Being placed in a situation where you have to fight simply to receive compensation for an injury caused by another party isn’t anyone’s idea of a good time. Truth be told, most Americans — at some point in their lives — will be taken advantage of financially or even physically injured because of another’s negligence. But because of the stigma regarding bringing even reasonable cases to court, many of us decide to move on instead.
And for those who do choose to fight the good fight, many of those cases will amount to nothing because of simple mistakes that could have been easily prevented. Here’s how to avoid making those mistakes when you have an otherwise good case.
First, for those of you who were injured because of an individual or organization — for whatever reason: Do not avoid seeking medical care! Many of us don’t believe we can afford to get better, which is why some people choose to heal on their own. That doesn’t look good in court. Failing to receive medical help means your injuries can be quantified in two metrics: dollars and emotional trauma. These count for a lot.
Second, when you do get to a doctor, make sure to keep track of your bills. Ask your doctor’s advice on potential future treatment and how much that might cost. Your personal injury lawyer will want a full accounting: what you’ve already paid, what you might pay in the future, and what you’ve failed to make by missing work. Was your future earning potential impacted? It’s something to keep in mind.
Third, make sure you call the police for those cases that require it. Usually, that means a car accident. You’ll want access to witness statements and police reports when you get in front of a judge.
Fourth, don’t put off the lawsuit. Go do some research on personal injury lawyers. Chat with a few before you make a final decision on which is best for you! Consultations are almost always free. Delaying can mean an elapsed statute of limitations, which shuts you out of a court-based settlement permanently. That means your options for compensation go out the window.
Fifth, don’t think you can file a personal injury lawsuit without a lawyer. You need someone who knows the nuanced details of personal injury law. This isn’t a subject you can do a little research about online and then show up in court thinking you can impress the judge with your know-how. Chances are you’re suing someone — a company, for example — that has more resources than you do. Don’t lose a case because you wanted to do it yourself!