If you’ve had an accident that wasn’t your fault, it’s worth considering a personal injury claim. Accidents can considerably affect your life, and seemingly minor injuries can have unknown consequences. Some of the most common effects are being unable to work or provide for your family and racking up medical debt.
In severe cases, an accident that wasn’t your fault can cause devastating long-term and potentially even incurable damage. But regardless of the severity of the injury, you’re entitled to file a personal injury claim. The problem that many claimants face is dealing with insurance companies. As profitable businesses, they will always look out for their benefit over yours, often by pressuring you to accept a much lower offer.
If you’ve no prior experience with personal injury claims, it’s difficult to know how to handle insurance companies to ensure you get the highest possible payout. Here are our top 3 tips for filing a successful claim.
Get Medical Attention Straight Away
To avoid medical bills or making a fuss, many of us try to endure the pain of our injuries rather than seek medical attention. But even if you’re sure that your injuries are minor, you should still seek medical help as soon as possible.
Many injuries from accidents can get drastically worse over time. Concussion and whiplash are two of the most common accident injuries, and both can take days, weeks, or months to present symptoms. For your health, it’s always advisable to seek medical aid as quickly as possible following an accident.
But it’s not just for your health that you should get help. For a successful personal injury claim, you’ll need to prove that your injuries were a consequence of the accident and having medical records is the best evidence of that. If you decide to wait out the injury and hope it goes away, insurance companies will claim that the injuries were either not severe, or worse, not a consequence of the accident. This can be difficult to argue and can affect the outcome of your claim.
Become a Detective
Before you get carried away, we’re not saying that you need to start investigating anybody else involved in your accident. But evidence is vital in any personal injury claim. It helps you show that the accident was not your fault and proves negligence from the other party.
As we’ve said, medical records are vital, but they’re not fault-proof. For example, if you have a doctor’s report of a concussion from slipping in an unsafe, unmarked area and you have photos of the site, it’s tough for anybody to dispute your claim. But if you don’t have further evidence, there is room for doubt. While your medical records may be enough, having further evidence will strengthen your claim.
If you’re involved in an accident, here are some ways to collect evidence, if you can, at the time of the accident:
- Take photos of the scene
- Get the contact details of anyone else involved
- Speak to eyewitnesses and take their details
- Try to source CCTV footage of the accident
- Get a copy of the accident report (if there is one).
Seek out a Personal Injury Lawyer
One of the best ways to maximize your compensation is to seek professional legal advice. Personal injury lawyers are adept at handling insurance companies and ensuring you have the evidence you need for success.
People frequently avoid seeking out professional help for a claim, usually because they want to keep the total payout and not pay for legal advice. While this might seem logical, it’s always a good idea to get a lawyer, as you’re almost guaranteed to get a higher payout, even after legal costs, than if you make a claim alone.
Often, simply having a personal injury lawyer will be enough to persuade insurance companies that you are serious. The threat of a lawsuit can make insurers offer a higher, more reasonable payout offer even if you have no real plan of taking the claim to court.
Accidents vary in severity, but you deserve compensation if you’ve had an accident that wasn’t your fault. Having an attorney by your side throughout the process is a great way to ensure you get a fair settlement. But it’s also vital to ensure you find an attorney you can trust, not one that’s looking for a quick and easy win.