairment or disability, which could increase the value of your damages. 

Personal Injury Claim Tip 20

Tip 20 From A Gainesville Attorney

Steven A. BagenGainesville Personal Injury Lawyer

Steven A. Bagen & Associates

Know when the deadline for filing a lawsuit expires. All states have statutes of limitations that set deadlines for filing personal injury claims. However, the deadline may differ for certain types of claims, such as medical malpractice, wrongful death, and product liability. 

Make sure that you discuss the deadline for filing a lawsuit with an attorney. If you miss the deadline, the at-fault party nor the insurance company have to pay you for your damages. 

Personal Injury Claim Tip 21

Tip 21 From An Atlanta Attorney

Stephen Hasner – Atlanta Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

Hasner Law, PC

Don’t forget future damages. If you sustain a disability or impairment, you could require ongoing personal and medical care. As a result, you may not be able to work, or your earning potential could be diminished. 

These damages may be included in your settlement demand. You may need to consult with medical experts and financial professionals to calculate the correct value of future damages. 

Personal Injury Claim Tip 22

Tip 22 From A Boston Attorney

J. Tucker Merrigan – Boston Personal Injury Lawyer

Sweeney Merrigan Personal Injury Lawyers

Don’t accept the first offer from the insurance company. You are not required to accept a settlement offer from an insurance company, regardless of what the claims adjuster states. You have the right to counteroffer and negotiate a fair settlement. If the insurance company refuses to negotiate in good faith, you may want to proceed with a personal injury lawsuit. 

Personal Injury Claim Tip 23

Tip 23 From A Lexington Attorney

Matthew C. Minner – Lexington Personal Injury Lawyer

Hare Wynn Accident & Injury Lawyers

Ask for justifications for low settlement offers. Ask the claims adjuster to provide a written statement explaining the reasons for the settlement amount. Then, reply to each reason with an argument why the amount should be higher. 

Personal Injury Claim Tip 24

Tip 24 From A Fort Walton Beach Attorney

Paul Brannon – Fort Walton Beach Personal Injury Lawyer

Brannon & Brannon

Emphasize pain and suffering damages. You are entitled to compensation for the pain and suffering experienced because of the accident. 

Pain and suffering damages include:

  • Physical discomfort
  • Disabilities and impairments
  • Emotional distress
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Mental trauma
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Reduced quality of life

Your pain and suffering damages could be worth between 1.5 to 5 times the amount of your economic damages. 

Personal Injury Claim Tip 25

Tip 25 From A Tampa Attorney

Mark Roman – Car Accident Lawyer in Tampa, FL

Roman & Gaynor Accident Injury Lawyers

Don’t give in to pressure. Don’t allow the insurance company or another party to pressure you into accepting a settlement offer. If you are unsure about a settlement offer, seek legal counsel. You have the right to talk with a lawyer before accepting an offer to settle a personal injury case like a car accident. 

One Last Tip – Know When to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer

Some individuals can settle a personal injury claim without a lawyer. However, it is wise to talk with a lawyer, even if you don’t hire an attorney. 

Knowing when to hire a personal injury attorney to handle your case is essential. There are things that you may not be able to do to investigate your claim. If you have any doubts about the value of your damages, the damages you can recover, deadlines, fault, or liability, think about reaching out to a personal injury lawyer for help.

How to Find the Best Personal Injury Lawyer in Oklahoma City

How to Find the Best Personal Injury Lawyer in Oklahoma City

Hopefully, you will never need a personal injury lawyer. However, if you do, you want to ensure that you hire the best personal injury lawyer in Oklahoma City. Oklahoma is an at-fault state for accidents and personal injuries. Therefore, you have the burden of proving that the other party caused your accident and injuries to recover compensation. 

Therefore, you need an attorney who has substantial experience, skills, and resources. Your lawyer needs to conduct investigations, hire expert witnesses, and do everything necessary to gather evidence proving negligence and liability. 

