If you are thinking of filing a personal injury claim, you can avoid a few mistakes, ensuring you get the best settlement you deserve. Circumventing these mistakes will prevent any delays or even ending the settlement process unsuccessfully.
When you contact a lawyer, ask the relevant questions about your claim to ensure it will be appropriately handled. You have a right to stay informed and involved throughout the process.
You can avoid making these five most common mistakes when filing a personal injury claim:
1. Not Getting a Lawyer
There are various reasons why people mistakenly avoid hiring a lawyer. These include that they think they can’t afford one and that the case will go to court.
Lawyers are more affordable than you think.
Many people avoid contacting a lawyer out of fear that they cannot afford one. Unlike most types of lawyers, personal injury lawyers charge a contingency fee, which means you don’t have to pay them upfront when they take your case. They only collect a fee if they get a settlement in your case by taking a prearranged percentage of the overall payment. In most cases, the settlement a lawyer can get you a typically higher amount than what is offered by the insurance company.
The majority of personal injury cases are settled out of court
A personal injury lawyer will do everything to settle a claim by avoiding going to court. They review the initial settlement offered and negotiate fair compensation for you based on your injuries, income lost, and psychological trauma suffered.
2. Not Understanding the Timeframe Allowed
Some people don’t know a timeframe involved as to how long they must file a personal injury claim. Then again, others don’t file one because they believe the timeframe has lapsed.
Missing the required time frame
Most states have a one- or two-year limitation from the date of the injury to file the claim. You need to ensure you don’t miss this timeframe, so contact a lawyer as soon as possible to get it started. This may seem impossible to achieve when battling to get better from your injuries, but it’s vital.
Thinking you waited too long
Contact a lawyer who will review your case, even if you think the timeframe has expired. Lawyers often review cases for free, and not all cases have the same statute of limitations, for example, medical cases.
3. Not Knowing all the Facts
You only get one chance to reach a settlement agreement, so make sure you get it right.
You can’t get additional compensation later
Once you sign the settlement agreement, you cannot file any further claims for the same incident. Make sure to have a full picture of the amounts needed to cover your damages and any future expenses. These include lost wages and ongoing medical treatments. Your lawyer will also add compensation for any pain and suffering caused by the accident.
You can file a claim, even if you were partially to blame
Some states have fault-based comparative negligence laws that allow both parties to be found partially at fault. Usually, it follows the 50% bar rule, which means you can recover part of a settlement if your fault does not exceed 49%. It is worth asking about it.
Investigate the accident further
Many variables can cause an accident and lead to your injuries. An excellent personal injury lawyer will investigate all these to ensure all the facts are correct, preventing any unpleasant surprises later. These surprises may include negligence on the part of the other driver or even the fact that your brakes were not appropriately maintained.
4. Not Factoring in All Your Damages
Don’t sign any agreement before considering your current injuries and their long-term effects—factor in all medical costs, your ability to continue working, and your mental health. Your lawyer is the best person to review your claim before working out both current and future damages for your settlement amount.
5. Not Looking at Other Liable Parties
If there was more than one person responsible for the accident you were injured in, the potential settlement could be more significant. Sometimes this may be one of the car manufacturers or another party that distracted the driver that hit you. A personal injury lawyer is the best person to determine if your case calls for a multi-party claim.
These are the most common mistakes you need to avoid when filing a personal injury claim. Remember, before signing away your rights, get the best advice, follow these tips, and never talk to anyone else other than your lawyer.