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Tips to Improve Compensation In Your Personal Injury Claim

March 24, 2020

by Donaldson & Weston

personal injury compensation

We all could use a few tips improve compensation in your personal injury claim. Many things in life are out of our control. Especially when you’re at the mercy of a car accident. As a victim and a no-fault driver of a crash that leaves you with temporary or permanent damages, there are very few opportunities to take control of your situation. But, there are a few things you can do before filing for a personal injury claim and hiring an attorney that can help boost compensation. 

 

First, be aware of some of the major damages for injury claims and what they can include:

  • Medical Bills - some injuries are obvious: cuts, bruises, bleeding, etc.  Some injuries are long-term similar to a broken bone. Recovery can be over the course of a couple of months to a year.  There are also life-threatening injuries that can be difficult to see. Sometimes with little to no symptoms on the surface. Anything from a mild headache or blurry vision, without treatment, could lead to traumatic brain injuries or internal bleeding.
  • Lost Wages - money you missed out on because of your injuries. Taking time off to go to the doctor’s appointments. And, life-changing injuries that left you permanently disabled. Also compensation lost over the course of your lifetime because of your injuries. 
  • Pain and Suffering - it is known that insurance companies will pay out very little for pain and suffering. However, as long as you can show that the pain stems from injuries caused by the accident, you are more likely to receive more money if your case goes to court. 
  • Out-Of-Pocket Expenses - a variety of costs related to the accident and injuries. Not necessarily medicinal expenses but can range anywhere from prescription medications, equipment such as wheelchairs and slings, alternate transportation, and cost of stays when your medical treatment requires you to stay overnight. 
  • Loss of Companionship - you can receive compensation for loss of companionship when a family member has been changed in a permanent way or developed significant disabilities. Even though the compensation won’t take away a person’s disabilities or bring them back, it’s a way to help ease the financial burden.

 

In order to help facilitate your personal injury lawyer and all the documents they have to collect in order to file a claim and improve compensation in your personal injury claim. There are distinct things you can do after a car accident that significantly matters to make the most of your claim. Understanding what aspects are under your control can help you get the greatest amount:

 

  • Maintain Evidence: If you are able, take photos of the accident scene and injuries. Collect contact information from witnesses, and a copy of a police report if any. This way your attorney can collect details and prepare a case. 
  • Treat Your Injuries: Make sure to get medical treatment. Accurate pictures and documents from healthcare professionals, and a formulated treatment and recovery plan can be offered in return for a higher settlement. 
  • Watch What You Say: Steer clear of making statements that may be used against you later. Phrases such as “I didn’t see you” can mean admitting to fault. Not having enough information about all aspects of the accident and what may have contributed to the accident means there is no reason to claim fault without all the details. 
  • Lawyer Up: Consultation is free for personal injury lawyers. Talk to an attorney about handling your claim from the start. Especially if you are unable to handle the claim and are severely injured. Maybe it’s as simple as you just don’t feel like dealing with insurance companies. Once you appoint an attorney, insurance companies are not allowed to contact you directly. Insurance companies are notorious for offering lower settlements to victims without a personal injury lawyer. An attorney will help you go about the best way to get the compensation you deserve.
  • Know How to Answer ‘On-Record’ Statements: Insurance adjusters may ask the same question multiple different ways. This way they can find something to use against you in a settlement or court of law. You have the right to appoint an attorney when it comes to giving recorded statements and are not obligated to give the other driver’s insurance any additional information. 
  • Keep Track of Everything: Organize your paperwork. Every state has their Statute of Limitations. You can lose the right to pursue any compensation if it runs out. Take timely actions because the insurance company has no obligation to help you before the deadline and they win if the statute expires. 
  • Avoid Social Media: Social Media can paint a different picture and ruin your case. What you say and do can and will be held against you in a court of law. Everyone is watching and it is in your best interest to keep quiet and let your personal injury attorney do the talking to improve compensation in your personal injury claim. Until a settlement is reached, it is in good practice to avoid talking with anyone anywhere. 

 

Best Practices When Hiring an Attorney

Review Six Steps to Finding the Right Personal Injury Lawyer

Referrals

It can be hard to trust professionals in a field and practice if you have no past experience. Maybe you don't even know what or who to look for? It can be hard to know where to start when it comes to hiring a personal injury lawyer. Much like a lot of new subjects, ask around! Get in contact for referrals from friends and relatives. 

There’s a chance you may know someone who knows an attorney or has had some experience with personal injury litigators. You can do online research on referrals, ask if they were pleased with the outcome and their willingness to help. Most law firms provide free consultations and will openly give their opinion. 

