Maximizing Your Personal Injury Settlement
Being involved in an auto accident can be a traumatic experience. The physical injuries and mental agony notwithstanding, dealing with the medical bills and loss of income can be an ordeal in itself.
This is why you need to fight for a fair settlement since it can pay for your treatment and recovery as well as help you cope with your other losses.
While it is not possible to exactly quantify and put a dollar value on the physical and emotional suffering you may go through as a result of the accident, you should try to maximize your personal injury settlement to the largest extent possible.
You cannot assume you are going to get everything you ask for so you don’t want to be derelict in any category in this process.
Given below are seven tips that can help you get the best possible personal injury settlement in Oregon.
#1. Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer
This is the first and perhaps the most crucial step that can maximize your chances of getting a fair compensation. Your attorney is the only one – apart from your family and friends – who has your best interests at heart and can help you the most under such circumstances.
Even if you do not have any money to pay the lawyer, there is no need for you to worry, since personal injury lawyers tend to work on a contingency fee basis, which means they get paid only after your claim is settled.
It is important to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer who has a track record of successfully representing accident victims and obtaining large settlements. Insurance companies have the best legal minds at their disposal, so you too should be represented by someone with the necessary expertise and experience.
Don’t put yourself at a severe disadvantage.
The lawyer you choose must know how to deal with the intricacies of a trial. Some personal injury lawyers tend to push for a settlement even if you have a strong case, because they lack the necessary experience and want to avoid a confrontation with the defense lawyer.
Based on this information, make sure you choose someone who can aggressively defend your interests in court and knows how to use every resource at their disposal to win the case.
#2. Get Yourself Medically Examined
Do not assume that you are not injured just because there is no pain or discomfort. In some cases, you might exhibit the symptoms of an injury several days or even weeks after the accident.
In some cases, the accident might not result in any injury, but might aggravate a preexisting injury or condition. In some other cases, there might be no physical injuries at all, but you could develop PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) as a result of the accident.
Whatever may be the case, you are entitled to receive compensation for the physical and emotional suffering you underwent as a result of the accident.
The extent of your suffering can be established in court only based on the expert opinion of a physician. So the first thing you should do is to get yourself thoroughly examined by a physician to know the extent of your injuries.
#3. Continue With the Treatment
It is critical for you to continue with the treatment until your physician decides to release you from care. Only your physician knows the true extent of your injuries. So, stopping the treatment abruptly could be harmful for you both in the short term and the long term.
Moreover, the tests, treatments, and therapy you undergo can help you build up a solid case against the defendant.
If you go against your doctor’s orders and refuse to seek proper treatment, the defendant’s lawyer can easily make the argument that the injuries you sustained in the accident were insignificant, since you only received minimal medical attention.
It can severely affect your chances of getting the personal injury compensation that you deserve.
#4. Gather Evidence Meticulously
Your case is only as strong as the amount of evidence you have. Here is what you can do to collect the required evidence.
- Take as many photos as you can of the accident scene. Take photos of the injuries you suffered, the vehicle involved in the accident, the exact spot where the accident happened, the landmarks nearby, and everything else that can help you paint a clear picture of the accident.
- Get in touch with the witnesses (if there are any) and get their contact information.
- If the accident happened in a public place, video surveillance cameras in the area might have recorded it. So, request a copy of the video tape from the concerned authorities.
- File a report with the police immediately.
It is necessary to get these things done as soon as possible. If you wait too long, the physical evidence at the accident scene might get destroyed and the witnesses might find it hard to recollect what they saw.
If your case is unusually complex, it is a salient idea to hire a crime scene reconstruction expert or a private investigator to gather evidence that can help you build a strong case against the defendant.
On a side note, if you hire a resourceful and experienced personal injury attorney, they might be able to take care of all these things on your behalf.
#5. Decide How Much You Are Willing to Settle For
It is always a poignant idea to have a tentative settlement amount in mind before you start your negotiations. So, you should talk to your lawyer and get an idea as to how strong your case is and how much compensation you are likely to receive.
Insurance companies usually start the settlement process by offering a fairly low amount. When they do, you should be in a position to make a counteroffer based on data – the injuries you sustained, the losses you suffered, loss of housekeeping capacity, and so on.
If the offer made by the insurance company is more or less equal to or higher than your minimum figure, you can accept it. Otherwise, you should reject it and negotiate harder or get it sorted out in court, depending on your lawyer’s advice.
#6. Stay Away from Social Media
Stay away from social media until your claim comes to a successful conclusion (and even then you should check yourself). The comments you post and the pictures you upload on your social media accounts can and will be used against you by the defense lawyer.
If you go out with your friends and post a picture on your Instagram, the opposition lawyer can easily argue that you only sustained minor injuries and exaggerated the extent of your injuries to try and get a large settlement amount. So, the moment you file a personal injury lawsuit, you should refrain from making any comments online, via email, or even speaking about what happened over the phone.
You should even be careful on what you say to people you know in person.
#7. Do not Ignore the Emotional Component
Apart from producing physical evidence to support your claims, try to highlight the points in your case that have a strong emotional appeal. For instance, if you have children, you could make an argument that they too suffered as a result of the accident, since you could not properly for them.
Similarly, try to make a solid impression during the proceedings, especially at your deposition. If you are polite, well-mannered, and make a strong, emotionally appealing argument at your deposition, you will be seen as a likeable and sympathetic victim, which can tilt the scales in your favor.
Get In Touch With an Oregon Personal Injury Attorney Today
If you are a victim of a car accident and have sustained injuries due to the negligence of the other driver, you are legally entitled to receive compensatory damages.
Oregon law requires that personal injury lawsuits should be filed within two years from the date of the accident. So, you should get in touch with a lawyer as quickly as possible to set things in motion.
If you are looking for the best possible legal representation in Oregon, you can contact the personal injury lawyers at Dwyer Williams Cherkoss Attorneys. Our lawyers have years of experience, successfully represented hundreds of victims, and can provide you the best legal advice and support.
If you are a car accident victim and want to know what your legal options are, you should speak to one of our lawyers today. Call 1-800-285-8678 to schedule a consultation.