There are many ways that someone else’s negligence can cause injury. For example, you may have been in a car accident, tripped, slipped, and fell at a poorly maintained store, or your apartment complex lacked proper security, which led to a crime on site.
If you have been injured because of someone else’s negligence, you may be wondering what you can do to protect your rights and have the best chance to win your personal injury claim and get the full compensation you deserve.
Consulting a personal injury lawyer will be your best chance at recovering damages for your injuries, medical bills, lost wages, and property damage.
However, to help you navigate what your next steps should be, here are eight steps on how to win your personal injury claim.
1. Document, Document, Document
Understandably, when someone is injured, the last thing they think about is taking photographs to preserve evidence. But, a picture is worth a thousand words. It is not uncommon for an at-fault driver to apologize to you at the scene but changes their story later down the road. For example, the driver or their insurance company may try to claim that you caused the motor vehicle accident.
Taking photographs can be the difference in personal injury claims.
If you are able to, be proactive and take photos of:
- all the vehicles involved before they’re moved off of the roadway,
- the damage to all of the vehicles involved,
- skid marks on the road, and
- your injuries such as cuts or bruises.
In personal injury cases other than auto accidents and in any situation where you’re injured by someone else’s negligence – the same rules apply. For example, if you fell in a place of business, take photos of the liquid or other hazard that caused you to fall before the store cleans it up.
It is also vital to take as many photos as you, a family member, or a friend can at different distances, so we can understand what is around that area in which you fell. This is important because it can make a big difference if, for example, the area is not well lit or there is no warning that the floor is wet.
And if there are any security cameras that could have recorded how you were injured, that could serve as great evidence in your case. Remember to get your hands on that video as soon as possible because, in previous personal injury cases, some stores had hidden or denied a video of the fall even existed when in fact, it did.
2. Don’t Forget About Witnesses For Your Personal Injury Case
Witnesses can be crucial in any personal injury settlement. If an at-fault driver does not want to admit they caused your motor vehicle accident, having an independent witness testimony in your favor can be the difference between winning and losing your personal injury case.
Take the extra time to get the name, telephone number, email address, and home address of any witnesses to your motor vehicle accident.
Witnesses are just as important in slip and fall cases or any other kind of accident where you’re injured by the negligence of someone else. Take the extra time to get the contact information of anyone who witnessed your fall, helped you afterwards, or was generally in the area where you were injured.
3. Don’t Talk to Insurance Adjusters, Even Property Damage Adjusters
Unfortunately, insurance adjusters are notorious for having one overall goal: to protect the profits of insurance companies.
Insurance companies make and protect their profits by collecting more money in insurance premiums than they pay out to injured people in accident claims. So when push comes to shove in a personal injury claim, an insurance company will do all they can to save themselves money.
You’ll be surprised to know that it’s not uncommon for an insurance adjuster to sneakily take photos of an injured person when inspecting their damaged vehicle in an attempt to make it seem like they are not injured at all.
4. Get the Medical Care You Need
After being injured, you must go to an emergency room or urgent care center to ensure your injuries are not worse than you believe. Some injuries have delayed symptoms, and the true extent of your injuries may not be apparent until time passes and you have undergone follow-up treatment and diagnostic testing.
Follow your doctor’s instructions, treatment plan, and the restrictions they may place on your activities. If you don’t get the medical treatment you need, your health will suffer, and you may have undiagnosed injuries that will never be a part of your personal injury case.
5. Always Be Honest
In the modern age of social media, electronic medical records, and insurance claim records, it is impossible to hide details of your life and medical history. There is also no need to be anything but honest.
If you have previously been in an auto accident, tell your doctors when they’re asking you your medical history. If you went to visit a family member six months after your auto accident or your job requires you to occasionally lift heavy items even after you’ve been injured, tell your lawyer.
Knowing these important details helps your doctors make an accurate diagnosis, and your personal injury attorney create an effective legal strategy to achieve the best possible personal injury settlement.
The insurance industry will find out these details anyway, and if you are anything but honest, you may turn a strong case into an impossible case.
6. Be Patient and Trust the Process of a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Part of the insurance industry’s claim handling strategy is to delay and make an injured person “jump through hoops” to obtain fair compensation.
The main reason for this strategy is simple – the insurance companies know that many injured people will get tired of waiting and take an unfair and lower settlement amount that saves the insurance company money.
Rather, trust the process and discuss all the implications with personal injury attorneys so you understand the overall legal strategy and the personal injury claims process.
7. Avoid Discussing Your Accident on Social Media Until the Case is Over
Insurance companies (or their lawyers) are likely to view your social media accounts – even if they are set to private. This is because a Judge can order that they’re allowed to view your social media profiles for evidence purposes. If they don’t get a court-mandated order, insurance companies know their way around accessing your profile.
One trick they use is to find out whom you are friends with and look on their social media accounts for photos of you. Or, they’ll use another profile and simply invite you as a friend. Then, if you accept their request, they can view everything you have posted.
Remember, anything you put on social media will likely be used against you. But if you avoid posting anything from the date of your accident until your case is resolved, you will have nothing to worry about.
8. Choose a Personal Injury Lawyer Where You Matter
If you decide to hire a law firm for your injury case, make sure to hire a law firm where you matter. If you chose a mega-firm, you would be one of tens of thousands of cases, and you may ask yourself, “do I even matter?”
If you hire a small firm, they may not have the resources to take on the insurance company, and they will know it.
At Christopher Ligori and Associates, you are never lost in the crowd, and we have the resources to take on the insurance companies, and they know it. We understand that every personal injury lawsuit is different and impacts our clients’ lives in different ways. Our personal injury attorneys and trial lawyers live and breathe Florida personal injury law and stay on the cutting-edge of the ever-changing legal landscape because you matter and deserve justice.
If you or someone you know has been injured due to the negligence of a third party, contact us today for a free initial consultation, so we can give you the appropriate legal advice and help you navigate these steps.