A personal injury lawsuit may not be on your radar, but you could be on either end of a case in a heartbeat. Here are some facts everyone needs to know.
A personal injury lawsuit is a court case in which a private individual files a complaint in civil court against a person, a business, a corporation, or a government agency. Personal injury lawsuits claim that the defendant behaved irresponsibly and as a result, the plaintiff got hurt in some way and is now seeking some kind of reparation for the injury.
The nature of a personal injury lawsuit is that they’re an accident, and accidents can happen to anyone. That’s why it’s important to keep up to date on all the latest information when it comes to these lawsuits. You don’t want to be caught off guard and wind up out of money that is rightfully yours.
1. They’re Not Just Car Accidents
When most people think about personal injury lawsuits the first thing that pops into their minds are car accidents. And while car accidents do make up a portion of the different personal injury lawsuits filed in court, they’re far from the only cause.
Anything that causes harm to a person due to negligence is subject to a personal injury lawsuit. This ranges between defective consumer products to dog bites and everything in between.
If you slip and fall on a poorly maintained sidewalk outside of a busy store and get hurt, you may be entitled to money for your pain and suffering. A poorly maintained sidewalk could be considered negligent!
2. Don’t Automatically Trust the Insurance Company
In order to keep their profit margins high, it’s an insurance company’s job to limit the amount of money they spend on your injuries. Before you accept any offer from an insurance company, you need to ensure that you are getting the best deal by talking to a lawyer first.
If you accept an insurance settlement, that could be the end of any personal injury lawsuit you have. And if the settlement isn’t large enough to cover all of your medical bills plus any money you didn’t make while you were laid up with an injury, you’ll be hurting financially in the long run.
Don’t trust an insurance company straight out of the gate. Always talk to a lawyer before accepting any settlements!
3. Get a Good Lawyer
No matter what — if you think a personal injury lawsuit is in your future, you need to get a good attorney. Make sure that the lawyer that you pick has experience in your specific type of personal injury case.
When you know that you have a good lawyer on your side, you can rest easy knowing that a knowledgeable, well-trained person is fighting in your corner.
Certain cases, like catastrophic injury claims, require a lawyer every time due to the complex nature of the claim.
4. Watch What You Say
This is the number one tip to live by when it comes to succeeding in a personal injury lawsuit. No matter who you’re talking to, you need to be careful what you say.
This doesn’t just mean that you need to keep a tight lip to insurance companies. You need to be mindful of what you’re saying on social media and in public as well. Many insurance companies hire folks to browse your social media accounts just to make sure that you’re actually as injured as you claim you are.
If you’re posting pictures on vacation with your family, it negates the idea that you’re suffering from your injuries.
Likewise, you want to watch what you say to the claims adjuster. You should always be honest, but keep in mind that no matter how kind they seem, the claims adjuster isn’t looking out for your best interest. They’re watching out for the company’s bottom line and documenting everything you say.
Any information they can get out of you is relevant, so stick to the topic. Be honest, don’t say more than you need to, and stick to the topic. This will make sure that nothing you say comes back to bite you later on.
5. Document Everything
You need to keep complete records of everything you possibly can in a personal injury lawsuit. A copy of any police report, your medical bills, doctors notes, employer statements, and missed work estimates are just a few of the things you need to have on hand at all times.
Failing to document your injury and the damages it caused will mean that an insurance company or a judge will have no idea how much money to reward you in the event of a settlement or a win. That undoubtedly means that you’ll be shorted the reparations that you deserve.
Any and all paperwork should be considered relevant here!
6. Four Things Need to Occur
Not every injury is eligible for a personal injury lawsuit. You and your lawyer will have to prove that four specific things happened to cause your injury:
This means that you will have to prove that the defendant had a duty to behave reasonably and responsibly and that they breached that duty when they failed to do so.
Causation means that you need to prove that your injuries were caused by the defendant’s breach of duty. You’ll also need proof of the damages or adverse effects of the injury.
7. Always Seek Medical Treatment
No matter how small you think your injury is, if you believe that you were hurt as a result of neglect or irresponsibility, you need to seek medical attention. When you don’t go to the hospital directly after an injury, you’re showing the insurance companies that you weren’t all that hurt, to begin with.
There are some cases where you can go to the hospital afterward when symptoms arise, but that makes it more difficult to prove that it was the defendant’s fault.
8. Look Out For Your Financial Future
A personal injury lawsuit after an accident of any kind isn’t an easy way to make money, it’s a necessary way to ensure that your medical bills and time off work are compensated for by the responsible party.
As long as you follow the seven tips we listed above, you should be well on your way to a fair and accurate hearing so you can get the money you deserve fast.
If you liked this post and you want to keep up to date on all legal news, check back for more soon!
I’m a single mother of 2 living in Utah writing about startups, business, marketing, entrepreneurship, and health. I also write for Inc, Score, Manta, and Newsblaze