Personal injury claims can arise out of a wide variety of circumstances, but car accidents and truck accidents are the most common types of personal injury cases across the United States, including North Carolina. As a victim in a personal injury case, whether it is a bicycle accident or an auto accident, you have to prove two major facts in every case:
- The other person was at fault for the accident and
- Their actions (or inactions) caused your damages or injuries.
Showing those two items may seem simple, but it actually can be very complicated.
Working with a personal injury lawyer is one of the best ways to ensure that you gather all of the facts and information you need to prove your case. A car accident lawyer, for example, not only knows the law that applies to your situation, but they will also know the type of information you need to gather and the best way to present it to a judge or jury.
In any personal injury claim, you will work with your lawyer to prove your case. Your attorney will generally give you the following advice in any kind of personal injury case.
Do Not Jump at the First Offer
“Winning” your personal injury case may mean different things to different people. It could mean taking your personal injury case to trial and winning in front of a judge or jury. However, it could also mean getting a settlement that compensates you for the losses caused by the accident, including medical expenses and lost wages.
In many situations, the insurance company for the at-fault driver will reach out to you to discuss an early settlement of your claims. They might provide a “low-ball” offer to settle your case. This offer is often low for a couple of reasons.
- They want to see if you will just take anything and go away;
- They want to settle quickly before you realize how much the accident will affect your life; or
- They want to settle with you before you have time to talk to a lawyer about the full value of your legal claim.
Whatever the reason, it is seldom a good idea to take the first offer that an insurance company provides. Instead, you should talk to a lawyer to ask about your legal rights and options.
Do Not Wait to Get Medical Treatment
In most cases, your medical treatment is one of the most important aspects of the damages in your case. Suppose you do not get medical treatment at all after an auto accident, for example. In that case, it can be difficult for an insurance adjuster or anyone else to take your injuries seriously. The rationale is that if your injuries were severe, you would go to a doctor.
Getting medical treatment is good for your overall health and good for your legal case. Medical records are often relied upon heavily in a personal injury case, and the medical bills that you incur provide a baseline to calculate your overall injuries and damages when they have to be “converted” into dollars and cents.
Even after your initial visit to the doctor, it is important to get follow-up treatment as recommended. Getting treatment creates a timeline for your legal case, and it helps you heal and get back on your feet faster after an auto accident, bike accident, or truck accident.
Avoid Saying Too Much
You can make the mistake of saying too much in two main ways. First, talking to the other driver’s insurance company before you talk to your own lawyer is generally a mistake. You can provide very basic information about the crash, such as time and place and who was involved but hold back on providing too many details.
Second, be careful what you say or post on social media. Even something as simple as posting about a workout after a car accident can be misconstrued as you “faking” injuries or other damages. You definitely should not post about fault or that you are doing well after a crash. In general, it is a good idea to steer clear from social media until after your legal case concludes.
Work Closely with Your Attorney and Let the Personal Injury Claim Process Work
Legal cases can take a long time, and it is easy to get impatient through this process. However, if you work closely with an experienced personal injury attorney and be patient, you will often have better results. Negotiations with an insurance company, for example, can involve rounds of various settlement offers. Be patient and ask your lawyer what kind of expectations are realistic for your situation.
At Clauson Law Firm, we will work with you to help you get the best result possible in your personal injury case. Learn more by contacting our team to schedule a free case evaluation.