If you or a loved one suffered an injury, or if you lost a loved one, your quality of life was affected by someone else’s negligence. That’s no small thing. When you win your personal injury case, you’ll be able to take the steps you need to rebuild your life after your injury. Paying off medical debt and replacing lost wages can go a long way toward helping you get back to normal.
A legal case is built on evidence, and in a personal injury suit, that means documentation. There are many ways to document an injury. File a police report. Take photographs. Talk to witnesses, and make sure to get their names and phone numbers so that you or your lawyer can contact them later. Police reports, photographs, and witness statements can be vital pieces of evidence in a trial.
Medical records are, if anything, even more vital. If you’re injured in an accident, you need to go to the hospital for medical treatment immediately, directly from the scene of the accident. Delaying medical care is bad for your health and for your case. Refusing immediate medical care opens up the possibility for the other party to question whether your injuries were really sustained in the accident in question.
Be careful who you speak to
If you were involved in a criminal case, you would probably know that it isn’t in your best interest to talk to the police or prosecutors without your own lawyer present. However, many people don’t realize that it’s important to limit who you speak to when involved in a civil case. Just like in a criminal case, though, the things you say can be held against you if you say them to the wrong people.
At the scene of the accident, don’t say anything to the other party that sounds like an admission of guilt. A simple “I’m sorry” can come back to bite you in court later on. You should also avoid talking to the other party’s lawyer, investigators for the defendant’s lawyer, or insurance company representatives or investigators, unless your lawyer is present. Instead, direct them to your lawyer if they want to communicate.
Don’t take any money
An insurance company representative may call you or come to your house, offering a check for a nominal amount of money. When you’re injured, with medical expenses mounting up, even a small amount of money can look very tempting. So what’s the catch? When you take a check offered by the insurance company, you may be waiving your right to pursue a lawsuit for a larger amount of money.
Your best course of action is to provide the insurance company representative with your lawyer’s contact information, and have him handle the offer. That way, you can discuss with your lawyer whether or not the amount they’re offering is reasonable, or if you should keep working for a larger settlement or judgment.
Listen to your lawyer
Personal injury law is complex, and the rules are very specific. You hired a lawyer because he knows the rules and you don’t. You’ll only have a successful case if you listen to his advice. That means showing up for any depositions or insurance company medical exams that your lawyer tells you that you need to attend. The law is full of deadlines, and when you miss an appointment, you risk missing a deadline and jeopardizing your case. At the very least, talk to your lawyer before you miss or reschedule a meeting.
This is also the time to disclose everything the lawyer needs to know. If your knee is the part of your body that’s injured now, and the same knee was also injured ten years ago, that’s something that your attorney needs to know, and he won’t find out on his own. When your lawyer says to tell him everything, he means it. He’s on your side, but without all the facts, his hands are tied. The best thing you can do is not worry about what is or isn’t relevant. Just tell your lawyer everything, and he’ll figure out what is relevant.
A reasonable settlement or a judgment in your favor can go a long way toward putting you on the road to recovery after an accident, so you want to do everything in your power to win. These tips will help put the win that you need within your reach.