If you’ve been in an accident and suffered an injury due to somebody else’s actions, you may be able to file a personal injury claim.
But the personal injury claims process can be confusing, which is why our Greenville personal injury lawyers have compiled a list of helpful tips on how to win your personal injury claim and maximize your chances of getting the compensation you deserve.
What Is a Personal Injury Claim?
A personal injury case is a lawsuit you file when you are injured because of somebody else’s actions. This can be a person, such as a driver in a car accident, or an organization, such as a truck company or employer. To win a personal injury case, you must prove that the other party was negligent or reckless and that their actions resulted in you getting hurt.
A personal injury claim allows you to secure a fair settlement that covers your expenses and compensates you for your pain and suffering. This means you must include details on how your injury affected your life to win your claim. These details can include:
- Medical bills: How much have you paid (or been billed) for treatment, surgeries, and rehabilitation? Will you need ongoing treatment for months or years?
- Proof of loss of income or reduced income: Has your injury prevented you from working? Will you ever be able to work again, or need to seek a new career because you can no longer perform your job duties?
- Property damage: Has an accident damaged your property, such as the car you own?
- Pain and emotional distress: Has your injury caused you to become withdrawn and depressed? Are you in physical pain daily, or suffer permanent weakness or disability, even after treatment?
Types of Personal Injury Claims
Personal injury or “tort” law allows anybody injured (or the family of a loved one who was killed) to claim compensation due to somebody else’s wrongful conduct. But wrongful conduct takes many forms. Some of the most common types of personal injury claims are:
- Car accident claims
- Truck accident claims
- Motorcycle accident claims
- Workplace accident claims
- Medical malpractice claims
- Wrongful death claims.
Depending on your type of accident and how it happened, you may have a legitimate claim, but that doesn’t automatically guarantee you will win your personal injury case. Fortunately, you can do plenty of things to increase your chance of success.
Tips on How to Win Your Personal Injury Claim
One of the most common questions our Greenville, South Carolina, personal injury lawyers receive is how to win a personal injury claim. When you file a claim for damages, you must show the other party was negligent and that your injuries are worthy of compensation, either to the insurance company that will negotiate a settlement or to the court if you decide to take your case to trial.
Winning a personal injury case rarely comes down to one single factor or piece of evidence. Instead, it’s the sum of multiple actions taken during the course of your claim. Here are our top tips to win your personal injury case.
Personal Injury Claim Expert Tip #1: Understand How Personal Injury Claims Work
Organization and focus are crucial when you are building a personal injury case. You must understand what you must prove to win your personal injury case and claim compensation. Everything you do to develop your case should show one of the following:
- That you were injured.
- That your injury resulted from the action or inaction of the other party.
- That the defendant was responsible for acting in a way that would have prevented the injury.
As you build your case, organize everything around these three requirements. Doing this will give you the evidence you need to prove you deserve compensation.
Personal Injury Claim Expert Tip #2: Get Medical Treatment
If you’ve been in an accident, you should seek medical help immediately. Even if you’re sure that your injuries aren’t severe, it’s crucial to see a doctor for your health. Getting checked by a medical professional allows you to receive a diagnosis and treatment for any injuries that are delayed or masked by adrenaline.
Seeking treatment is also vital for your personal injury claim.
A doctor can confirm and, more importantly, document your injuries. If you fail to report your injuries at the time, the other party’s insurance company can claim that you did not sustain your injury during the accident, affecting your chances of winning your case.
It’s just as important to see a doctor, even if you think your injuries are minor and can be treated at home. Sometimes, injuries worsen over time, requiring surgeries or lengthy treatment and recovery. This can significantly increase the amount of compensation you’re entitled to, but you’ll face an uphill battle if you didn’t report your injuries when they occurred.
You should also follow any treatment or recovery plans put together by your medical team. This ensures as complete a recovery as possible and allows you to document the severity of your injuries over time and how much treatment costs. Failure to follow your doctor’s advice can also impact your chances of winning your personal injury case, as the other side may claim your inaction made your injuries worse.
