In theory, a personal injury case is simple: another person’s negligence causes your injury, you file a lawsuit, and you receive the money you deserve.
But the result of your case (i.e. the amount of compensation you receive) will depend on many factors, such as:
- State law
- The kind of injury you sustained
- The severity of your injury
- Whether you sought professional counsel
- How soon you sought professional counsel
Because every situation is unique, the result will vary significantly from one case to the next. While you may not be able to control every factor, there are a few moves you can make that will increase your likelihood of securing substantial compensation.
Let’s take a close look at four of these decisions.
1. Mitigate the Damage (a.k.a. See a Doctor)
As a plaintiff, you must fulfill your “duty to mitigate.” In a personal injury case, this typically means you must take reasonable steps to treat your injury and not let it get worse.
People might choose not to see a doctor for several reasons. For example, they might forego treatment because:
- They can’t afford it
- They don’t realize they’re seriously injured
- They mistakenly believe they will get more compensation if they don’t treat their injury
Some choose to visit the doctor but then fail to follow their advice or continue with treatment. Any of these situations may result in receiving less compensation than you would have. This is why we urge our clients to go to the doctor right after the incident, even if they aren’t sure they’ve been seriously injured. Many injuries do not reveal themselves right away, and it can be easy to assume that mild soreness will go away on its own.
2. Document, Document, Document
Memory is not perfect, and it may become distorted over time. In general, your recollection of events will be most accurate right after the incident, so we recommend writing down what information you remember as soon as possible.
If you were in a car accident, for example, this information might include:
- The direction you were headed
- How fast you were going
- What the other driver was doing just before the accident
We also recommend taking as many photographs of the scene as possible. You can never be sure what details will be critical to your case.
3. Lawyer First—Then Insurance
It can be easy to accidentally admit fault—especially when this is what an insurance representative wants you to do. Saying you feel fine (even if you don’t) may come naturally, as well. Either of these admissions can prevent even the most skilled attorney from securing the compensation you deserve. When you speak with a lawyer before anyone else, they can advise you regarding what to say to whom, thereby helping you maximize your odds of winning a substantial settlement.
4. Communicate with Your Lawyer
This final step is two-fold.
When it comes to communication, your lawyer will need you to be:
- Honest. Your lawyer is not here to get you in trouble or undermine your right to fair compensation. If you lie to your lawyer, they will not be able to build an effective case because they won’t be armed with all the information they need. It is in your best interests to tell your lawyer the complete truth in full detail, whether or not you believe the information is important.
- Accessible. Many personal injury cases take several months or years. Be sure to keep your lawyer in the loop if you move, get a new phone number, or otherwise change your contact information. They will need to reach you at various points throughout your case, and becoming unreachable could be catastrophic for your case.
Communicating openly, honestly, and frequently with your lawyer will maximize their ability to build the strongest possible case.
Why Choose the Law Office of Seni Popat?
If you’ve been seriously injured, your world may have changed abruptly in many different ways. You might not be able to work, afford your bills, or complete daily tasks the way you did before. You might be suffering both physically and emotionally. At the Law Office of Seni Popat, our lawyer is personally and professionally committed to helping you get through this challenging time by securing the compensation you need and deserve. With years of legal experience, Attorney Popat has a wealth of knowledge and skills that he looks forward to using to achieve the best possible resolution on your behalf.