Deciding which Oklahoma City personal injury attorney to hire can be confusing. Below is a guide for finding the personal injury attorney that is right for you.

How to Find the Best Personal Injury Lawyer for Your Case

How to Find the Best Personal Injury Lawyer for Your Case

An attorney is not a “one size fits all” situation. Personal injury lawyers have vastly different skills, experience levels, qualifications, and personalities. Therefore, choosing an attorney based solely on advertisements is not best for you.

Begin your attorney search by asking people you trust for recommendations. It is best if they used the attorney for another case. Direct knowledge of the attorney is extremely valuable.

If you know an attorney that practices a different area of law, you might want to ask that attorney for a referral. Often attorneys are familiar with other attorneys and their abilities. Judges and court personnel may also be excellent sources of recommendations. 

The Oklahoma Bar Association has a “find a lawyer” directory that helps people search for attorneys located near them. The directory is not a recommendation or referral to an attorney. 

Oklahoma bar association

It is a good idea to plan to meet with at least two or three attorneys. 

Most personal injury lawyers offer free consultations, so it does not cost you anything to meet with the attorney to discuss your cases. Meeting in person allows you to evaluate the attorney for yourself and obtain different opinions regarding your case. You are not obligated to hire an attorney after your initial consultation. 

Before meeting with each attorney, it can help to do a little research online. You can find a great deal of information about personal injury lawyers from their websites, peer review websites, and client reviews. In addition, many lawyers have social media websites that you may also want to review.

Questions to Ask a Personal Injury Lawyer 

Questions to Ask a Personal Injury Lawyer 

When you meet with a personal injury attorney in Oklahoma City, these questions can help you evaluate whether you want to hire a lawyer.

How much experience do you have handling cases similar to my case?

How much experience do you have handling cases similar to my case?

As stated above, you want to hire a lawyer who practices in the area of personal injury law. However, it is best to hire a lawyer with experience handling your specific type of case.

For example, if you were involved in a slip and fall accident, you want a premises liability lawyer. On the other hand, if a defective product caused your injury, then you want to search for a product liability lawyer.

Even car accident attorneys may have more experience handling certain types of cases. For instance, an attorney may handle car accident claims, but he has very little experience with cases involving commercial trucks or government vehicles. 

How much time will you spend on my case?

How much time will you spend on my case?

Some attorneys have such heavy caseloads that they pass the cases to associates or paralegals to handle. While it is good for a law firm to have extensive staff resources, you want to ensure that the lawyer you hire is the person directly handling your case. 

What is my personal injury claim worth?

What is my personal injury claim worth?

An honest personal injury attorney will tell you that he needs to investigate the claim and analyze your damages to give you an accurate value for your case. The attorney may tell you outcomes of cases similar to your case, but your case is unique. 

Search for an attorney who is willing to invest the time necessary to document your damages fully to maximize the value of your case. 

How often do you go to trial?

How often do you go to trial?

Some personal injury attorneys are known to settle every case to avoid going to court. However, you need a skilled negotiator AND an aggressive trial attorney. 

Your case may need to go to trial. If so, having an attorney with experience arguing cases in court gives you a better chance of winning your case.

How long will it take to settle my case?

How long will it take to settle my case?

No attorney can give you a specific timeline for settling your personal injury claim. However, an experienced attorney explains the steps necessary to pursue your case. The lawyer should be able to examine the facts of your case and give you an estimate of a timeline based on what he knows at that time.

Things to Consider When Searching for an Attorney

Some of the important factors that you want to compare when you interview attorneys include:

  • Ability to communicate effectively
  • Good listening skills
  • Experience and education
  • Special skills, qualifications, and certifications
  • Adequate support staff
  • Compassionate and patient
  • Affordability

The money you receive for a personal injury claim cannot undo the pain and suffering you experienced. However, it can help pay for ongoing care and reimburse you for financial losses. Make sure you invest the time necessary to find the best personal injury lawyer in Oklahoma City for your case.

