Many things could go wrong in the early stages of your preparation, and the slightest misstep can lead you to lose your claim.
If you have been involved in a situation where you were harmed, whether physically, emotionally, or mentally, you may be eligible for a personal injury lawsuit. However, you first need to consider a lot of things, and it is best not to act rashly because you may unknowingly compromise some factors related to the incident, which can affect your claim in the future.
Before anything else, you need to prepare yourself for the physical and mental stress that comes with pursuing a personal injury claim. “Not only do victims have to worry about recovering medically, but they also have to ensure their rights are upheld and that they receive the compensation they are entitled to that can help with hardship and suffering,” shares John Sheehan, a Los Angeles personal injury attorney.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim
Personal injury refers to physical or psychological harm that an individual suffers due to another party’s negligent or intentional actions. It has a very broad scope, which includes injuries from vehicular accidents, defective products, dog bites, defamation, and more.
When a person suffers injuries due to someone else’s negligence or carelessness, a lawsuit can be filed by the party that suffered losses. The injured person is called the plaintiff, and he can ask for compensation from the person who caused the damages, referred to as the defendant.
These damages will be assessed for an appropriate monetary value with the help of his lawyers, considering factors such as medical bills incurred during recovery or the loss of income due to the plaintiff’s inability to work in relation to the injury. The plaintiff then has to file a civil lawsuit in court with the help of his legal team before the expiry of the statute of limitations, which varies depending on the state.
Getting Ready for a Personal Injury Claim
Once you have decided to go through with your case, start with the basic steps like getting proper medical treatment and gathering evidence. Keep in mind that not taking your proper treatment can be used against you by the defendant’s lawyer during legal proceedings.
When gathering evidence, take relevant photos and videos to record the incident, then check for possible witnesses and get their contact information for future reference. In some cases, you may also need to get a police report to support your claim.
Aside from these, here are some more tips to take note of when you prepare to file a personal injury lawsuit:
- Work with an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
Many things could go wrong in the early stages of your preparation, and the slightest misstep can lead you to lose your claim. An experienced lawyer will help you avoid the pitfalls and will be able to guide you properly during the process.
Talk to your lawyer and share all the evidence that you already have in your possession. Tell him your intentions and what you expect from this lawsuit so he can give you expert advice, such as missing evidence and how you can gather them.
- Do Not Post on Social Media
Be careful about your actions before and during a personal injury case. A simple activity like posting updates about the case or talking about your injury on social media can compromise your claim. The defendant’s lawyer can use this information to oppose or contradict your claim.
- Manage Your Expectations
Aside from preparing yourself for the physical and mental stress of going through the case, you must also set yourself in the right mindset. Think carefully about your expectations from this lawsuit because a lengthy trial can be detrimental to you, your work, and your financial and mental health. Consider your family as well because they will face this legal battle with you.
- Agree with Your Lawyer About Compensation
When you file a personal injury lawsuit, you should know what results you expect to get from it. Be clear about what you want, whether it’s punitive damages, financial support, or get compensation for monetary damages.
It would be best to calculate all the past and future earnings, any long-term disability, mental pain, and any other damages you have incurred, then discuss these with your lawyer. Most of the time, settlement is the best option in a personal injury lawsuit, and your objective will affect your decision when the time comes.
- Prepare Yourself for Court
There’s always a chance that the case will lead to court proceedings, and you should be prepared to face the defendant, jury, and judge. You need to keep open communication with your lawyer and tell him if you have any concerns so he can help you get ready for the trial.
While this may sound superficial, impressions do matter, so take note of your behavior and physical appearance when presenting yourself to the court. Simple things like putting on a nice suit, keeping calm, showing your best behavior, and not losing your temper can tip the scales in your favor.