If you’ve been injured due to another person’s negligence, it’s important to take the proper legal steps. This applies whether it was medical malpractice, a traffic accident, or something else. If you file a legal claim you may be able to secure financial compensation from the responsible party or their insurance company. In this article, we’ll provide helpful tips and advice on how to protect your rights when filing a personal injury lawsuit.
Hire An Attorney
An experienced lawyer will help you navigate the complexities of the legal system and ensure that your rights are upheld throughout the process. Thanks to their qualifications and expertise, they can enable you to submit your legal claim, as well as provide support during negotiations and any court proceedings.
It’s important to find someone who’s familiar with your local area’s legal system, and who has experience handling cases similar to yours. An online search for a personal injury lawyer will reveal their practice areas, such as pedestrian, bicycle, motorcycle, or car accidents. You can often access live chat facilities, or request a free case review. Always ask how they’ll handle your claim financially. If it’s a ‘no win no fee’ arrangement you won’t have to worry about out-of-pocket costs.
Gather The Evidence
This will make your case as strong as possible before filing a lawsuit or embarking on settlement negotiations. Do all that you can to document any physical injuries, medical treatments and procedures, lost wages, and other damages sustained due to the accident. Collate copies of all medical reports or bills related to your case. Contact witnesses who can attest to what happened at the site of the accident, and take photographs of any visible injuries or property damage.
If the Police attended the incident you should request a copy of their report once it’s been produced. If a poorly maintained road was a factor in what occurred, take pictures of things like loose gravel, poor lighting, potholes, etc. Finally, keep track of any money spent on vehicle repairs following the accident.
Let Your Lawyer Handle All Communication
A personal injury lawsuit can be an intimidating process for victims and their families. When someone’s recovering from an accident, the last thing they want to do is take on an insurance company. The latter exists to make money, so it’ll be keen to reduce the amount of compensation, or avoid having to pay out altogether. To achieve this, the insurance company may seek to put words into your mouth, in order to compromise your case.
It’s therefore important to put your lawyer in charge of all communication with the other parties. They’ll know how to deal with a reluctant defendant or insurance company, in a way that increases your chances of being fairly compensated.
Be Careful When Using Social Media
Be wise about what information you post online, and think twice before hitting “send” or “share” on social media. If you describe the accident and your account differs from the official version, this could count against you.
Social media can be a great tool to share vacation photos, gym check-ins, and other life events. However, if you’ve signed off from work due to your injuries, such photos could affect your rights in a personal injury lawsuit. According to legal experts, any posts you make can be used as evidence in a court of law. As a result, the other party’s insurance company may be actively searching for such photos. The wisest action is to avoid using social media until your personal injury claim has been resolved.
Know What To Claim For
The main damages pursued in personal injury claims include medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. You may also be able to claim for trauma, punitive damages, or a loss of enjoyment of life.
Perhaps you now have a reduced earning potential, because you sustained a permanent disability during the accident. Alternatively, you may never be able to work again. You may have future expenses to consider, such as additional surgery, house modifications, or long-term medication. All of these considerations could be factored in when your lawyer assesses the potential settlement amount.
Let Your Lawyer Negotiate With The Insurance Company
As we said earlier, insurance companies are often resistant to paying out large claims. This is why it can be beneficial having a lawyer to help you negotiate. They’ll understand the law and know from experience what kind of compensation you should receive. They understand how much evidence is needed for a successful case, and will fight aggressively for every penny that’s owed to you. They’ll advise you whether to accept or reject a settlement offer, and will know how long you have to wait for payment.
A lawyer can sometimes get the insurance company to make an early offer for settlement. This reduces stress and time for all involved. It also helps both parties avoid costly court fees, and expenses associated with traditional litigation processes.
File Your Claim As Soon As Possible
The Statute of Limitations for submitting your personal injury case differs from state to state. This highlights the importance of hiring a local lawyer who’s familiar with such legislation. Typically, the clock starts ticking on the date of the accident or injury. Some victims wait too long and fail to file before the time period expires. If you do this, you’ll lose your right to pursue legal action against any negligent parties.
Perhaps you were involved in a work-related accident and filed a claim for Workers’ Compensation within the required time limit. If your employer (or their insurance company) declines your claim, speak to a lawyer. They can explain your rights and advise you on what to do next.
As you can see, there are lots of ways to protect yourself during a personal injury lawsuit. With an attorney by your side from day one, you’ll be in the best possible position. They’ll direct your steps, plead your case and secure a just and fair payout for your injuries.