How To Make Sure You Get Compensated After Suffering a Personal Injury

How To Make Sure You Get Compensated After Suffering a Personal Injury

Sustaining an injury in a slip and fall accident, automobile accident, or another personal injury case can be overwhelming. In addition to the pain and suffering you experience, you could incur substantial bills, expenses, and financial losses. 

The situation is incredibly frustrating when your injury was caused by another person’s negligence or intentional acts. You would not be in this position had it not been for another party’s reckless acts. 

The good news is that personal injury laws give you the legal right to file a claim for damages. The party responsible for causing your injury can be legally liable for your economic damages, including lost wages and out-of-pocket expenses. You can also seek compensation for your emotional distress, pain, and suffering.

As the injured victim, you must prove your case, which can be challenging. However, here are some ways you can ensure you get compensated for personal injury claims

Gather Evidence from the Accident Scene 

Proving fault for an accident begins with the evidence you collect at the accident scene. Tips include:

  • Take photographs of the accident scene, including what caused your injury and property damage
  • Make a video of the accident scene in case you overlooked something when taking photos
  • Gather information from the witnesses so your lawyer can contact them for formal statements
  • Ask for a copy of the completed accident report 

Don’t say anything that could imply you accept blame for causing the accident or think you could be partly to blame. Avoid talking about the details of the accident to anyone other than the police officer.

Seek Immediate Medical Treatment for Injuries

It is generally a good idea to receive medical attention, regardless of whether you’ve sustained an obvious injury. Some injuries do not present themselves at the scene of the accident.

Therefore, don’t refuse treatment at the accident scene. Instead, go to the hospital or a physician as soon as possible. 

Delays in medical attention could hurt your case and keep you from receiving compensation for injuries. If you wait too long to see a doctor, the insurance company might fight your claim. The insurance adjuster might say the accident did not cause your injuries or you failed to mitigate damages.

On the other hand, seeking prompt medical care can strengthen your personal injury case. You must prove the accident caused your injuries. Detailed medical records become key evidence in a personal injury case. 

Don’t Discuss Your Injuries or Accident Case

Only discuss your case with your personal injury lawyer. Talking with an attorney before you speak with the insurance company is best. Also, avoid social media, blogs, and other online posting sites.

Posting information online could hurt your case. Insurance companies perform thorough searches for evidence online. An innocent post saying you are okay could be twisted to argue you were not injured.

Hire an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer 

Having a trusted legal team handle your case could be one of the most important choices you make to help you get compensation after a personal injury. Handling your claim without legal advice and guidance often results in a much lower settlement amount. 

The insurance company has a team protecting it from liability. It is virtually impossible to fight those resources on your own. Instead, you can hire a personal injury law firm to even the playing field. Your attorney has the resources, skills, and experience to go up against insurance companies and win.

However, don’t just hire a lawyer. Instead, hire an attorney with considerable experience handling cases like yours. For example, if a car wreck caused your injury, hire a car accident attorney. But if you were injured in a slip and fall, hire lawyer with experience in premises liability law.

Complete Medical Treatment and Be Patient

A personal injury case can take time to settle, so you need to be patient to get fair compensation for a personal injury or accident. 

First, you don’t want to settle your claim before you complete medical treatment. Otherwise, you are responsible for future medical bills and losses. You also need to know if you sustained a permanent impairment that could substantially increase your claim’s value. 

Second, your lawyer needs time to investigate your claim and gather evidence. The more evidence you present, the better your chance of receiving maximum compensation for a personal injury. 

Being patient could result in much more money in your pocket at the end of your case. 

Listen to Your Personal Injury Attorney and Follow Their Advice

An insurance company might make a quick settlement offer. Don’t fall for it. Initial settlement offers are usually much lower than what your case is worth.

The insurance company knows you want to settle your case quickly. Therefore, it makes an offer and hopes you take it so the company can avoid paying a more considerable amount. 

Your lawyer understands how much your case is worth. So listen to your attorney’s advice about accepting a settlement offer. 

The choice is yours, but you hired your attorney for their expertise. If your attorney says the settlement offer is too low, don’t take the offer. 

It can be difficult waiting for a personal injury settlement. However, when you hire the right attorney and are patient, you have a much better chance of receiving the money you deserve.

What Makes a Personal Injury Case Go to Trial?

What Makes a Personal Injury Case Go to Trial?

Everyone wants their injury case to resolve quickly and easily. However, sometimes that’s not the case. Every qualified personal injury lawyer is prepared to file a lawsuit and go to trial when they can’t reach an agreement. 

Even though most personal injury cases do resolve by agreement, a case may go to trial for several reasons.

Settlement Vs. Trial

A settlement is an agreement between two parties to end a legal dispute. Usually, a settlement involves one party paying another money, even if it is less money than desired. Settlements can also include other terms like waiving your right to sue or to collect future damages

A settlement is a desirable outcome because everyone avoids a stressful trial. Plus, it reduces the risk on both sides. One side may be worried about having to pay more than the settlement offer after losing a trial, and the other may be worried about losing and getting nothing at all.

On the other hand, a trial is a legal proceeding where a judge or jury listens to the evidence and decides on a legal issue. In a personal injury case, they decide if the defendant is at fault for the accident and the total damages. A trial can be long and expensive depending on the number of witnesses and amount of evidence in a case. 

Liability Dispute

One reason why a personal injury case may go to trial is that there is a liability dispute. If the defendant doesn’t agree to take responsibility for the accident, then they may not agree to a settlement. 

Instead, you’ll need to file a personal injury lawsuit and have the court decide who is at fault during a trial. The decision maker may be the judge or a jury, depending on the type of trial that you choose.