Online Testimonials

Most law firms have websites and list current and former clients reviews about how they handled their cases. Check online for additional reviews and find a track record that you can look up.

Relevant Experience

Assure that the firm has a background fighting for your type of case. In this specific case, a car accident would require a personal injury lawyer experienced in auto accidents. Ask about average settlements for your specific case and the past experiences they’ve had handling them, how long the process took and how long they expect your case to take. 

Have Options

Find several law firms. Be sure you are comfortable with being open and honest about your case. Find a personal injury lawyer you are able to be personal with. Attorneys who know the system and can determine what is necessary information in order to win your case. They also can take care of your legal issues while you focus your attention on recovering. 

Track Record

You want a lawyer with a clean background. Public record information is readily available for the state of Florida. You can visit the Florida Bar website, with its Department of Lawyer Regulation operates the Attorney Consumer Assistance Program that administers a statewide disciplinary system. You might want to avoid any attorney with a disciplinary history. 

Here are some red flags you are advised to avoid and can hurt to improve compensation on your personal injury claim!

  1. Poor client reviews
  2. Appear not to know how to handle a case
  3. Lack of a Reputation for trying a case
  4. Quick to claim a positive result without knowing the facts
  5. No fee agreements in writing

Choosing a personal injury attorney is a personal decision. Take into consideration additional red flags: how comfortable are you with them, is there a good connection, are communication channels open? Personal injury is exactly that, personal. It is important your personal injury lawyer takes individualistic approaches with their clients reputation. 

Free Consultation

As we know, consultations are free. Once you’ve figured out which attorney you can find a lot of information about online. Questions about the firm or your case should be asked in person or on the phone. Set an appointment time! Most law firms offer a free evaluation form. Easily put in your personal information, information about the case. The office will then contact you with all key facts about your case and most basic details out of the way. 

Questions

Have questions prepared! During the consultation you will have the opportunity to ask questions that can help you decide if you should check out other attorneys on your list. After discussing your claim use the rest of your time to ask some top consultation questions to ensure you're going to improve compensation in your personal injury claim!

 

Here are Some Top Consultation Questions to Consider:

  • Ask them about the experience and knowledge of your type of case.
  • Ask about timing. When and how long they expect it will take to file the lawsuit. Do they have proper time to devote to your case?
  • Are they comfortable going to trial?
  • Do you feel comfortable talking about specific and maybe explicit details about your case? Are they a good listener and are you satisfied with how they communicate with you and answer your questions?
  • Are there fees or terms that will change the case? What about costs for resources that may be necessary?
  • What happens when you disagree with a settlement?
  • Have you tried these types of personal injury cases?
  • In the same city or county?
  • How will you communicate with me about the progress of my case?
  • Do you think we will need to go to trial and what is your negotiation history?
  • What do you need from me?
  • What do you believe is the likely outcome of my case?

Comfortability

Rate and take note of how comfortable you feel discussing details of your claims. If you sense uncertainty, trust yourself. It’s not just about skill but also how well you work with your attorney. 

Consider all your questions and make a decision. Once you take the time to review your choices and take into account all you’ve gathered through research. The last step would be to sign a contingency fee agreement. This will outline your terms of agreement and working relationship plus any additional fees. Congratulations!

 

Top Reasons Lawyers Consider When Presented An Injury Case

On the flip-side of the coin, attorneys do their own research when it comes to cases presented to them. Like the client, they are also entitled to accept or deny a clients’ case. Different lawyers have varying standards for what type of case they’re willing to tackle. Which could be as simple as time or resources, or the complexity of the case.

Witness

On a personal level the attorney could consider the client to lack credibility. Being honest and believable in a possible court case could keep the jury from awarding the client money even if it’s deserved by the law. If the client has a criminal history of convictions, felonies, violence, theft, etc., that comes as evidence on the issue of credibility. The client becomes a hard sell to the jury and often chooses not to award money on their behalf. 

Statute of Limitations

Evidence can be lost in time. Most cases have a 2-year statute of limitations and if clients wait too long to handle their own case, evidence gets lost and not preserved. An attorney is less likely to take on a case last minute when they have to utilize most of their time to find the right parties who might have moved or hid evidence elsewhere. 

Liability

Clients may think liability is clear when it is not. Just because you slip and fall in a restaurant or place of business, doesn’t mean the corporation is automatically liable. If you get rear ended by a vehicle that hydroplaned on ice, doesn’t mean they are a negligent driver. If the liability isn’t basically clear, the costs may be higher and the settlement may be lower. 

Case Complexity

The more complex a case is, the more time a lawyer requires extra costs and time. It will require more money to pay experts for their extended time, which can run hundreds of dollars if it goes all the way to trial. If the recovery is outweighed by the expense, then the lawyer may find no reason to take the case. 

