After an accident, your life may change in many different ways. You might miss work because you’ve lost your method of transportation or because you cannot physically complete the tasks that your job requires. If you were seriously injured, medical expenses might throw a wrench in your budget, quickly depleting your savings or wracking up credit card debt. Car accidents can also be psychologically traumatic, which is why you might experience pain and suffering in more than one way for days, weeks, or months after the accident.
For these reasons, maximizing your personal injury compensation is likely a top priority for you and your family. Many factors within your case may be outside your control, such as the details surrounding the accident, the way the other driver builds their defense, and the personal injury laws of your state. However, you can significantly increase the likelihood of obtaining full compensation with just a few simple steps.
Step #1: See a Doctor
Many people make a huge mistake early on in their personal injury case: refusing to seek medical attention. Some make this decision for financial reasons, while others simply don’t realize their injury is that serious. Still others mistakenly believe they will be eligible for more compensation if they don’t treat their injury.
Failing to see a doctor has obvious consequences. For many serious injuries, you will only be able to achieve a full recovery if you treat it right away—otherwise, it will only get worse, and the damage may become irreparable.
The less obvious consequence of failing to see a doctor has to do with an obligation called “duty to mitigate.” As the plaintiff, you have the legal obligation to mitigate damages, meaning you must take reasonable steps to reduce or address the consequences of an accident. In a car accident case, this typically means you must seek medical treatment for an injury, rather than letting it get worse. A court will generally not award full compensation if the plaintiff could have improved their condition by seeing a doctor (and following the doctor’s orders).
Step #2: Take Notes, Pictures, and Videos
Before awarding compensation, the court will need to determine who was at fault. In some cases, one party may be entirely at fault, or both parties may be partially at fault. The exact details of the accident are critical in making this determination.
Hard evidence like photos and videos will carry the greatest weight, but any notes you take on the day of the incident can help, as well. Taking detailed notes is also a good way to accurately document the events before your memory fades or changes over time.
Step #3: Speak with a Lawyer Right Away
Many people make the mistake of talking with an insurance agent before discussing their case with an attorney. Insurance companies work hard to avoid accepting liability and losing money, which is why representatives can and will use what you say against you. When you speak with an attorney beforehand, they can help you present the situation in a way that clearly communicates the truth and lowers the company’s ability to avoid paying you the full amount of compensation.
In general, hiring a lawyer is an investment. Many individuals try to save money by representing themselves, but personal injury laws are exceedingly complex, and the defendant will likely hire their own representation. To maximize your likelihood of obtaining the compensation you need and deserve, get the support you need sooner rather than later.
Invest in Us So We Can Invest in You
At US Legal Group, APC, we understand how important it is that you obtain maximum compensation. From medical expenses to lost wages to vehicle repairs, the costs of a car accident can be substantial, and we want to use our years of experience to help you overcome this crisis. We are here to fight for your path to a full recovery.