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Every year, millions of Americans sustain a personal injury. It’s no wonder they make up the majority of civil lawsuits in the United States.
Personal injuries can be the result of vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, slips and falls, and a variety of other accidents.
If you’ve recently experienced a personal injury, you might be feeling scared, stressed out, or overwhelmed (or all three at once!).
If you’re unsure of how to proceed after a personal injury, keep reading.
Listed below are some steps you can take to handle the situation and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
Consult an Attorney
One of the first things you ought to do after experiencing a personal injury is to speak with an attorney.
Reach out to a personal injury attorney right away and ask them whether or not they think you have a case.
The sooner you can get an attorney on your side, the better, especially if you’re planning to press charges.
Make sure your attorney specializes in personal injury law and has a good track record when it comes to working with clients whose cases are similar to yours.
Use Caution When Speaking About the Accident
When you’re talking about the accident to anyone other than your attorney, it’s important to use caution. Avoid using phrases like, “it’s okay” or “I’m fine.”
These statements might seem harmless initially. However, they could be used against you later on if the at-fault party is looking for a way to avoid paying you what you deserve.
Avoid talking about your case on social media, either. Online conversations about the accident could be used against you as well.
Don’t Sign Any Releases
The insurance company for the at-fault party may try to convince you to sign some kind of release after the accident.
They may claim that this is just to gather essential information about the case. In reality, though, it gives the insurance company the ability to sift through all your personal information, including medical records and employment records.
They can then use this information to build a case against you to try and avoid having to pay you what you’re owed.
Seek Medical Attention
In addition to seeking a meeting with a personal injury attorney, you also need to prioritize seeking medical attention.
In order to improve your chances of healing and avoiding complications, you need to see a medical doctor right away.
Seeing a doctor also helps you to begin formulating evidence that backs up your case.
If you want to receive compensation for your injuries, you’ll need documents on hand proving that those injuries exist.
Keep a Paper Trail
Hold on to all of your medical records and documents from your doctor.
These will help you begin forming a paper trail and making sure you have evidence to support your claim. Hang on to other documents related to your case, too.
This includes medical bills, communications from the insurance company or at-fault party, and information regarding economic and non-economic losses related to the injury.
Don’t Be Too Eager
You might be tempted to accept the first settlement offer you receive. This is especially true if you are short on cash and need help to pay your medical bills or make ends meet while you’re out of work.
In reality, though, the first offer you receive will likely be worth far less than what you deserve.
If you’re willing to delay receiving your settlement a bit, you can probably get a lot more money to cover your expenses.
Think About the Future
When you’re calculating the cost of the damages caused by the accident, remember to think beyond what you’re experiencing right now.
Think about the future, too, and consider how your injury could affect your finances later on.
For example, is there a possibility that your future earning potential has been jeopardized as a result of your injuries? Have you experienced psychological or emotional damages that could hinder you in the future?
Don’t Waste Time
It’s important not to be too hasty when it comes to accepting a settlement. At the same time, though, you also shouldn’t waste time getting the ball rolling.
The sooner you hire a lawyer and begin the process of filing a personal injury lawsuit, the sooner you’ll be able to get the compensation you need and move on with your life.
Depending on your state, there may also be limits on the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit.
Make a Good First Impression
You’ll be more likely to get what you want if you present yourself well when communicating with the insurance company and legal counsel representing the at-fault party.
Be polite and dress in nice, professional clothing during these meetings. These small things can make a big difference when it comes to getting what you what out of the settlement.
Take Care of Yourself
Last, but not least, remember to take good care of yourself as you’re recovering from your injuries.
Take your pain medications — make sure you’re taking them in the proper doses to minimize your addiction risk — and make use of other home remedies that can help to relieve your pain.
It may be helpful to meet with a therapist, too, and work through any negative or difficult emotions you may be experiencing following your accident.
Learn More About Handling Personal Injury Cases
As you can see, there’s quite a bit to keep in mind when you’re dealing with a personal injury case.
The good news, though, is that you can minimize a lot of stress and anxiety if you follow the steps outlined above.
Do you want to learn more about the right way to handle a personal injury case?
If so, we’ve got lots of articles that will help you gain insight into the issue. We’ve also got resources to help you feel more prepared for future incidents.
For example, be sure to check out this article on the importance of investing in a dash cam to ensure you have evidence to back up your claim should you be involved in a car accident.