How to Make Sure You Get Compensated for Personal Injury

Photo by cottonbro studio:
Photo by cottonbro studio:

According to a recent study, the average out-of-pocket medical expenses for an injured person amount to over $6,000. Additionally, lost wages due to time off work amounted to over $47 billion in 2021. Fortunately, if your injury was caused by someone else’s negligence, you have a legal right to pursue compensation for damages. With some key steps, you can make sure any settlement agreement properly covers your losses.

Consult with a Personal Injury Attorney

The first and most critical step is hiring a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after your accident and injuries. An experienced attorney understands both liability laws and the full scope of damages—from medical bills to loss of future earnings capacity—for which injury victims must be compensated.

Personal injury lawyers generally work on contingency, meaning there are no upfront fees and they receive payment only if they succeed with your claim. This gives your attorney motivation to fight aggressively on your behalf. They can deal directly with aggressive insurance company representatives so you don’t have to.

Document All Losses and Expenses After Your Accident

To receive full and fair compensation, you must thoroughly document all accident-related costs and losses. Your injury attorney can provide guidance on the proof required for each category of damages. Be sure to save all receipts and records related to:

  • Medical treatment – emergency care, hospital stays, surgeries, rehabilitation, physical therapy, medical equipment, prescription medications, follow-up appointments, etc. Document both out-of-pocket costs and total billed charges.
  • Lost income – pay stubs and other employment records showing your earnings before the accident and any time missed from work for treatment and recovery afterward.
  • Other out-of-pocket costs – property damage, costs of hiring help for duties you couldn’t perform due to injury, travel costs for treatment, etc.
  • Pain and suffering – journal documenting your experiences and limitations resulting from the injury.

With solid documentation, your lawyer can build and prove your claim for maximum compensation that covers the true extent of your financial damages.

Consider Long-Term Effects

Some injuries cause ongoing impairments or risks of future complications and treatments. Your settlement should fully cover the long-term and even lifelong effects of an injury. Discuss this with your doctor and personal injury attorney to understand realistic expectations for your recovery and future limitations. Account for potential future medical costs, impact to future earnings if your ability to work is diminished, need for vocational rehabilitation to transition to a different career, and effects on quality of life.

Settle Only After Maximum Recovery

Insurance companies often push quick settlements before the full extent of a victim’s injuries and damages are known. Meet with your doctor to discuss the likelihood of reaching maximum medical recovery within one to two years post-accident before considering any settlement offer. More extensive injuries take longer to reach this point.

Settling too early presents major risks of needing more treatment without compensation or suffering unanticipated losses from ongoing inability to work. Patience is key. Your personal injury attorney knows when the time is right to seek the maximum coverage you deserve.

Be prepared to be patient for the best possible compensation package. In rare cases, less than 5% of claims, negotiations may reach an impasse and your claim would need to go to trial. Your attorney can guide you in deciding if a settlement offer is fair or when taking things further to court is the best route. With an experienced personal injury lawyer fighting for real accountability and compensation from the insurer, you put yourself in the best position to properly cover this difficult situation.

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