If you have been injured in an accident and you are considering filing a personal injury claim, here are seven tips for maximizing your personal injury compensation after an accident.
1. Document Your Accident
Whenever possible, it is best to obtain as many facts as you can regarding the accident. Including taking photographs of the scene, making a note of the contact information of any witnesses, getting pictures of vehicles or instrumentality and preserving evidence (e.g. shoes if you are involved a slip and fall accident).
The injured person (plaintiff if you commence a lawsuit) has the burden to prove their case, and independent witnesses, as well as photographs, can go a very long way in that regard in proving liability against the at-fault party. The importance of an early investigation by personal injury lawyer and of the client documenting information at the scene cannot be overstated. In some cases, evidence can be lost through no fault of your own and it may make proving your case a little more difficult.
2. Seek Prompt Medical Care
The sooner you see a doctor after your accident the better off you will be as far as a personal injury claim goes. Long delays in initial treatment can make the proof in your case much harder than it should be. Usually, a person will delay seeking medical care hoping that the problem will go away without medical help. In other words, the person tries to tough it out, which makes it appear that the injuries were not server. It is possible that such conduct could hurt the injured party’s personal injury claim.
3. Get Specialists Involved When Needed
One of the most important aspects of a personal injury claim is identified the injuries sustained in the accident. Many primary care physicians are not equipped to test for or deal with injuries that require specialist care (e.g. orthopedist, neurologist). Whether it is a neck or back injury requiring the input of an orthopedic surgeon or a closed head injury that may need a neurologist or neuropsychologist, obtaining specialist help when needed is important for your case. The more serious the injury the more likely it is that you will need a specialist involved not only to diagnose your problems but also to help you recover quicker.
Likewise, specialized testing should be utilized whenever possible to diagnose the injury as soon as possible after the accident. Hospital emergency rooms are geared to dealing with life or death situations and generally will not order expensive, sophisticated testing unless they believed the situation might be potentially life-threatening at the time. If you have a spinal cord injury, x-rays will only show fractures and will not show problems with your discs, which require an MRI or CT scan for proper diagnosis. If your doctor provides you with a referral for an MRI or a CT scan, you should go have the radiological test done.
4. Always Follow Your Doctor’s Orders
Following your doctor’s instructions to the letter is important not only for your speedy recovery but also in demonstrating your commitment to trying to make a full recovery. Additionally, failure to follow your doctor’s instructions can infer that the injury may not be as serious as it is. Personal injury victims look poorly in front of juries when they are cross-examined on their failure to follow their physician’s instructions.
5. Avoid Lapses In Treatment
One common problem of personal injury victims is the dreaded lapse in treatment scenario which is a red flag to the insurance company evaluating the case and also can make it very hard to settle your claim before trial. Further, lapses in treatment tend to suggest that the injury was not that serious or the problems faced by the victim not that enough to seek medical care. As in failing to follow your doctor’s orders, failing to get appropriate and time care usually, results in a lesser monetary recovery.
6. Don’t Give Statements To The Adverse Insurance Company
If you are in a serious accident or one in which the adverse company could face substantial exposure, you can expect the insurance adjuster to contact you and request a recorded statement from you shortly after the accident. Often this happens the day after the accident and before many people have their injuries fully diagnosed. Giving a statement to the adverse carrier never helps your cause and certainly can hurt your case because although you are thinking you are helping yourself by answering the adjuster’s questions, your answers may not be phrased properly. Innocent comments can be taken out of context and used against you in your case.
7. Hire The Best Personal Injury Attorney
Personal injury victims should thoroughly research personal injury attorneys before signing any paperwork with the lawyer. Too often, a victim will quickly hire an attorney who has been recommended by a friend or family member only to find out later that the attorney is either not a personal injury lawyer or is not the best attorney for their case. Often times personal injury victims retain the services of an attorney whose practice is a factory mill (i.e. they take every case that enters through the door). In this type of law firm, the injured party’s personal injury claim is handled by a paralegal or a new inexperienced attorney and the injured victim does not have much contact with the attorney that they retained.
It is important that consumers make educated choices regarding the attorneys that they are considering before retaining one. If you feel the lawyer talking with you may not do the work, ask specifically who will be doing the work on your case and who will answer to you on the status of the case. If you cannot get a commitment from the attorney who is meeting with you that they will individually handle your case, you may want to consider another alternative. We recommend that you research lawyers and meet with several before choosing to ensure that the attorney has the experience and track record necessary for your type of claim.