Nobody ever wakes up in the morning and anticipates being hurt. Whether it’s tripping and falling on a set of icy stairs or getting T-boned in a car accident, personal injury situations are always a surprise. Unfortunately, this leaves most people exposed and uneducated on how to proceed.
The Significance of a Personal Injury Payout
A personal injury can have painful short-term consequences and even costlier long-term effects. And if the injury is someone else’s fault, you shouldn’t be left paying for the aftermath. You deserve compensation from the at-fault party; particularly in situations where serious injuries are involved.
“That’s because these injuries have profound effects on your life and finances,” Law Offices of Lane & Lane explains. “They render you unable to work or, in some cases, even take care of yourself. It’s important to get started on your claim for compensation right away to prevent as much damage to your financial wellbeing as possible.”
A failure to receive the proper compensation could leave you on the hook for thousands of dollars in medical bills, lost income, and property damage. It could also cause emotional trauma and reduce your overall quality of life.
6 Tips to Maximize Your Claim
The goal of any personal injury claim should be to maximize the payout in order to offset as much of the physical, emotional, and financial side effects you’ve experienced. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your situation:
1. Preserve All Evidence
Subjective claims are difficult to prove. They often turn into he-said-she-said conflicts that produce a coin-flip result. You need objective information to support your claim. Start by gathering and preserving as much evidence as you possibly can. This may include physical evidence from the scene of the crime – such as bloodied clothing – pictures, surveillance footage, or recorded statements from eyewitnesses. It’s better to collect too much evidence than not enough, so be liberal in what you choose to save and record.
2. Get Thorough Medical Treatment
Winning a personal injury case is all about getting fair payment for your injuries and other losses. The only way to objectively prove that you have injuries is to get medical treatment.
In terms of proving your claim, a medical profile with documented injuries, diagnoses, and doctor-prescribed treatment plans goes a long way towards putting a price tag on your situation. So even if you’re uncertain of the extent of your injuries, you should seek immediate treatment and follow any orders your doctor provides. Not only will this increase your chances of healing, but it’ll also bolster the value of your claim.
3. Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer
Unless it’s a very tiny personal injury case, there’s far too much at risk to represent yourself. Insurance companies are experienced and savvy. They can easily manipulate you into saying things you don’t mean and/or denying the benefits you’re owed. The best thing you can do is hire a personal injury lawyer. (And because most work on a contingency-fee-basis, you won’t owe a dime unless your case is awarded in your favor.)
4. Hang Up on the First Offer
Insurance companies are in the business of making a profit. The first offer they give you is almost certainly not the best offer. In fact, it could be just a fraction of what the entire case is worth. It’s for this reason that you should never accept the first offer. Instead, write down what they say, hang up, and then develop counterpoints for each point.
5. Be Patient
Patience is an important virtue in a personal injury case. It can take months or even years for a claim to unfold. If you feel rushed or impatient, you’ll end up making decisions that compromise the value and integrity of your case.
6. Respect Yourself
As prolonged as a personal injury claim can be, it’s tempting to reach a quick settlement and move on with your life. However, it’s important that you understand what’s at stake. When you accept a quick offer, you’re essentially saying you don’t respect yourself enough to obtain what you’re rightly owed. By waiting for the process to unfold, you show far more self-respect and dignity.
Adding it All Up
It’s hard to know just how much a personal injury will impact your future health, finances, and quality of life. Underestimating the full effects could leave you in a dire situation down the road. Having said this, take every opportunity to maximize your claim and rectify your situation.