Personal Injury Claim Expert Tip #3: Gather the Right Types of Evidence
One of the most common mistakes in a personal injury claim is failing to collect evidence throughout the process. Evidence is crucial if you want to win your injury claim, as it proves the severity and ongoing consequences of your injury. Depending on the type of accident you were in, the evidence you may want to gather includes the following:
- Medical bills
- Medical records
- Payslips (to prove how much income you’ve lost)
- Accident reports (in auto accidents)
- Photographs of injuries and the accident scene
- Witness statements
- Contact details of witnesses
- CCTV footage.
Alongside evidence of the accident and your injuries, you need to show the full extent of the damage, including how your injuries affect you daily. Don’t rely on your memory for this — you will likely forget the details. It can be helpful to keep a journal or diary of your experience, documenting whether you can complete daily tasks, how much pain you are in, how your injuries are healing, and what appointments you need to attend.
Personal Injury Claim Expert Tip #4: Avoid Social Media
In the aftermath of an accident, it’s easy to make simple, seemingly innocent mistakes that can come back to bite you later on. One of the most common is commenting or speaking about your accident on social media. The defendant’s attorney or insurance company will trawl through your social media accounts to see if they can use your own words against you.
Perhaps you use social media to keep in touch with friends and loved ones, and want to let them know you’re okay, or maybe multiple people have been asking about your accident, so you put out a blanket statement. But even replying to a comment saying that you’re “fine” or “well” or saying that the driver came out of nowhere and you “didn’t see them” can be used by the other party to indicate that your injuries aren’t as bad as they really are or that you’re partly at fault for your accident because you weren’t paying attention.
While you’re free to use your social media as you please, we’d recommend caution when discussing your accident, as any indication that you accept legal responsibility or that you’re exaggerating your condition — even if that’s not the case — can affect your chances of winning your personal injury claim.
Personal Injury Claim Expert Tip #5: Do Not Talk to Insurance Adjusters
After your accident, the defendant’s insurance company will often contact you and ask you questions about your accident. They will claim they are trying to help you, but this is usually a tactic to gauge your intentions and find holes in your claim to reduce the amount they’ll need to pay you.
Insurance adjusters are notorious for making lowball offers early in the claims process. They might claim it benefits you because you’ll be able to pay your medical bills and put your accident behind you, but they want to resolve your claim quickly so they can avoid paying you a larger settlement.
It’s important to know you don’t need to speak to an insurance adjuster. If you do, be polite but firm and stick to the facts of your accident (such as when and where it happened and who was involved). If they ask about your injuries, state that you’re still seeking treatment. Then, if your injuries later get worse and you’re entitled to more compensation, the insurer won’t be able to claim you previously told them your injuries weren’t as severe.
Personal Injury Claim Expert Tip #6: Hire an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
One of the best tips to win your personal injury claim is to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer.
Many people in accidents choose to avoid personal injury attorneys due to the legal fees associated, but it’s best to get a lawyer involved as early in the case as possible. In many cases, you’ll be entitled to damages you may not even be aware of, and an attorney can use their knowledge, experience, and network to investigate your accident, gather evidence, and secure you a much higher settlement than if you go it alone — even after legal fees. Many firms — our personal injury lawyers in Greenville included — also work on a contingency basis, so you won’t pay anything until you win your case.
Personal Injury Claim Expert Tip #7: Think about Whether You Want to Go to Trial
According to the Department of Justice, over 400 thousand personal injury claims are filed annually in the US. Of those, only 4% — or 16 thousand — go to trial.
Most are settled during negotiations, so going to court might not be on your radar. However, it’s worth considering whether you will want to take your case to trial if you don’t get the settlement you want.
Our attorneys will do all we can to win your personal injury claim without going to court, which can be a lengthy and expensive process, but we are also experienced trial advocates who aren’t afraid to take your case to trial if the insurance company refuses to budge on an unfair offer.
To win your personal injury claim at the trial stage, hiring an attorney you trust and who has experience winning similar cases is vital. By taking the steps we’ve outlined so far — seeking medical treatment, documenting your accident, injuries, and progress, and avoiding social media — you’ll put yourself in good stead for a positive outcome.
To find out if you have a claim and for help winning your personal injury case, contact South Carolina’s best personal injury lawyers at The Clardy Law Firm.