After suffering serious injuries in a sudden accident, it can seem like your life will never be the same. You may be dealing with tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills and lost income due to your inability to work during your recovery, not to mention the physical limitations that make returning to your old job uncertain. However, you may be able to obtain compensation for your injuries through a personal injury lawsuit.
To be successful in a personal injury lawsuit, you need to keep a few things in mind. Resolving your case can happen in one of two ways. Either you can accept a pre-trial settlement offer from the at-fault party’s insurance company, or, if you are not satisfied with that offer, you can take your case to trial.
In the vast majority of cases, the parties agree to settle claims out of court. Both insurance companies as well as plaintiffs do not like the uncertainty that comes along with trying a case in front of a jury. Whenever a matter is decided by a jury, there is always for a risk for the insurance company that the potential damages could be higher, but likewise, a risk for the plaintiff that the award can be lower.
However, just because most personal injury cases settle doesn’t mean that a favorable settlement is a foregone conclusion. Thus, diligent case preparation is crucial whether your aim is to secure a favorable personal injury settlement or lawsuit.
In addition, here are a few other tips that can help you make sure that you are fully compensated for your personal injury.
Be Sure to Report the Accident
Reporting an accident creates documentation that the accident occurred. If you did not report an accident and later filed a claim, the insurance company might argue that the accident never happened or that your injuries stemmed from an unrelated incident.
Physical evidence and eyewitness testimony can be key to winning a personal injury lawsuit. For example, if another driver hit your car, you would want to take photos of the scene and ask for the contact information of witnesses.
Identify All Your Damages
If successful in bringing a personal injury claim, you can recover various forms of compensation. This includes economic damages such as medical bills, future medical expenses, and lost income. In terms of economic damages, the most important thing you can do is obtain prompt medical attention after the accident. This will establish the severity of your injuries and help you prove your future damages.
However, economic damages represent only part of the total damages you can recover. Under state law, you can also ask for non-economic damages to compensate you for your pain and suffering, as well as the other emotional and psychological effects the accident had on your life.
Patience Is Key
After an accident, you may be in a tough financial spot, and insurance companies know this. Frequently, an insurance company will approach injury victims shortly after an accident with a low-ball settlement offer. In doing so, they are hoping to take advantage of the victim’s desperation. Don’t fall for these tactics, as an insurance company’s first offer typically compensates you for only a small fraction of your damages. As the case gets closer to trial and all the evidence comes to light, insurance companies often change their tune.
Don’t Wait to File a Claim
While it may not seem like there is any harm in waiting to file a claim, time is of the essence if you want to pursue a personal injury case. Unless a rare exception applies, the court will dismiss any claim filed after the statute of limitations expires. Additionally, as time goes on, evidence is harder to locate. For example, parties may destroy physical evidence, and witnesses may be harder to track down.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer
When you are ready, the next step in filing a personal injury claim is to pick up the phone and contact a dedicated personal injury lawyer. Whether you are interested in receiving compensation as quickly as possible or maximizing your damages by taking a case to trial, an attorney can develop an effective strategy to win a personal injury lawsuit.