Particular Cases

There are many practices in the legal profession. If your case is outside the experience and knowledge of an attorney, they may refer you to another law firm. For example, certain personal injury attorneys represent only specific types of injury. 

Conflict of Interest 

If an attorney previously represented a person or corporation that their client wants to file a claim against. That would be considered a conflict of interest and the attorney may pass on your case. 

Personal

Much like the client is assessing the attorney, the attorney is assessing the same. During your consultation, the lawyer takes time to get a sense of the situation and your credibility. If they believe your intentions and motives are not reasonable. They may decline your case. 

Potential

If the potential of your recovery is weighed out to be too small, it may not be worth the effort and money to take your case. If the silent has no insurance or little in the way of assets, obtaining anything after judgement may be lost. 

There are different standards for each lawyer and what they decide to handle. It could simply come down to time or resources. If one lawyer turns down a case, it doesn’t mean another won’t accept to handle it. Seek opinions before running into a couple of rejections and make sure to find attorneys in your case expertise. 

 

Steps to Making Your Case More Desirable To An Attorney and Improve Compensation In Your Personal Injury Claim

There are steps to take to make a personal injury lawyer more likely to accept your case. Although you cannot change the facts of the case, there are other factors you control to present your claim in a more desirable manner. 

Expectations

With a lot of professions that deal with clients, there are those select few who tend to expect too much. This can make the case more difficult for the attorney or lead to disappointment. Go in with a level head, don’t expect daily phone calls or progress reports. As the case progresses, the lawyer will do their best to keep you updated as time goes on.

Timing

Not only in regard to Statute of Limitations! However, it doesn’t help to wait to see an attorney. Procrastination doesn’t do anyone any good. Evidence gets lost, attorneys wonder how important this case is to you, or the seriousness of your injuries. See an attorney ASAP!

Honesty

Attorneys are human lie detectors. As much as you have to trust your attorney, they have to trust you and your credibility. If you lie about anything, there’s a good chance they’ll know. They judge you based on how the jury would receive you if your case ends up in court. Questioning your honesty won’t help them represent you effectively. Be honest.

Build

In line with the actions you can take right after a car accident to boost your compensation, it also can position your case or success with your attorney. Building a complete file of the nature of your injuries, medical documents, witness statements, and a timeline of events can be a huge help. Being organized can help your attorney create your case in a timely and efficient manner. 

Let Go!

Along with lowering high expectations, the client has to let go! Let the experts do what they are hired to do. Personal injury lawyers are the navigation systems of your case. They will give you direction and the best way to get to the goal destination. Sit back, relax, and let the experts be experts.

There are no single factors a lawyer will consider when deciding on taking a case. Every lawyer has their own case loads, considerations, and resources like time and money. You should always seek different consultations and have one, two, or three options available to research. 

When it comes to personal injury law, knowing how to take control of your case from the moment you get into an accident to approaching an attorney will only set you up to improve compensation in your personal injury claim. 

 Conclusion to Improve Compensation In Your Personal Injury Claim

Get medical attention, take notes and pictures, avoid social media and ‘on-record’ adjuster questionnaires. Be aware of the major types of damages you’re entitled to be compensated for and recover from. Preserve all evidence to help organize the best possible outcome for your case.

Work your best practices when you hire an attorney. Find the experts in your situation. Represent yourself as credible with all the right intentions. Present the facts of your case in the most likely representation. Feel out all avenues, present the facts of your case in full honesty. Seek out opinions and have alternative resources. Ask all the right questions. Mutually decide on an attorney. Build your case file to position you for success! All in a timely manner with managed expectations. And, last but most importantly, relax. Allow the experts to do what they do best and allow yourself the recovery time whether it be mentally or physically, to get back to your everyday routine!

Personal injury lawyers are here to make sure your story is heard and you receive compensation for your losses, pain and suffering, medical expenses, emotional distress, or loss of companions. 

They play a pivotal role and a crucial part of representing you to the best of their ability with experience and knowledge on their side. It is critical to consult with a personal injury attorney in a car accident for maximum compensation. They can provide a peace of mind and deter bad behavior. Life is full of risk. Personal injury lawyers are there to allow you to focus on your recovery while they undertake the stressful tasks of negotiating, dealing, and communicating with insurance companies, creditors, or the negligent. There is a legal remedy!

 

Schedule a Free Case Review with an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer in Stuart

To discuss your case with a personal injury attorney in Stuart contact Donaldson & Weston. Our lawyers offer free consultations and accept car accident claims on a contingency fee basis. Call our office at 561-299-3999 or send us a message on our Contact Page to set up a case evaluation.