Personal Injury Law 101
What Do I Do If I’ve Been Hurt?
The first thing you need to understand if you think you’ve found yourself the victim of someone’s negligence is to understand what constitutes as a tort offense. The majority of these offenses are caused in motor vehicle accidents, but can also encompass things such as:
- Unsafe foods;
- Untested products;
- Animal bites, etc.
If you’ve sustained an injury, illness, or damage done by any of these or like offenses, there are certain things that should and should not be done by you to make a case. We’ll go over the list of things you should do first.
What You Should Do
In the case of personal injury through the fault of another individual, the first thing you should do is consult a Personal Injury Attorney as soon as possible, as you only have a limited amount of time in which to file a personal injury lawsuit. Your best bet is to go with an experienced professional who specializes in personal injury law to even the odds for you, as that individual is best suited to be an effective advocate for your rights as an injured individual. They can and will make sure you are justly compensated for any existing and future medical bills, rehabilitation, or payment for your suffering due to the accident, as well as knowledgeably and tactfully handle the following:
- Any and all paperwork;
- Courtroom strategies;
- Trial procedures and details of the case in full;
- Access to expert witnesses;
- Medical professionals;
Give you access to other professional resources to help you prevail in court.
The second thing to remember is that everything you say can and will be used against you in court. It’s important to remember never to speak with an insurance adjusted until after you’ve spoken with a personal injury attorney, and the best personal injury law firms should offer a free initial consultation for when you do speak with someone. It’s also important to note that when you do go to speak with an insurance adjuster, never consent to a recorded interview if they ask you for it; the law does not require that you offer one, and if the company insists, you should always speak with your attorney and have them present during the recording. They can guide you through the interview, and also help you obtain a copy of the recorded statements.
Another thing to remember when dealing with insurance companies is to never sign a release. They will ask you to sign a release so they may gather information necessary for processing, but this is a false pretense. These releases give insurance companies access to obtain unnecessary background information to use in order to build a case against settling your claim, such as:
- Old medical records;
- School records;
- Employment records;
- Divorce settlements;
- Claims filed, etc.
Next: be wary of the medical lien. This document essentially requires you to pay for any medical expenses due to the accident directly by what you obtain from your claim, when your medical insurance will review the bills to ensure you aren’t being overcharged. Medical liens, however, ensure that if you don’t get a settlement or you get one that’s less than what you expected, you are forced to pay for every single medical expense that you put on the lien – and they are typically much higher than those that are normally charged.
Finally, you will want to keep accurate and timely records of everything that goes on during your claim process and case. Keep record of any injuries and expenses related to them, and both economic and non-economic losses, such as:
- Humiliation or embarrassment;
- Loss of companionship;
- Guidance and upbringing, etc.
Keeping an accurate record of these ensures that an insurance adjuster can’t take advantage of you, and a good personal injury attorney will be able to help you assess the monetary value of all of your losses due to the incident.