Teen Driving Laws in California: What Every Teen Driver & Parent Should Know

Teen Driving Laws in California: What Every Teen Driver & Parent Should Know

Almost uniformly, teens look forward to getting a driver’s license. For them, it is a step toward greater freedom and independence. 

For their parents, it is a time of worry and concern.

This is a time when teens also explore alcohol and drug use.

When alcohol or drugs are mixed with driving, the result can be deadly. Therefore, California regulates teen driving.

 Here is what every teen driver and parent should know about teen driving laws in California.

California Teen Driving Permits and Licensing

Like many other states, California uses a Graduated Licensing Program to introduce teens to driving safely. This graduated approach allows a permitting process and training to begin before a teen driver may be licensed. To get a permit to drive a teen must be at least 15 ½ years old.  

A teen may apply for a permit to drive once they have completed an approved driver’s education program that teaches traffic laws, road safety, driver responsibilities, and avoiding accidents. The programs must have either 30 hours or 2 1/2 semesters of classroom instruction conducted by a professional. 

Alternatively, a teen may complete this training with an approved  internet training program. Once a teen gets a permit, he or she must have 50 hours of driving education behind the wheel of a car within 6 months of obtaining the permit. Once that is completed, a teen may take their driving test at age 16.

Restrictions on a Teen License in California

A teen’s driver’s license is restricted for the first year. The license is provisional. Teens are prohibited from driving from 11:00 P.M. to 5:00 A.M. This is when the risk of accidents, especially those involving drugs or alcohol, are highest. When a teen driver has a passenger who isn’t yet 20 years old, there are additional restrictions.

The teen driver must also be transporting a:

  • Certified driving instructor
  • Parent or guardian (with a valid California license), or
  • Licensed driver who is at least 25 years of age. 

Once a teen turns 18, the restrictions can be removed.  

Exceptions to Teen Driving Restrictions in California

There are several exceptions to these restrictions. In order to qualify for a restriction, a teen must be driving for an accepted reason and have written permission to do so. There are exceptions for:

  • Medical necessity: Requires a doctor’s note.
  • School: The note must be signed by the school principal or dean.
  • Employment: The teen must have a note from the employer.
  • Family member necessity: Note must be signed by parent.

Emancipated minors are treated somewhat differently. An emancipated teen must provide the DMV with emancipation court orders and must provide proof of insurance.

Penalties for Violating Teen Driving Restrictions in California

The DMV tracks a teen’s driving record and provisional license. Using its point system, the DMV assigns point values for accidents, traffic tickets, and arrests. Consequences for violations are as follows:

  • A traffic ticket and failure to appear in court results in loss of a teen’s driving privilege until they appear in court.
  • One  collision in which the teen is at fault, or a conviction of a traffic law violation within 12 months will result in a DMV warning letter.
  • If the teen has two collisions in which they are at fault or two traffic convictions within 12 months, results in a loss of a teen’s driving privilege for 30 days. In that case, the teen may only drive if accompanied by a licensed parent or other licensed adult over the age of 25.
  • Three such collisions or traffic law violations within 12 months results in a suspended license for 6 months and one year of probation.
  • Four or more such collisions or traffic law violations while on probation results in further suspension.
  • An alcohol or a controlled substance use conviction between the ages of 13 and 21 years results in a suspended driver’s license for 1 year or a delay in a teen’s eligibility to apply for a driver’s license.

Both parents and teens need to be aware of these consequences. It is best to understand the law before  a teen begins driving. Courts and the DMV are strict in applying consequences.

Teen Drivers and Cell Phones in California

Teens are glued to their cell phones.

In California, it is against the law for a teen to use a cell phone or any other electronic wireless device while driving.

That means that a teen may not answer a call or a text and may not initiate a call or text while driving unless there is an emergency.

Knowing your rights and responsibilities behind the wheel is important at every stage of your driving life. Setting a successful path helps. If your teen does get arrested driving under the influence, you need a criminal lawyer. Knowing the law always helps.