Victims of motor vehicle accidents or other types of personal injury cases deserve financial compensation for damages and loss, according to the law in the state of Texas. This compensation, called personal injury settlement, should cover for medical bills, property damage, lost wages and various non-economic damages (pain and suffering, loss of consortium, etc.). However, the compensation for injuries that victims receive from insurance companies is usually not enough to cover for all these unexpected expenses and losses. At Calhoun, Meredith & Sims Law Firm, we are committed to help you maximize your personal injury settlement.
The main thing you need to know before you file an accident injury claim on your own is that insurance adjusters are not on your side. They are employed by automobile insurance companies and instructed to pay as little as possible, or even find reasons to deny your claim. Unfortunately, many people unwittingly commit mistakes that hurt their case and limit their possibility to pursue justice successfully by filing a personal injury lawsuit.
The first and foremost piece of advice any injury law firm can give you is not to fight your battle on your own. An experienced attorney can help you build a strong insurance claim, supported by evidence, and conduct negotiations on your behalf with insurance companies. Thee attorney's goal is to obtain the maximum compensation possible, so that you can make a good financial recovery, not only in terms of health and well-being.
Experienced injury attorneys will identify all the categories of damages you are entitled to receive from the responsible party and leave nothing to chance. They are the only ally you can rely on while you are in hospital, recovering from your crash injuries and emotional damages you suffered.
Therefore, here are ten steps you must follow in order to maximize your personal injury settlement:
If you want to obtain full compensation for injuries, your accident injury lawyer must be able to demonstrate that you suffered them as a direct result of the accident you were involved in. The initial report prepared by the EMT team is a very valuable piece of evidence in this context.
Also, you need to prove that you took all steps to mitigate your damages - that is, to recover under expert medical care. In the case of severe injuries (such as traumatic brain injury or spine injury) there is no question about getting to the hospital for treatment. However, you should call 9-1-1 and request an ambulance even if you don't feel pain. Accident injuries such as whiplash or soft tissue damage may take hours or days to show symptoms. If you see a doctor at a later date, the insurance adjuster may argue that you were injured in a separate, unrelated accident.
A personal injury attorney will attempt to search for evidence to build your case. But the critical evidence at the crash scene is long gone by the time they start working on your case. You should collect as much evidence as possible while waiting for the ambulance, such as:
You will get compensation for all your ongoing medical care costs once the accident settlement is reached. However, if you stop your recommended treatment plan, the insurance company representing the fault driver may state that your injuries are not as severe as you claim, since you no longer receive treatment for them. At the same time, if you reach the phase of a personal injury lawsuit, juries are less sympathetic towards victims who self-treat their injuries with pain medication only.
If you demonstrate that you are undergoing physical therapy and other specialized treatments under health care professionals' supervision, your case will be much stronger.
Everyone is on the social media and shares important updates and milestones in their lives. And by everyone, we also mean insurance company representatives. Be assured that they will monitor all your social media accounts, hunting for evidence to use against you.
Even an innocent photo smiling from the hospital bed can be construed as proof that you are not so badly hurt as you say. Everything you post and every comment you receive from family members and friends can and will be used against you.
One of the most costly mistake personal injury victims make is talking to the insurance adjuster who comes, sometimes to their hospital bed, to offer a settlement. Even if you refuse the settlement (which you must), you may be recorded with a smart phone in the insurance adjuster's pocket. Everything you say will be twisted and interpreted against you.
At the same time, you must beware of all the traps insurance companies will lay for you. They will frequently hire private investigators to record your daily activities when you are out of hospital. They may even attempt to trick you into lifting something heavy or doing any other activity that would prove that you are not injured.
Insurance companies will do a complete background check on you. They will know if you suffered any previous injury that required medical assistance, surgeries or other treatment. They will know of any condition you suffer from. Your personal injury lawyer also needs to know these aspects from the very beginning.
An apparently strong case can fall apart if the fault parties show that you were already injured or ill, thus your pain and suffering were probably not caused by your crash injuries. Armed with the information ahead of time, a skilled lawyer can prove that your bodily injuries are still related to the accident and the other party is liable to compensate you.
The first step in negotiating a personal injury settlement is refusing the quick settlement the insurance company proposes. However, you need to give reasonable arguments for your refusal. You should indicate aspects such as:
A skilled personal injury attorney can help you prepare the rejection letter, including strong arguments and using a professional language.
The law states that you must do anything you can to mitigate your damages. This includes going back to work, even in a reduced capacity, if it is possible. Otherwise, your request for future damages, including lost wages may appear unreasonable.
If you are unable to work, your accident lawyer will ask your doctor to issue an official letter stating this fact.
Every US state has a statute of limitations for personal injury cases. It represents the period of time you have available to file a claim or lawsuit for any type of accident caused by someone else's negligence. In the state of Texas, this period of time is two (2) years after the date of the accident. If you decide to file a lawsuit even one day after the expiration of the statute of limitation, your case will be dismissed.
This is why you should retain legal representation as soon as possible. Experienced injury lawyers know about the personal injury statute and how to prepare a successful injury claim on time. They will conduct negotiations for a reasonable period of time. If they cannot reach an agreement with the insurance company, you will be advised to file a personal injury lawsuit.
Some things cannot be hurried. Professional settlement negotiations take time. Various legal procedures need to be performed and documented. If you want a quick payout, you will receive only a small portion of what a personal injury attorney could negotiate on your behalf.
You need to trust your attorney and let them handle your case. After all, personal injury law firms work on a contingency basis. This means that they get their fees after they win your case and you get your damage claim paid. Thus, they are fully vested in your case and getting the maximum settlement they can.
Calhoun, Meredith & Sims Law Firm is the team of accident attorneys you need in the most difficult time in your life. We use knowledge of the law and innovative negotiation techniques to get results in all types of personal injury cases.
Our track record speaks for our professionalism and motivation to help each and every client. You are not alone in your time of need - you have a strong team of dedicated personal injury attorneys by your side. Call us for a free case review: 855-664-0273!