As a victim of a life-threatening injury or accident, you may be hoping to get full compensation for your injuries after making a personal injury claim. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen. Filing a personal injury claim is a complex process. Defense attorneys and insurance firms usually go to the extreme to ensure they settle your claim with as little money as possible. To ensure you get fair compensation, you should an experienced personal injury lawyer.
Preparing to File a Personal Injury Claim
A personal injury attorney can help you negotiate with the insurance adjuster to ensure you get a fair settlement. However, before I get into the other benefits of hiring a personal injury attorney, here are some points you should consider before seeking compensation.
Be Aware of the Statute of Limitations
When you are sure that you have a case to your injury claim, you should keep in mind the deadline for filing a claim. This deadline, which is referred to as the Statute of Limitations, depends on the state where you live.
In Texas, the personal injury Statute of Limitations is two years after the occurrence of the accident. Therefore, if you fail to file your complaint within two years, you can no longer pursue the claim or seek a settlement.
Gathering the evidence you’ll need to support your claim may take some time. Therefore, it is advisable to start working on your claim immediately the injury occurs. You also need to file a claim with the insurance firm as soon as possible. Ideally, you should file a claim within 24 hours after the accident. You can quickly file a claim online or over the phone, if it’s impossible for you to visit the insurance offices.
Know What Your Case Is Worth
Most insurance adjusters will test your knowledge of the value of your case by giving you an offer immediately you file a claim. In some instances, the adjuster may offer a take-it-or-leave-it settlement or a lowball offer. If you don’t know what your claim is worth, you may be tempted to accept such offers.
It is crucial to know how much your claim is worth. Here, working with a personal injury lawyer will prove important. The attorney will advise you on the minimum amount that you should be willing to accept. Never take a lowball settlement without consulting a lawyer.
Have the Right Documents to Substantiate Your Claim
When making a personal injury claim, you’ll need proof to substantiate your case. Have a paper trail documenting:
a) Your medical expenses
Let your physician know that you need certified medical records of your injuries. You may have to pay a small fee to get certified medical records of your injuries.
TIP: Get the records by affidavit as this will make it easier to present them in court if you decide to file a lawsuit later.
Submit the medical records to the insurance company instead of authorizing them to get the records from the hospital. If you provide the insurance company with unlimited authorization to access your medical records, they may get records that are unrelated to your injuries and use them to build a case against your claims.
Moreover, getting and submitting your medical records to the insurance firm will give you an idea of the amount that your claim is worth based on the medical bills.
b) An accident report
c) Personal details of the accident witnesses
d) Statement from the driver that was at fault
e) Photographs of the damaged vehicle, your injuries, and the accident scene
f) Lost wages documentation
If you have lost wages due to the personal injuries, get documentation to prove it. You can ask your employer to fill a form documenting the time and wages lost due to the injury. Ensure your claim is fair and accurate.
Be Ready for the Negotiation Process
After submitting the demand letter to the insurance company, an offer will be proposed. You will be surprised at how low the first offer from the company may be. However, you don’t have to accept it. Have a counteroffer ready and point out the injuries you have incurred. Present evidence such as the documented lost wages and medical records to back your offer.
Insurance adjusters are skilled and negotiating for low payments. They may trick you into accepting a lowball offer, insinuating that they are doing you a favor. Do not fall for their gimmicks. Expect a back and forth negotiation process. You also need to exercise patience during this process. Some adjusters know that if they take time evaluating your claim, you might agree to a low offer in a bid to get the process over with.
If you have any outstanding bills at the hospital that need to be paid out of the final settlement, keep the bills in mind during the negotiations. You also need to negotiate with the lien holder to reduce their payback as the insurance negotiations come to an end. Doing these two things can increase the amount you’ll end up getting for yourself from the settlement.
Why You Should Hire a Personal Injury Attorney
It is best to hire a personal injury attorney early in the claim process. Working with an attorney is important for the following reasons:
1. Get a Fair Settlement
When you have a personal injury attorney representing you, the adjuster realizes that you mean business. Moreover, the attorney has the experience and skills to know the true value of your claim. The lawyer will help you to negotiate the claim. Therefore, you will not have to worry about letting go of a seemingly great offer. The lawyer will also help you to prepare the necessary documents before filing a claim.
If you choose to follow the claim independently, you may undervalue yourself or get intimidated by the negotiation process. Most personal injury victims that represent themselves end up settling for low compensation.
2.Help You Negotiate with Lien-Holders
Cases that involve serious injuries may be characterized by medical paybacks or substantial liens. In such instances, an attorney will help you negotiate with both the lien holders so that you get more net proceeds in your pocket.
3. Advice You on the Best Course of Action
have on a claim. For instance, a very low offer may be suggested, which is too common in personal injury cases.
The adjuster may ask for your consent to obtain your medical records. Moreover, you may be required to provide a written or recorded statement to be considered for a settlement. These are just some of the tricks that the adjuster may use to corner you into accepting a low settlement. A personal injury attorney will know of these tricks and advise you on what to do to protect your interests.
Getting an experienced personal injury attorney to help you with negotiations is the best decision you can make when you want to file a claim. Refrain from doing more harm than good to your case by going the independent way. With an attorney working on your case, you can be sure of getting a reasonable settlement. You should also know are personal injury settlements taxable in Texas.