I have a relative who has recently been injured in a car accident. We believe the other driver is at fault, and the family is planning to file a personal injury claim. We’re trying to gather as much information as we can about the claims process and what we need to do. What can we do to maximize compensation in the case?
Every personal injury is different, and therefore, carries different consequences. Because of that, it isn’t really possible to pin down an “average” payout for a personal injury case. First, you’ll need to do everything in your power to ensure a successful claim in the first place. While it’s difficult to make an estimate for compensation in the beginning, there are several things you can do to improve your odds of receiving a fair settlement.
Seek Medical Attention
Anyone involved in a car accident should seek medical attention as soon as possible, even if they feel fine. There are several injuries, like concussions or whiplash, which may not exhibit symptoms until after the fact. Receiving immediate care is the best bet for your own safety and a quick recovery.
Medical attention is also crucial if you think you have a legal case because it lets you get your medical records in order as soon as possible. Delaying medical treatment could discredit your claim and allow the defendant to argue that your injuries came from a source outside of the accident.
After receiving your initial treatment, it’s imperative to keep in contact with your doctor and follow any instructions regarding follow-ups or additional treatments to keep your medical records spotless. Any errors, gaps, or inconsistencies can be devastating to your claim.
Before you start trying to file your claim, it’s best to go ahead and collect as much evidence about the accident as possible. In a perfect world, there would be video or photographic evidence of the accident itself that you could use to support your claim. Considering the stress of the situation, it could be that this was overlooked.
It’s still worthwhile to return to the scene. Photographs of the accident location and any signs, landmarks, skid marks, or other noteworthy sites can still provide greater context of the situation. This one is more of a long shot, but if you happen to know who was driving the other car, you might try looking into busted mugshots. The driver may have some history that could prove useful in your case.
Enlist the Right Help
To really boost your chances at a successful settlement, it’s a good idea to have an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side, especially if you’ve already been denied a claim. Many personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis, meaning they only take the payment out as a percentage from a winning case, so you don’t risk much looking for attorneys. Collecting as many materials as you can in the previous steps will also show that you’re a serious, cooperative client which can make a lawyer more willing to take your case.
It’s important to find a lawyer who takes a personal interest in your case, according to Daniel Kim, managing partner of an award-winning personal injury firm. A lawyer who is invested in helping you will know the ins and outs of the system and do their best to ensure a favorable outcome.
Just remember to keep in contact with your lawyer, as you still have a job to do as a client. Your attorney needs to be updated on your medical condition and any new situations. It’s also best to refer any questions regarding your case to your attorney and refrain from speaking about it until it’s over.