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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Tip 5 From An Ocala Attorney
Bill Allen – Ocala Personal Injury Lawyer
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.
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.
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.
Tip 8 From A Miami Attorney
Sagi Shaked – Miami Personal Injury Lawyer
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.
Tip 9 From A Baltimore Attorney
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.
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.
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.
Tip 12 From A Kansas Attorney
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.
Tip 13 From An Oklahoma Attorney
Kent McGuire – Oklahoma City Personal Injury Lawyer
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.
Tip 14 From A Houston Attorney
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.
Tip 15 From A Clearwater and St. Petersburg Attorney
Mark H. Perenich – Clearwater and St. Petersburg 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.
Tip 16 From A New York City Attorney
Craig D. Rosenbaum – New York City Personal Injury Lawyer
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.
Tip 17 From A San Diego Attorney
David J. Muñoz – San Diego Personal Injury Lawyer
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.
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.
Tip 19 From A Harrisburg Attorney
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.
Tip 20 From A Gainesville Attorney
Steven A. Bagen – Gainesville 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.
Tip 21 From An Atlanta Attorney
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.
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.
Tip 23 From A Lexington Attorney
Matthew C. Minner – Lexington Personal Injury Lawyer
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.
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.
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.