When it comes to personal injury cases, employing a specialized lawyer is a critical component — but that doesn’t mean you can’t do your part to increase your compensation. Here are a few key methods to help you increase and maximize your personal injury settlement, whatever the damages may be.
Start keeping records, now
If you’re looking at a personal injury settlement, it can be tough to mobilize yourself. After all, you’re hurt and probably need some rest. Regardless, make record-keeping your top priority from the get-go.
Don’t throw anything anyway. Collect photographs of the scene of the accident and/or injury, if you have them (tip: it’s a good idea to take photos). Collect the contact information of any and all witnesses. Be sure to get yourself a copy of the police report, too.
Your personal injury attorney(s) will know what to do with all the information you’ve gathered. All in all, it will help them help you maximize your personal injury settlement.
If you haven’t seen a doctor, do so right away
The nature of a personal injury lawsuit is an injury. As a result, seeing a doctor is an imperative step in the process, and you should do it as soon as possible.
A doctor’s statement serves as an unbiased testament to your injuries, as well as what you’ve already done (and plan to do) to treat your injuries. It’s easy enough for someone to say they’re injured, but to actually receive confirmation from a medical professional is a whole different story.
The sooner you visit the doctor, the better. And like we mentioned above, be sure to keep records of all your visits and conversations with the doctor or hospital.
Remember, you don’t have to take your first settlement offer
More often than not, the first couple of settlement offers on any personal injury case are lowballed. If you’re ailing, perhaps even unemployed as a result of your accident, any amount of money can feel worth it.
However, plaintiffs often benefit from holding out instead of accepting offers immediately. It all depends on your attorney’s advice, but you may be better off waiting until the defendant increases their settlement offer. There might be a substantial difference from the early offers, too.
In short, waiting to accept an offer could mean maximizing your personal injury settlement.
Be careful on social media — it could screw you in more ways than one
If you’ve been injured and plan to pursue a personal injury settlement, then you’ll probably want to avoid social media as much as possible. There’s two reasons we say this:
- You may be inclined to “out” the defendant for their fault in your accident, but that could bring trouble to the case. You want to stay on their good side.
- You might get caught with a photo of you running a 5k (or any other physical activity that doesn’t align with your statement of damages) a couple of months after your accident, which doesn’t do your case any good.
Take various types damages into account when valuing your claim (including future damages)
There are different types of damages in personal injury cases, and you want to consider all of them.
Firstly, there are economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages represent direct financial loss, while non-economic damages result from suffering that’s not directly financial in nature. With this in mind, the five types of damages are:
- Medical bill compensation (economic)
- Lost wages (economic)
- Pain, suffering and emotional distress (non-economic)
- Wrongful death and loss of companionship or consortium (non-economic)
- Punitive (non-economic)
No two cases are the same, and considering all of these can help you increase your personal injury settlement.
Get a move on it
It’s important to act quickly in the event of a personal injury lawsuit. Part of this is getting adequate representation in a reasonable time frame. The sooner you have an experienced personal injury attorney on your team, the better off you’ll be in court.
While you don’t necessarily want to take the first offer that comes your way, you do want to have some things in order right off the bat. The more people you have on your side, the less you’ll have to prove when push comes to shove.
Porcaro Law Group of Delray Beach, Florida works with folks who’ve been injured in the last two years. We perform free consultations to discuss your case and chances of winning. Learn how to maximize your personal injury settlement and contact us for hands-on help in the proceedings.