Ignoring one can impact your settlement.
You are not alone. 31 million people in the United States require a doctor’s attention as the result of a personal injury every year[a]. Whether you’ve suffered a personal injury or not, the experience can be unpredictable and stressful. What should I do? Do I have a case? Who do I call first? No matter the reasons for the injury, what you do next can have serious implications on your well-being and injury settlement. I’m here to help you. To better prepare you in the case you suffer a personal injury due to someone else’s negligence, and to give you the peace of mind you deserve, here are 10 things to remember before you call a personal injury attorney.
- You’re making the right decision to call a personal injury attorney. When you suffer a personal injury, the first inclination you may have is to speak with the negligent party’s insurance company. This is a mistake because they are very experienced and aggressive in making attempts to settle your case without the presence of a personal injury attorney. I don’t need to tell you that they want to work directly with you to save them from giving you the settlement you deserve, which in some cases can be 3 to 5 times the amount they’re willing to give you. Always call a personal injury attorney after an injury.
- Not all personal injury attorneys are right for you and your case. When people suffer a personal injury attorney, they may ask their own insurance company for recommendations. This is a mistake because they’ll likely recommend a firm by default without learning more about you and your case, and there’s no assurances that the firm specializes in, or has a positive record of settlements for your unique injury. Before you call a personal injury lawyer (and don’t call just one), consider asking them the following questions: How far is your office from my home address? Will I meet with a lawyer or paralegal first? How many clients have you worked with that had a similar case?
- There’s no such thing as a stupid question. I get it. Lawyers like myself may seem intimidating when you see us on Television or in the court room, but in real life we are your best advocate in your greatest time of need. It’s a personal injury attorney’s job to fully understand your case and deliver the highest degree of transparency, which means you should always ask every question that comes to your mind. Failing to ask even one question can have consequential effects on your case. Remember, you’re the victim and this is your case, so ask away.
- Some personal injury cases are easier than others. When you first speak with a personal injury lawyer, some of your first questions should center around the prospects of a settlement, and the complexity and timetable of similar cases. You should be prepared for some degree of complexity, especially if your attorney anticipates time in court and medical evaluations. Rest assured, what may seem complex to you is just part of the process for an attorney to get you the results you deserve. Not all personal injury cases are expeditious, and with that being said…
- You’ll settle only when you have a completed medical report. The faster the insurance company offers compensation, the slower you should take to complete a medical report. In my ## years of experience, the one thing that adds the most value to your settlement, and the most empathy to your case, is the completed medical report, which leads to the next two things to remember…
- You’ll settle only when you make a full recovery. Remember this one fact. Once you settle, you can never go back for more. I’ve read about this one too many times. A victim of a personal injury is misinformed by their doctor that they’ll make a full recovery, only come to find out a year after settling that they are still suffering from sustained injuries. While some injuries are final, the right personal injury attorney will only recommend settling once the medical evidence is complete and/or you’ve made a full recovery. You never want to settle your case for less than it’s worth.
- You have to be transparent with your doctors. Similar to the consequences of settling before you make a full recovery, it is very difficult to go back and change your medical report if you don’t disclose all of your symptoms to your doctors. Have you ever seen that billboard about the thousands of men who die from stubbornness every year? It’s because they refuse medical tests or to disclose all of their symptoms to their doctors. No matter how embarrassing or minor a symptom may seem to you, it is critical to include each and every symptom when fighting to get you the settlement you deserve, especially in cases where the injuries are permanent.
- Don’t forget about your psychological injuries. Another symptom that is often overlooked in personal injury cases is that of psychological trauma and emotional distress. PTSD is an all too common injury that our brave veterans experience when they return from overseas, but personal injury victims can also suffer similar or worse mental effects. This is why we always recommend including psychology and mental health experts when building your final medical report. While physical injuries may heal, psychological injuries have a less clear prognosis, therefore having a significant impact on your settlement.
- You have to prove that someone else was negligent. What does this mean for you? While the personal injury attorney’s job is to win your case, your job immediately to shortly after your accident is to gather all of the evidence and eyewitness testimonies you can find. You cannot wait on this too long, because the longer you wait to gather evidence and testimonies, the harder it is to gain possession of evidence and accurate testimonies. Be meticulous, like one of the characters on CSI. There’s no such thing as too much evidence.
- You have to prove how much the injury has cost you already. Imagine suffering an injury that prevented you from going to the grocery store. In order to have groceries delivered to your house, you need a friend to drive and pick them up, or you use a service like Instacart. Both should be recorded as an expense that resulted because of your injury. Your friend’s time, gas and mileage, or the cost of using a delivery service like Instacart. This is no different than your personal budget. You should keep track of every new expense that results from you being injured because of someone else’s neglect.
Click here for a printable one-page “10 Things to Remember Before You Call a Personal Injury Attorney” [a] https://www.lawlavinflorida.com/blog/us-personal-injury-statistics/