Were you recently injured in an accident caused by someone else? Whether you’re facing economic or non-economic losses, you may have the right to pursue damages through a personal injury claim. To ensure that you’re fully compensated for your losses, you will need to work with an attorney and proceed with care. How do I maximize my personal injury claim? Scroll down to find out.
How Do I Maximize My Personal Injury Claim?
Many accident victims ask, “How do I maximize my personal injury claim?” Fortunately, there are ways that you can help your attorney with your case to strengthen its value and maximize the amount of compensation that you might recover. That said, there are also things that you should avoid doing that could weaken your claim.
Remember that deciding to file a personal injury claim is only the first step in a long process. What you do after your injury is also important and can either hurt or harm the value of your claim.
1. Document everything.
Make sure to document and record everything. The more evidence that you can collect and save, the better. Make sure to gather as much evidence from the accident scene as you can, including pictures that you took of the scene, any property damage, and your injuries. If any witnesses saw what happened, ask for their names and contact details. You should also get a copy of the police report. Gathering as much evidence as possible and giving it to your attorney can help them build a strong foundation for your case.
2. Get a medical examination and follow-up care.
If you do not see a doctor after your accident, you might find it difficult to recover compensation in a personal injury claim. You should see a doctor as soon as possible after your accident so that you can present a complete picture of your injuries and the steps that you have taken to treat them. Likewise, you should follow your doctor’s recommendations for follow-up treatment, and keep all of your appointments. Get copies of your doctor’s notes, recommendations, treatment plans, and other medical records that deal with your injuries.
3. Move quickly.
One of the biggest mistakes that people make after suffering injuries in accidents is failing to act quickly. While you might have a lot on your mind, failing to act can harm your claim. If you wait too long, the statute of limitations might expire and prevent you from pursuing compensation at all. In Arkansas, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is three years under Ark. Code §16-56-104. In Oklahoma, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years under 12 OK Stat. § 12-95; however, if the claim is against a governmental entity or public trust, the statute of limitations may be just one year. If you wait for three or more years in Arkansas or two or more years in Oklahoma to file a claim, the court will likely dismiss it.
Instead of waiting until the limitations period is about to expire, you should talk to an attorney as soon as possible after your accident. This gives your lawyer more time to properly investigate your case and helps to prevent evidence from being lost or spoliated over time.
4. Do not rush to accept an offer.
If the insurance company contacts you with an early settlement offer, you should not rush to accept it. Instead, ask an experienced attorney to evaluate any offers that you receive. Insurance companies frequently make low-ball offers to injury victims to try to reduce the amounts that they might ultimately be forced to pay.
5. Properly value your claim.
Most personal injury claims involve far more than the victims’ economic losses. In addition to medical expenses, income losses, and property losses, you might also have more intangible losses, including pain and suffering, emotional trauma, and others. The value of your claim should also include the future losses that you might suffer because of your accident. A knowledgeable attorney can properly value your claim so that you will have a general idea of what it might be worth. This will help you evaluate the offers that you might receive from insurance companies.
6. Beware of social media.
When you file a personal injury claim, you need to be very careful about what you post on social media. Do not talk about the details of your case or your injuries. Avoid posting photos that could be misconstrued by the insurance company as showing that your injuries are not as severe as you claim.
7. Disclose all prior medical conditions and previous claims.
Tell your attorney all of the doctors and healthcare providers you have visited for at least the past 10 years. This allows your attorney to properly evaluate your health situation, from your past injuries to those caused by the present accident. In addition, make sure to tell your attorney about any previous claims, including but not limited to prior auto accidents and workers’ compensation claims.
8. Be honest.
Some people wrongly believe that if they exaggerate their injuries, they will recover more compensation. Insurance companies are skilled at identifying people who are malingering. You should always be honest with your doctors and attorney. If you exaggerate your symptoms and injuries, you could lose your credibility and your case.
Contact the Law Offices of Craig L. Cook Today
Are you trying to recover while simultaneously handling mounting expenses and substantial losses? You need a kind, talented, and hard-working attorney. To learn how to maximize the compensation that you might receive in a personal injury claim, contact the Law Offices of Craig L. Cook today. You can call us at 479-783-8000 or send us a message online.