Unfair Settlement Offer

It is very common for a defendant or their insurance company to make an unfair settlement offer. Usually, these offers are very low and do not fully compensate you for your injuries. If your lawyer negotiates with the insurance company but they refuse to pay you more, then the attorney may advise you to file a lawsuit and go to trial.

In these cases, your lawyer is fairly confident that you will win your case and get more money than the offer if you have a trial. Ultimately it is your decision whether or not to accept a settlement offer or go to trial since you are the one who must live with the consequences.

Low Insurance Policy Limits

If you were in a car accident or have a product liability claim, the defendant may be relying on their insurance company to pay for your injuries. Most insurance policies have a limit and won’t pay anything beyond it. After all, that’s the agreement that we make when we pay for an insurance policy.

If you have serious injuries and need more money than what is allowed by the policy, you may need to file a lawsuit against the defendant. That means going to trial. If you win your trial, the defendant will be responsible for paying the full amount of damages, regardless of their policy limit. Their insurance company will pay out the policy and the defendant will pay the excess.

How Can Personal Injury Lawyers Help During A Trial?

A personal injury lawyer can help you immensely during a trial. Trials are complicated legal processes. They involve pre-trial preparations like:

  • filing motions
  • taking depositions
  • collecting evidence
  • hiring experts

During the trial, you need to:

  • examine witnesses
  • enter evidence
  • make legal arguments 
  • make objections
  • follow specific court procedures in your region

Lawyers are trained to do each of these tasks. 

When people represent themselves in personal injury cases, the outcome is usually worse. That’s because non-lawyers don’t fully understand the law, the court procedure, or how to effectively make an argument. People who represent themselves can bog down the trial by making errors and mistakes that frustrate the judge and jury. This may result in losing the case and blowing your chance to get paid.

Contact an experienced injury attorney if you need help with your injury claim.

How Much Can I Get for My Personal Injury Case and How Long Will It Take?

How Much Can I Get for My Personal Injury Case and How Long Will It Take?

Without knowing the details of your case, it is impossible to determine how much your claim is worth, how long it will take to resolve, and how much you will get from your personal injury settlement. However, it is possible to list the elements of damages you might be eligible to receive, and it’s possible to identify some of the factors that will affect the timing of your case

Once you know this much, you can plug in the factors of your particular case and come up with a ballpark estimate. Florida personal injury law recognizes three main categories of damageseconomic damages, non-economic damages, and punitive damages

Economic Damages

Economic damages are tangible, easy to count, dollars-and-cents damages that include items such as medical expenses and lost earnings.

Medical expenses

You should receive personal injury compensation for virtually all of your medical expenses. Two main limitations are:

  • You might not receive compensation for fringe medical treatments such as homeopathy, and 
  • If health insurance covers some of your medical expenses, you cannot receive a double recovery based on a personal injury judgment or settlement

If your injuries are long-term, you can receive anticipated future medical expenses. You might need an expert witness to prove the amount.

Lost earnings

Lost earnings include amounts you would have earned if you hadn’t missed work due to your injury. 

Diminished earning capacity

Diminished earning capacity includes earnings you expect to lose in the future because a long-term or permanent injury will prevent you from returning to your previous job. You might need expert testimony to prove the amount of your claim.

Miscellaneous economic losses

Your injuries might have forced you to place your children into daycare. You might have had to hire someone to do housework while you were incapacitated. All of this and more can justify compensation.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages compensate you for intangible losses. They often amount to far more than economic damages.

Pain and suffering

Pain and suffering damages compensate you for the physical pain and distress you suffered because of your injuries.

Mental anguish and emotional distress

Mental anguish and emotional distress damages compensate for shock, fear, disappointment and other purely psychological pain.

Loss of enjoyment of life

Your injuries might have impaired your ability to enjoy activities that once sustained you, such as exercise, playing chess with your friends, etc. 

Disfigurement and physical impairment

Imagine you suffered extensive facial scarring. Compensation for your physical pain and suffering wouldn’t cover the social stigma and humiliation you experienced as a result.

Loss of consortium

Your spouse’s injuries may have deprived you of their intimacy, companionship, and sexual relations.  Loss of consortium damages compensate you for these losses. Remember, it is the injury victim’s spouse that files a claim for loss of consortium.

Punitive Damages

The purpose of punitive damages is to punish the defendant, not compensate the victim. As the victim, however, you still receive the money. Only outrageous behavior by the defendant justifies punitive damages, and courts usually refuse to award them.

Factors That Affect the Timing of Your Claim

Most successful personal injury claims settle out of court. Following is a list of factors that might influence how long you have to wait to receive compensation

How long it takes you to reach Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI)

MMI is the point where your doctor decides that your condition will not improve any further. It is best to wait until you reach MMI to file your claim so that you will know how much to ask for. The longer it takes you to reach MMI, the more money you can ask for.

The amount of your claim

The more money you ask for, the harder the defendant will fight and the longer your claim will take to resolve.

The complexity of your claim

More complex claims take longer to resolve than simpler ones.

Your negotiating skills

The better your negotiating skills (or your lawyer’s), the quicker you can resolve your claim.

Whether you file a lawsuit

Filing a lawsuit can slow down the resolution of your claim but add to the amount of your damages. Most lawsuits do not proceed to trial.

Whether the defendant will settle

If the defendant stubbornly insists on trial, you will have to wait longer for your money.

Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney for Help With Your Claim

In most cases, it takes a few weeks to a few months to settle a personal injury claim. If the case goes to trial, however, resolution could take a few months to a few years. Very few claims go to trial, and only in unusual cases does resolution take more than a year.
An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you maximize the value of your case and help move it along in an efficient manner. Contact a skilled personal injury attorney today to discuss your case.