When you’re in the process of making a personal injury claim, things will likely feel out of control. While many aspects of your situation may truly be outside your control, there are some things you can do to improve your chances of a positive outcome.
Once you have chosen an experienced personal injury lawyer who you trust, here are some ways to be a good client and help your attorney fight for you.
Don’t Talk About Your Case with Anyone but Your Attorney
Because it is in their best interest to find incriminating evidence against you, insurance companies are very skilled at finding and using anything they can to suggest that your injuries are not as severe as you’re claiming.
Therefore, you’ll want to be very careful about what you share with others while your claim is in progress. It is best practice to avoid talking about your case with anyone other than your lawyer (and your spouse) before things are fully resolved. That includes refraining from posting anything about it on social media and not talking to any insurance representatives. Once you retain a lawyer, he or she can speak to them on your behalf.
Take Photos of the Scene and Your Injuries
Immediately following an accident, you are likely to feel overwhelmed and forget what you’re supposed to be doing for yourself and your potential case. If you remember one thing, make sure to remember to take photos. You can use your cell phone, or the phone of anyone else present, if you don’t have yours with you.
This is one of the most important things you can do to help your case, since these photos are primary sources of evidence. They can help visually display what happened, as well as depict the extent of your injuries. Make sure to take photos of the scene of the accident and your injuries as soon as possible following the event. It is also important to remember to get a police report. Documenting your accident in these ways creates an official record and gives your lawyer a strong base of evidence for building your case.
Go to All Medical Appointments
If you have been injured in an accident of any kind (regardless of fault), it’s imperative that you see a medical professional right away. In addition to taking care of you, the doctor will be able to gauge the extent of your injuries, which may be worse than you initially think. This information will help your lawyer calculate your expected medical expenses, as well as pain and suffering, so they will have a better idea of what kind of settlement you’ll need to cover the damages.
If you wait too long to get medical care, the insurance company may be able to argue that the injuries were caused by something else other than the accident. If you don’t go to all your appointments or receive the treatment recommended by the doctor, they can make a case against you that your injuries aren’t causing you much pain or suffering. If you do disagree with your doctor’s recommendations, you can always ask your personal injury lawyer to talk to them.
Keep a Written Record of What Happened
In addition to the police report, photos, and medical records, keeping your own record of what happened is also helpful to your lawyer. Think of it like a diary, and record things like your daily pain levels, new injuries that appear, and what the other party said to you at the scene of the accident. You can even include information about how your injuries have affected your life. The more details you include, the better. Because some personal injury cases take longer to resolve than others, writing things down can help prevent the details from becoming fuzzy over time. This log will also help quantify intangible damages, such as pain and suffering.
Avoid Posting About Your Accident on Social Media
Just like you should avoid talking to anyone about your case while it is in progress, make sure to also avoid posting about your case on social media. Anything you post can be used as evidence against you by the insurance adjusters, who want to prove that your injuries are less severe than you claim so they can pay you less than you deserve.
Respond to Your Lawyer Promptly
Remember, you and your lawyer want the same thing: the best possible outcome for your case. Ultimately, these tips come down to the same thing, which is cooperating with your lawyer. Make sure to respond to his or her requests for documents in a timely manner. Then your lawyer can be more efficient and progress through your case. The more you can work with them, the better things will go.
Note that this doesn’t necessarily mean never speaking up or questioning what’s going on. It’s important to be assertive and ask questions about your case as they arise. You have a right to be kept informed about the status of your case, and a skilled personal injury lawyer will communicate with you and keep you updated.