Although millions of people are involved in personal injury incidents every year, most of us have no idea what to do when it happens to us.
The truth is that accidents happen when we least expect them, and they’re never convenient. Personal injuries can be minor blips on the roadmap of your life, or they can throw you completely off course, never to return.
If you find yourself in the position of filing a personal injury claim, there are a few things you should know on this new journey. The good news is that many people have been in your shoes before, and they’ve left a trail of tips for you to follow. Which you can also check the discovery phase of personal injury claims here.
1. Follow Your Doctor’s Orders
From the start, you should see a medical doctor. Getting documentation as early as possible helps prove that the injury was directly related to the incident that happened to you.
A visit to the emergency room is the quickest way to start collecting documentation. There, you’ll have all the tests done to make sure you don’t have anything serious or life-threatening. Then, you’ll receive treatment for any injuries.
The attending physician can give you any necessary prescriptions for medications and a referral to a doctor’s office for a follow-up visit. Make sure to fill those prescriptions, even if you choose not to use them all later, and go to any appointments your doctor sends you to.
Failure to do these steps may be seen as non-compliance and used against you by the defendant’s lawyer. More importantly, though, you’ll be delaying your own recovery.
2. Save Any Evidence
With your health taken care of, the next thing to consider is the evidence that shows what happened when you were injured.
This part of the claim involves working with an expert personal injury attorney who knows what to look for in your particular situation. For instance, if you were in an auto accident, you should hire a lawyer skilled in motor vehicle cases. You can go here for the best personal injury lawyer.
Your lawyer will help you collect and preserve any evidence, including photos of the scene of the accident, the contact information of witnesses, and police reports. The lawyer can also use Evidence Animation to make your case strong.
Don’t throw out anything until you’ve shown it to your legal representative. It could be important. And never talk about your accident on social media or in a text. Those comments, however well-meaning they are, can be used against you by the other party, as well. In case you need a personal injury lawyer, you should contact Jurewitz Law Group in San Diego.
3. Don’t Undervalue Your Injury
One of the most dangerous mistakes people make after a personal injury is discounting their damage. The insurance company knows how to tempt the claimant by offering just enough money to get them to settle.
What sounds like a lot of cash probably won’t be enough to pay for your medical expenses and lost wages. Consider the long-term expenses of pain management, missing work, transportation and fuel to go to the doctors, and other costs that add up.
If your injury ends up being permanent, these expenses will come out of your pocket for years, possibly decades. Does that initial settlement figure sound like enough to pay for everything?
Never agree to a settlement before talking to an attorney. Your lawyer will explain how compensation works. You could be entitled to things like punitive damages, long-term medical care, and mental anguish compensation.
But once you sign off on that small figure, the case is closed, and you won’t ever get the insurance to pay for anything else.
4. It Could Be a Slow Process
What many personal injury claimants don’t realize at first is that it may be months or years before they’ll receive a settlement.
The value of your injury depends on how severe it is. The judge and jury won’t know if you have permanent damage until your body has had a chance to recover fully. This process can’t be rushed, and it is completely dependent on your cooperation with the doctors in charge of your care.
However, there are statutes of limitations to consider. To avoid missing essential deadlines, talk to a lawyer and let them handle the paperwork and red tape.
Dealing with an unexpected personal injury upends your life. While you focus on trying to get yourself back on firm footing, you’re also handling the vital aspect of a lawsuit. Small mistakes can cause massive damage to your case.
Keep these tips in mind when you file a claim and be sure to hire a reputable lawyer to help you. Let them deal with the legalities and guide you as you put your attention to recovering from your injury.