Injured in an accident caused by another party’s negligence? Unfortunately, that fact alone is not enough to ensure your personal injury claim will get you the settlement you deserve.
Here are five tips for filing a successful personal injury claim, straight from our Miami personal injury attorneys.
Seek Medical Treatment Immediately
One of the biggest mistakes we see personal injury victims make is delaying or entirely forgoing medical treatment. Often, this is because one does not initially believe the injury to be worth a visit to the hospital. However, soreness following an accident can quickly turn into something far more serious. As a general rule of thumb, one should always visit at least a primary care physician following an accident. Of course, if urgent care is needed, it is advisable to visit the emergency room. Failure to do so could result in an adjuster failing to recognize the extent or seriousness of your injury, leading to a subpar settlement — if any at all.
Stretching the truth may seem tempting when it comes to the extent of your injury or your past medical history, but doing so is bound to be more detrimental than helpful to your case. Even if you were injured before your accident, it is essential to be honest about that, whether you’re communicating with a doctor, the insurance adjuster, or even your attorney. Additionally, it’s equally important to be consistent. In the midst of going to and from doctor appointments and detailing the experience again and again to insurance representatives, it can be difficult to recall specific details. To avoid accidentally jumbling facts, it is best to write down the events of the accident, make note of all appointments, and so on.
Rely on Emotion and Evidence
The evidence you are able to present will be a determining factor in the outcome you receive, so be sure to maintain a paper trail of all key information when preparing to make a claim. This means taking photos at the scene of the accident along with any injuries, keeping careful medical records, and having all police records readily available. At the same time, emotion will also play a critical role in your case. Be sure to make emotional links to the evidence you present. For instance, if you have a child who has suffered as well due to your injury, conveying this to the adjuster can bring the issues that go beyond pain or suffering to light.
Do Not Feel Compelled to Accept the Initial Offer
Being a strong negotiator, or enlisting a personal injury attorney who is, can go a long way in personal injury settlements. Receiving a disappointing offer, or a refusal to admit liability at all does not mean your case is lost. It is not unheard of for insurance adjusters to enter this phase with a low settlement estimate, so don’t feel that you have to accept it. Instead, request that the adjuster validate the settlement amount. Depending on how he or she does so, you may be able to issue a response or adjust your demand to sway the other party to reach a fair number.
Know When to Seek Legal Counsel
If your settlement efforts prove to be unsuccessful, or you recognize that you may need legal assistance from the start, it is important to seek out an attorney sooner rather than later. Your lawyer can walk you through the legal resolutions available, and help plot a course of action. Ideally, he or she can simply negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf, helping you avoid the courtroom altogether. Ultimately, the right approach will depend on your unique situation.
Still unsure how to win your personal injury claim? Our experienced personal injury attorneys are here to help. Schedule a free consultation now to get the professional guidance you need.