When you suffer injuries and property damage by someone else’s negligent actions, you are entitled to file a personal injury claim and receive financial compensation. This is what most accident victims know – but not all of them receive the fair compensation they deserve. Some people are ready to accept the quick settlement offered by the insurance company. Others decide to negotiate on their own and demand a monetary compensation they cannot justify with evidence. In this article, the team of personal injury lawyers at McDonald Worley Law Firm will offer you a guide that will help you maximize your personal injury compensation.
Key Elements of Any Successful Personal Injury Claim
In order to get compensation for injury from an insurance company or as a jury award in a personal injury lawsuit, your case must meet the three conditions required by personal injury law:
- you must demonstrate that the responsible party owed you a duty of care
- you must show that they breached the duty of care by causing the event
- you must prove that the event directly caused your bodily injuries.
At the same time, you must be able to prove that you do not share more than 50% of the responsibility for the occurrence of the event. This can be a complex issue, especially in the case of car accidents, which represent the most common type of personal injury case. Thus, injury victims need to act with diligence and let an experienced personal injury lawyer calculate the fair payment they are entitled to, supported by evidence, and negotiate the claim with insurance adjusters.
What to Do to Increase Your Chances of Getting Maximum Compensation
Every thing you do or say immediately after the event that caused your injuries and in the following days has an impact on the final outcome of your personal injury case. You need to understand that there are legal and financial compensation for each statement you make and action you perform. Therefore, these are the 10 tips to keep in mind if you are involved in an accident that qualifies as a personal injury case.
1. Collect and Preserve Evidence
Even the most experienced personal injury attorney needs to base their plea on real life evidence.. Establishing fault for the accident, for instance, requires photographs and video recordings, the police report at the accident scene and witness depositions.
Thus, you must remain calm after your accident, call the police to investigate and collect your own evidence. To this end, use your phone to take photos and videos of your injuries and the area where the incident happened. Obtain the other party’s name and address and insurance information. Look around and identify witnesses and ask them to give you their contact details.
2. Do Not Admit Fault or Assign Blame
The first moments after an accident are fraught with conflicting emotions, fear and shock. You are worried about the extent of your physical injuries. You are angry at the at-fault party. You are afraid you may have caused the accident. The important thing is to control all these emotions and refrain from saying sorry or pointing the finger at the other party.
When the police or a property manager asks you questions, simply describe what happened. Be honest, be truthful and stick to the facts. The police, the insurance company and your own personal injury lawyer will investigate what happened and create an accurate picture of the accident.
3. Seek Medical Care
You may be worried about medical costs if you call an ambulance or go to the hospital, but this is the only way of proving that your injuries were directly caused by the accident. An experienced attorney will include all your medical expenses in your future claim.
However, if you do not get help from medical professionals, you may worsen your already severe injuries and hurt your personal injury case. An insurance adjuster can easily cast doubt on the direct connection between your injury and the accident, claiming that you got injured at a later date, under different circumstances.
4. Disclose Any Past Injuries and Preexisting Medical Conditions
Honesty is the best policy. Your legal team needs to know if you suffer from specific medical conditions or were injured in the past. In some cases, your the preexisting injury may not be fully healed and the accident made them worse. Staying silent about these issues will have a negative impact on your case.
The defense attorney for the insurance company can easily find out about your past injuries and cast doubt on the actual extent of the injuries caused by the accident you suffered. Once you lose credibility, you lose your chances of getting the compensation amount you are seeking.
5. Stay Away from the Social Media
What you post on various social media networks can destroy your credibility and ruin your chances of fair compensation. If you state in your settlement demand letter that you suffered devastating injuries, yet you post photos relaxing at home with friends, you are telling two different stories. And since, as the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words, your social media post will be believed over your written statements.
Remember that the social media is a public forum, and any insurance adjuster or defense lawyer can and will find your profiles and browse them, including the public comments made on your posts. This is why you should also refrain from discussing your personal injury case with family and friends. Their comments on how well you are healing, although well meaning, may also hurt your case, just as badly as your own posts.
6. Don’t Accept the First Settlement Offer
Insurance companies want to close claims quickly, for as little monetary compensation as possible. This is not the adequate compensation you deserve, because it does not take into account any of your actual financial damages:
- medical care costs
- lost wages as per your wage statement
- various out of pocket expenses
- future medical costs
- long term care costs.
Also, an experienced attorney will also include non-economic damages in compensation claims, for physical pain, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life and difficulties with daily activities.
7. Justify Your Refusal
You must show the insurance company why you refuse their insufficient settlement. Without clear motivation, they may argue that you are only interested in getting as much money as you can. A detailed explanation of your refusal also shows the insurance adjuster that you have a sufficient evidence for a strong case. This may determine them to be open for negotiations with your personal injury attorney.
8. Do Not Wait Too Long
You must be aware that, according to the statute of limitations in the state of Texas, you have a period of two years to file a claim or a personal injury lawsuit, starting from the date of the accident. This may appear as plenty of time. But you must consider how much time it takes to make a complete recovery, or reach the point of maximum medical improvement.
This is when your lawyer can calculate the total costs with medical care and estimate the costs for future rehabilitation or nursing care, if applicable. Therefore, you should retain legal representation as soon as possible. In this way, your attorney can investigate your case, collect evidence for trial (in case the settlement negotiations fail) and devote sufficient personal attention to your case.
9. Collaborate with Your Attorney
Your lawyer will need your help to build your case. A skilled personal injury attorney knows that you need time to recover both physically and emotionally. However, they will need to get all the physical evidence you collected at the accident scene, witness contact details, as well as your agreement to let the lawyer access private records prepared by medical providers.
Also, you should tell the lawyer who were the first responders who investigated the accident, in order to request records and official accident reports from them. Your collaboration and honesty will make a huge impact on the outcome of your case.
10. Make a Good Impression in Court
In some cases, insurance companies do not accept the settlement demand your lawyer presents them and no consensus is reached during negotiations. In this case, the attorney will instruct you to file a personal injury lawsuit.
You will have to attend hearings and even give your deposition. You must make the effort to appear neatly dressed, presentable, and talk in a calm and courteous manner. Your attorney will instruct you in terms of what you can expect from the defense counsel and will always intervene to put a stop to abusive deposition tactics. But you must also control your emotions and language and show the judge and the jury that you are an honest person who only seeks justice.
Choose an Experienced Personal Injury Law Firm!
McDonald Worley Law Firm is your best choice if you want to get maximum compensation for your damages, pain and suffering. We are an award-winning law firm, with extensive experience in all types of personal injury cases.. We blend in-depth knowledge of the law with the latest technologies and innovative approaches to settlement negotiations to obtain the fair compensation each of our clients deserves.
Call us now for a free case review: 877-721-3423!