If you have been injured due to someone else’s negligence, you Amy have already filed a personal injury lawsuit. While the types of injuries litigated in personal injury claims vary widely, there are several things that successful plaintiffs generally do to maximize their recovery and get back on their feet again. The facts of your case may require you to proceed differently than what is presented below, but these general guidelines will get you started on the right path to litigating your case successfully.
1. Find a Lawyer You Trust
Your lawyer is your advocate inside and out of the courtroom. It is imperative that you find an attorney who you think is invested in your case and you can communicate with effectively. During your first meeting with your attorney, you should be prepared to ask as many questions as you need to feel confident and comfortable with your choice in legal representation. The American Bar Association recommends some general questions that you should discuss with your attorney.
2. Understand that Juries are Unpredictable
There is a good reason why the vast majority of civil cases settle before they ever get to a trial. Trials are often unpredictable, especially when you throw a jury into the mix. Even a very strong case can get torn apart if things come out at trial that you or your attorney did not anticipate. It can save you a lot of time and frustration to consider settling your case upon receipt of a decent offer. The point of filing a case is to recover for your loss, not necessarily to have a day in court. If you can still recover for your injuries without seeing the inside of a courtroom, you should consider this a victory.
3. Know Your Facts
For your lawyer to do a good job representing you, you need to make sure that he or she has all of the relevant facts of your case. It is a good idea to keep accurate records and save all receipts related to your medical bills and other losses. Try not to leave out any important details because you never know what could make a difference in your case down the line.
4. Keep Your Composure
Even though you might be going through an emotional time after a personal injury, it is vital that you keep your composure so that you can make effective decisions about your case. Try not to get rattled by what the insurance company or other side says in response to your communications.
5. Do Not Settle with the Insurance Company Right Away
It is common practice for insurance companies to try to pressure injury victims into a settlement as soon as possible. Speaking with a lawyer can give you a better sense of what your claim might be worth. Do not sign any settlement offer from the insurance company until you have fully evaluated your claim and are certain that it is the best decision for you. Once you sign a settlement agreement with the insurance company, you will not be able to file a lawsuit for your claim. You should make sure that you understand the full extent of your injuries before agreeing to any settlement because your expenses could add up down the line.
6. Do Your Homework
Make sure that you choose an experienced law firm to represent you in a personal injury suit. In addition to asking your lawyer questions about your case, you should try to find out how often the attorney practices in the court where you will be filing suit. You should also make sure that the law firm has a good reputation from past clients.