Navigating the Legal Maze following an Accident
By Bernard Freeman
Personal injuries can be traumatic, viagra 60mg life-changing events. Depending on the severity, drug they can alter the way you work, buy play and live your daily life. That’s why the steps taken at the beginning of your case can be the most important moves you make.
Between medical bills and lost income, personal injuries also can have a big impact on your financial future. Many accident victims are dependent on the damages awarded after an injury, so maximizing your settlement is key.
Be Careful What You Share
Social media is the perfect platform for updating friends, family and the world about your life. If you are in an accident, your first instinct may be to post an update to your Facebook wall or Twitter profile. Stop right there!
Legal professionals advise clients to keep any sensitive information to themselves if they want any chance at landing a settlement. Why? Because everything that is posted on social media may be considered public. This means that information about an injury claim could be used against a plaintiff by the defense.
For anyone involved in litigation, it’s best to refrain from posting your thoughts on the case, your experience with the injury and your progress of recovery. This type of information is being watched for by lawyers and the people involved in your case. So think before you hit that “send” button and follow our tips on social media usage during a personal injury situation.
Keep Quiet Online
Hopefully your personal social media accounts are set to private. Research shows that most are not, so that should be your first step in using social media during litigation. This keeps outsiders from being able to scroll through your posts and read your updates.
That being said, it’s still common sense to keep all information about your personal injury accident, legal advice, photos of your injuries or other related tidbits out of the world of social media. Your personal injury attorney will advise you to keep quiet online for the best chance of winning your case.
We know this can be tough. But instead of posting a photo of your overall physical condition, ask a friend to stop by to talk about what’s going on. Face-to-face interaction can provide a much more intimate, comforting feeling than social media. That’s exactly what you need when trying to recover from a personal injury.
You’ve surely heard of stories about someone involved in a personal injury case posting photos of themselves engaged in vigorous activity such as a skiing or hiking trip. This actually happens. These types of photos are damaging in many ways, especially if you’re attempting to win a settlement that includes monetary compensation for chronic pain or serious injuries.
One overlooked mistake can be not alerting your friends and family members to follow the same guidelines. Ask them to refrain from posting updates on your condition, even if the updates are meant for friends and family members. This means no tagging you in any posts that may have negative consequences for your case and absolutely no mention of any confidential deals that are reached in settlement negotiations.
You may need a lawyer
Finding the right personal injury attorney to represent your case in negotiations, settlements or even a lawsuit is one of the most important actions you can take once your injuries are under control.
How do you find a legitimate personal injury lawyer? Where should you look and what kinds of questions should you ask to make sure their firm is the right fit for your needs?
Specialization in Injury Law
There are many arms of the law, and different attorneys have different specializations. Your task is to find an attorney who specializes in injury law. There are many intricacies to this subset of the legal field.
How long has the attorney been practicing injury law? Are you confident with his strategy for getting the compensation that is due to you in a timely manner? Ask yourself these questions before signing on the dotted line.
Extensive Courtroom Experience
Whether or not your personal injury case enters the courtroom, it’s best to have a lawyer with loads of experience initiating investigations, securing evidence, dealing with witnesses and filing legal documents.
There are many negotiations to be conducted within a personal injury case, including with insurance companies and other lawyers. Put your trust in an attorney who can prove years of courtroom experience and successful outcomes.
A Flexible Pricing Structure
Injury cases can be downright expensive to prove. In order to prove damages, your attorney may need to engage the services of physicians, neurologists, orthopedic specialists and accident investigators.
You’ll want to find a personal injury lawyer who works on a flexible payment structure, specifically for a contingency plan. Negotiate a deal with your attorney that will leave you out little to no money if you don’t win your case.
First Steps After a Wreck
Being involved in a car accident can be a frightening experience, but taking clear-headed steps immediately following it can make or break your personal safety and ability to land a settlement. This can be easier said than done.
That’s why having a clear plan of action top of mind at all times is crucial to being able to execute it should the need arise. And the first step to that plan should always be to seek immediate medical attention, even if your injuries seem minor.
Many symptoms — including pain, dizziness or numbness — can crop up days or weeks later. And if you never received treatment or medical clearance, it may be hard to have these damages paid for in a personal injury settlement claim.
Document Your Experience
As soon as you’re able to, take detailed notes and photos on your injuries, medical treatment and any symptoms that come after the fact. The Department of Motor Vehicles advises you to keep the following records:
- Receipts for medications you were prescribed or any assistive devices such as crutches that were needed, as well as every form of correspondence you had with medical professionals during the course of treatment.
- A specific, detailed journal on your injuries and medical care.
- Information about the accident, documented with photos of the accident location if possible.
- Numerous photos of your car’s damage at every angle.
- Proof of financial losses, such as lost wages and opportunities.
- Names and contact information of witnesses.
After a car accident, you may apologize or admit fault to your car insurance agent. Doing so can compromise your claim. Give your detailed, honest account to law enforcement officers, who will then provide a police report to your insurance company for a decision.
The DMV recommends following these tips to avoid other common mistakes:
- Don’t reach a personal injury settlement until you have completed all of your medical treatment and your injuries are as healed as they are going to get.
- Don’t sign forms or checks with releases on them before you’re ready to settle completely.
- Don’t talk to people about the case unless you need to.
Personal Injuries: By the Numbers
In the United States, about 60 percent of civil litigation trials are related to some form of personal injury, according to the most recent statistics from the United States Department of Justice.
Here are more statistics from the DOJ that paint the picture how, where and why personal injuries are prevalent in our country.
According to the DOJ:
- 52 percent of personal injuries are the result of motor vehicle accidents.
- 15 percent are in relation to medical malpractice.
- 5 percent are the result of product liability.
- The remaining 28 percent are classified as “other” cases.
In terms of cases that went to trial, the DOJ finds that plaintiffs are successful in about half of the cases. Here are the splits, according to the DOJ:
- In motor vehicle related incidents, plaintiffs are successful 61 percent of the time.
- In intentional tort trials, plaintiffs are successful 50 percent of the time.
- In premises liability trials, the success rate for plaintiffs stands at 39 percent.
- In product liability trials, plaintiffs were successful in 38 percent of cases.
- Just 19 percent of plaintiffs were successful in medical malpractice trials.