According to personal injury law (tort law), personal injury cases arise when a person who has been injured by an action performed, product supplied, or accident caused by another person takes the dispute to a civil court. Such disputes can be solved through informal settlement methods but at other times, or when informal settlement does not work, the injured person may decide to file a lawsuit against the purportedly responsible party. The claimant seeks legal remedy (damages) for all the losses that have resulted from the incident or accident. Having an experienced personal injury doctor can truly make a difference in your claim.
Mishaps are not uncommon in the settling of disputes. It is, therefore, crucial to know how to go about the steps of protecting your rights or those of a loved one involved in a personal injury case. Below are useful tips for personal injury cases that can make the difference between getting the best settlement and losing the case:
1. Medical records
In the event of serious personal injury, you should get medical attention immediately. Many individuals make a big mistake of handling the situation before the injury is addressed by a medical professional. Having a medical professional examine the injury enables recording of evidence that is later used in the case. Failure to do so may reduce the damages that can be recovered. Also, seeking medical attention allows the injured party to reduce immediate losses.
2. Collect and preserve evidence
As the claimant, you bear the burden of proof in the case. To prove your claim at trial, you must present sufficient evidence. For example, take photos and videos of the scene where the incident happened and the visible injuries as soon as possible. If it’s an auto accident, call the police, record the location and request a copy of video surveillance from the relevant authorities. Remember that the defendant is also building a defense against your claim. Only clear and convincing evidence can help you win the case.
3. Know the value of your claim
Since you have to indicate the value of your damages in the settlement demand letter, you have to be careful not to limit yourself to a lower amount than your claim would have fetched. You should do a quick research to know how much your claim is worth. Having a figure in mind helps you in the back and forth discussion about your settlement with an adjuster. Also, you are able to make an informed decision when the adjuster offers you a take-it-or-leave-it option. However, you can adjust this figure upwards or downwards based on new facts.
4. Deal with insurance companies cautiously
Often, the injured person has to work with an insurance company in completing the personal injury claim. Insurance adjusters will deny liability or begin negotiations with a very low settlement amount to find out whether you know the amount your claim is worth. Don’t be impatient to take any amount. Emphasize on the strongest points favoring you and bargain to push the settlement amount further up. Insurance companies also ask for a recorded statement. DO NOT give a recorded statement to either the defendant or the insurance company without consulting an attorney.
5. Know the statute of limitations
Every personal injury claim has a deadline for filing a lawsuit. If you don’t meet the deadline, the law can deter you from ever filing the claim. Therefore, know the statute of limitations applicable in your state to ensure that you file your case within the allowed time window.
Other tips for personal injury cases include avoiding making social media posts and lying about your claim. To avoid making mistakes that can cost you a significant amount or the whole amount of your damages, consult an experienced personal injury attorney while filing your lawsuit and make sure you find a competent personal injury doctor.