Thousands of personal injury claims are filed each year in the US.
There are many reasons to file a personal injury claim. However, the most common one is that you need reimbursement for damages. Between medical bills and medications, even a single accident can cost you thousands of dollars.
Moreover, injuries can come from almost anywhere – car accidents, medical malpractice, slip and fall accidents, and much more. The worst part, however, is that often the accident is entirely not your fault.
Regardless of what happened, the important thing is that you make sure that you’re not left with medical bills you can’t pay.
In light of this, we’ve compiled a few helpful tips for personal injury victims below.
- See a doctor as soon as possible and follow all of their recommendations.
It’s always best to get evaluated after an accident or personal injury. That way, you’ll know the exact extent of your damages and will have paperwork to back it up. Remember that failing to follow your doctor’s orders can severely undermine your case. In other words, don’t cut corners on any physical therapy or medication that’s been prescribed to you.
- Keep all medical paperwork and bills in a safe spot.
You’ll want to keep all medical paperwork and bills related to your recent injury. This way, you have proof of all your injuries, and they’ve been verified by a doctor. Additionally, you’ll want to keep track of all of your expenses. This is particularly important since you don’t want to end up in a situation where you accidentally accept a settlement offer that’s well below what you spent on your injuries.
- Meet with an attorney sooner rather than later.
Did you know that most states have a statute of limitation for filing personal injury claims and lawsuits? In the state of Pennsylvania, for example, car accident claims must be filed within two years of the event. Personal injury lawsuits have a similar timeline of just two years.
Please note, however, that this timeline may be even shorter. For example, claims/lawsuits filed against the state or government may have a statute of limitations of just a few months.
The best thing to do is meet with a lawyer ASAP so that you don’t accidentally miss an important deadline.
- Be honest.
One of the most important things during your case is to be completely transparent with your attorney. Embellishing or exaggerating can only harm your case.
Your legal team aside, though, you should also never lie when making a statement to a police officer or speaking in court. Your attorney will most likely prep you and guide you regarding what type of questions you should answer.
- Figure out financing.
Lawyers can be expensive, but they certainly don’t have to be. The Cochran Firm Philadelphia office, for example, takes on personal injury clients on a contingency fee basis. Meaning that we don’t get paid until you receive a settlement.
If, however, you opt for an alternative law office, always ask about their fees. You don’t want to end up in a situation where you’re losing money through legal fees as well as via medical bills.
- Gather evidence.
Your lawyer will most likely advise you regarding what evidence you’ll need on hand for the case.
You should begin collecting evidence from the time of the accident itself. For example, don’t forget to take pictures at the accident scene (if there is one) and get a copy of the police report if it’s available. It may be hard to collect all the evidence later on, so it’s best to begin doing so while the case is still fresh.
- Consider ALL of your possible damages.
Yes, you should definitely take into account all of your current medical bills. It’s just as important to consider future expenses as well. For example, will you require physical therapy someday? Monthly medications? Are your insurance rates going to go up? These are all very important questions to answer. Make sure to let your attorney know of any future expenses you may suffer as a result of your injuries.
- Avoid posting on social media during an ongoing legal case.
Although it may not immediately seem so, social media can actually be quite harmful to your case. Insurance companies often look through social media for evidence that could invalidate your claim.
For example, say you post a picture of yourself dancing with some friends at a concert. Although this may not seem like much to you, it could be a whole lot to an insurance company. Specifically, they may try to use the photo as proof that your injuries are not as serious as you claim.
- Don’t talk to the other party’s insurance company without consulting your lawyer.
More often than not, the goal of the other party’s insurance company is to settle for as little as possible. That’s why they may try to lowball you or scare you into taking their first settlement offer.
In this case, just stay calm and contact your attorney. They can help you negotiate with the insurance company and come to a fair offer.
- Keep information about your case private.
Try to keep details regarding your case to yourself. Insurance companies may try to use what you say against you in order to settle for less. Even a casual remark could end up on the record and be used against you later. The best thing to do is abstain from talking about your case with anyone other than your lawyer.
Answers to Common Questions
Here are a few more answers to commonly asked questions:
What Is Personal Injury?
According to the Legal Information Institute (LII), a personal injury is any variety of damage to a person’s “body, emotions, or reputation.”
Often, a personal injury can occur due to someone else’s negligence or intentional actions. In these cases, you should always consult with a lawyer regarding your legal options.
Is It Worth It To Get A Lawyer For A Car Accident?
Absolutely. As mentioned earlier, the other party’s insurance company will almost always try to settle for as low as possible. In this case, a car accident lawyer may be able to help you negotiate your settlement and explain your options to you.
How Much To Ask For In A Personal Injury Settlement?
The process of figuring out exactly how much to ask for in a settlement can be somewhat complicated. The best thing to do is to sit down with a lawyer to go over your case and discuss the settlement together.
Generally speaking, you’ll want the settlement to cover expenses such as medical bills, physical therapy, property damage, lost wages, and more.
Also, keep in mind that settlement negotiations often start off at a higher number and then negotiate down to a more reasonable amount.
What Percentage Does A Lawyer Get In A Settlement Case?
If your lawyer is working on a contingency basis, that means that they receive a percent of your final winnings in court. The exact percentage varies heavily depending on the particular law office.
Having said that, according to the American Bar Association (ABA), this percentage is often about “one-third to 40 percent” of the final amount recovered.
The best way to find out for sure is simply to ask during your initial consultation. Many law offices offer free first consultations just so that you can ask some questions before fully committing.
Personal Injury Lawyer In Philadelphia
Are you looking for a personal injury lawyer in Philadelphia? We’d love to give you a hand! Call or go online to book your FREE consultation with us. The Cochran Firm Philadelphia office handles a variety of cases; personal injury, auto accidents, consumer fraud, construction accidents, elder abuse, product liability, police misconduct, and much more. Whatever your concern may be, the Cochran Firm Philadelphia office always has your back.
Also, remember that in case of a personal injury, it’s almost always best to consult with a lawyer ASAP. This way, your legal counsel can explain your options and walk you through next steps.