How to Maximize a Personal Injury Settlement
Sustaining a serious injury is enough to threaten most people’s financial security. While accident victims have the right to seek compensation for their hospital bills, lost wages, and other damages, insurance companies tend to invest considerable resources into denying and undervaluing these claims.
There are, however, steps that claimants can take to increase the odds of winning a fair settlement or verdict. If you’re planning on filing a personal injury claim, the following strategies might put you in a more favorable position to prevail:
1. Take Your Medical Care Seriously
Failing to seek adequate medical care in a timely manner will leave the door open to all kinds of disputes. If you experience complications because you postponed treatment, for example, the opposing party might assert that you have failed to mitigate the damages and refuse to pay for 100 percent of your losses. They could also argue that the injuries were caused by something else or that they could not be very severe since immediate care was not necessary.
2. Preserve Evidence
Your legal team will conduct a thorough investigation to gather the evidence needed to prove liability and the value of your damages. You can contribute to their efforts by preserving evidence such as:
- Photographs of the accident scene;
- Statements from eyewitnesses;
- The official police report or incident report;
- Medical records;
- Photographs of any visible wounds as they heal;
- Daily journal entries detailing your recovery; and
- Bills, receipts, and invoices for injury-related expenses.
3. Don’t Rush into Settlement Negotiations
When faced with mounting medical bills, it’s perfectly natural to feel an increasing sense of desperation. If you’re too eager to settle, though, you could lose out on the compensation you deserve.
Generally speaking, you should not commence negotiations until you’ve reached maximum medical improvement. Otherwise, you could walk away with a payout that doesn’t actually cover all the healthcare expenses and other damages you end up incurring. Also, you should not provide a recorded statement to the insurance adjuster since what you say could be used to dispute your claim.
4. Identify All Liable Parties
Florida uses a “pure several liability” standard when awarding damages in a tort case. That means each defendant will only be liable for the percentage of your damages that corresponds to their percentage of fault. With that knowledge, you might assume that naming multiple defendants would not help your case; however, if your injuries are severe, it is likely that one party will not have the insurance coverage to pay for all your damages. If, however, two parties share liability for your accident, there’s a chance that each will have sufficient coverage to pay for their portion of your losses.
Discuss Your Claim with an Accident Lawyer in Stuart
At Donaldson & Weston, we understand the physical, emotional, and financial toll that serious injuries can take. Let our resourceful team help you gather evidence and navigate the proceedings. Call 772-266-5555 or fill out our Contact Form to schedule a free case evaluation with an injury lawyer in Stuart.