You’ve been injured in an incident that was not your fault, and like most people in your situation, you have quickly accrued steep bills while paying for the damages you incurred in the accident. What can you do to make sure you are able to receive fair compensation to cover those damages? Multiple factors can affect the amount of compensation you are able to obtain after an injury. The first step you should take is to find a lawyer who will work with you through your personal injury claim. There are also certain measures you, as the plaintiff, can take to help yourself and help your attorney recover full monetary damages for your losses.
Let’s take a look at a few of the recommendations our team at Buckingham Barrera Vega Law Firm makes to our clients in Midland who have been injured and are seeking damages. The following tips will help you and your lawyer manage your case smoothly and achieve the best possible outcome.
Keep Meticulous Records
The amount of compensation you can receive is dependent upon how conclusively you can show the damages you sustained. Saying you are injured is not enough to convince an insurance company that you are hurt and in need of compensation to cover your medical bills. In order to substantiate your claim, you need tangible evidence proving that what you say is what actually happened. When a case comes down to the defendant’s word against your word, you need to be able to back up your claim with proof.
From the moment the incident occurs, you should begin gathering and maintaining pertinent evidence to support your case. This can include:
- Photos or video of the accident scene
- Writing down details immediately after the incident (written by you and a witness)
- Police reports
- Medical bills
- Medical records and photos or other documentation of the injury
- Contact information of any witnesses of the accident
- Physical evidence such as a broken ladder, dented vehicle, or bodily scars
- Employment records showing lost wages
- Pain journal documenting your suffering and recovery progress
Follow the Doctor’s Orders
This may seem like a simple directive, but it can be tempting to become lax in your physical therapy, skip appointments, or neglect to take your medications on schedule, particularly if you become busy, stressed, or focused on other things during your recovery period. But when you are not following the doctor’s orders to the letter, this fact can be used by the defendant’s legal team to prove that you are not as severely hurt as you claim you are. It is important to make sure you are completing the following recovery activities, and any others that your doctor may prescribe or advise:
- Fill and take prescription medications
- Attend all scheduled appointments and follow-ups
- Only return to work with a doctor’s approval
- Adhere to all diet, medicinal, rest, sleep, and therapy regiments
- Partake in physical therapy and rehabilitation activities as directed
An attorney who knows personal injury law also knows that deadlines are important. There are a few timelines to consider in a personal injury case, depending on when the official complaint is filed, and when you and your attorney get a pre-trial scheduling order and are assigned a trial date by the court. There are additional considerations your legal representative will need to make, taking into account issues such as:
- Statutes of Limitations. A state of limitations is the amount of time you have to file a claim after the accident. Under Texas law, you have two years to file a personal injury claim in most cases.
- Not Rushing to Settle. Your lawyer knows that an insurance company’s initial offer is almost never adequate. They will be able to maintain the negation schedule to make sure nothing is agreed upon too early on in the proceedings, and that the opposing party has time to make a settlement offer that is more in accordance with what you are actually entitled to.
- Observing Injuries. One way you can help your case is by making sure you have full knowledge of the extent and severity of your injuries before making any statement about how you have been hurt. A good lawyer will advise you to take your time and observe your body in the hours to weeks after the accident. This can be a very serious matter in terms of your accident claim, but more importantly your health. To learn some of the common symptoms of a latent injury, read more about signs of delayed car accident injuries here.
Consider All Damages
Your lawyer knows that both economic damages which compensate for monetary losses and non-economic damages which address less-tangible losses need to be considered. You will only be able to receive maximum compensation in your personal injury case when you have an attorney who comprehensively surveys and calculates every type of damage. Your legal representative will take into account all of the following damages and others which may apply to your specific case:
- Medical expenses
- Loss of current or future income
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Loss of consortium (loss of a close relative or loved one)
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Use Social Media Cautiously
In today’s world, it is almost unusual to meet someone who does not have a social media account of some kind. This statistic has made an impact in the realm of personal injury law, as it has become common practice for insurance companies and lawyers to use information gleaned from social media accounts to call the facts of a plaintiff’s claim into question.
While social media is an important, and sometimes the only way for people to keep in contact with their loved ones while they are recovering from an injury, be aware that what you post online can be used against you in a personal injury case. Some of those seemingly harmless posts can come back to minimize the amount of compensation you are able to receive. It is usually best to adjust your privacy settings or refrain from using social media for a time. For example, the following scenarios can substantially damage your claim:
- You post about an activity that is difficult to do with an injury.
- You give indications you are well and healthy when you are injured or ill.
- You imply happiness and emotional health when you are experiencing anxiety or depression.
- You post at a time when your records show you to be at a doctor’s appointment.
- A friend or family member posts about how well you are doing.
- You post a fact that contradicts an earlier statement you made.
- You show yourself to be in locations difficult to access in your condition.
Trust Your Lawyer
There is too much at stake in a personal injury claim to take the process lightly. We know that your financial future often depends on the outcome of the case. And your ability to receive quality medical care, replace your totaled vehicle, repair your property damage, or overcome mental and emotional pain is drastically impacted by the compensation you receive.
If you have been injured through the negligence of another party, you need to find a legal advocate in Midland whom you can fully trust. Contact us with your questions today. We will set up a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your case. After a conversation in our office, you will know if we are the right team to represent you.