Jason Stephens | November 28, 2023 | Personal Injury
Thousands of people are injured in car accidents, slips and falls, and workplace accidents each year. Defective products, medical malpractice, and nursing home abuse also cause thousands of injuries annually. Injured victims often file personal injury claims seeking recovery for their damages.
If another party causes you harm, you could secure compensation for your losses and injuries. The amount you receive in a personal injury case depends on many factors. However, you can help maximize your compensation with the following tips:
1. Preserve Evidence
Texas is an at-fault state. You must typically prove negligence or intentional torts to hold the other party liable for your damages. Therefore, you need evidence proving causation, fault, and damages.
Ways to preserve evidence for your case include:
- Take photographs and make a video of the accident scene
- Ask people who witnessed the accident for their names and contact information
- Keep copies of all invoices, bills, receipts, and other evidence of economic damages
- Take photographs of your injuries
- If a defective product caused your injury, preserve the product, packaging, and instructional manual
If you hire a Fort Worth personal injury lawyer, they’ll gather evidence to prove your claim. However, you can use the above tips to preserve evidence for your attorney to use to build your case.
2. Seek Prompt Medical Care
You must link the cause of your injuries to the other party’s conduct. Therefore, you need accurate medical records proving you were injured. Furthermore, medical records demonstrate the extent of your injuries, which impacts the value of your claim.
Delays in medical care could hurt your case. Always seek prompt medical treatment after an accident or personal injury.
3. Document Your Damages
Damages in a personal injury case include economic damages and non-economic damages.
Your economic damages include:
- Medical bills and expenses
- Property damage
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Lost wages
- Personal and/or nursing care
- Household services
Keep a log of all expenses related to the accident and injury. Also, keep the bills, statements, receipts, and invoices that prove you incurred the cost.
Non-economic damages are the pain and suffering caused by injuries and accidents. Examples include:
- Physical pain
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Emotional distress
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Impairments and disabilities
These damages are intangible, so you do not have physical evidence to prove them. Your medical records establish the severity of your injuries. However, how your injuries impact your life is what you need to prove.
Keeping a pain and suffering diary helps document non-economic damages. Write down your daily pain levels, activities you cannot perform because of your injuries, and your emotional state. Be detailed to help “show” the negative impact of your injuries.
4. Build Your Case
Your personal injury case will include:
- Evidence proving liability
- Documentation of damages
- Analysis of the legal basis for your claim
- Valuation of damages
If the other party or their insurance company denies liability, you may need to file a personal injury lawsuit. You will need an experienced Fort Worth personal injury attorney to handle the lawsuit.
5. Value Your Damages Correctly
Placing a value on pain and suffering is challenging. However, the courts must do so to award damages. A rule of thumb used to calculate the value of non-economic damages is the multiplier method.
A number between 1.5 and five is multiplied by your economic damages. The result is the value of your non-economic damages.
The higher the multiplier, the greater the value of your non-economic damages. The insurance company for the at-fault party will likely try to keep the multiplier on the low end of the scale.
The value of your economic damages is the total of the bills and expenses. To maximize the value of your damages, keep detailed records.
6. Include Future Damages
Future damages apply when someone sustains a permanent or long-term impairment or disability.
You may require ongoing medical treatment and care. Depending on the severity of the impairment, you may need long-term nursing/personal care. Future damages also include loss of income and a decrease in earning capacity.
You can also receive compensation for a decrease in your quality of life due to a permanent impairment. For example, the injury may prevent you from enjoying specific activities or participating in various events.
Generally, experts are retained to calculate the value of future damages. These experts may include medical specialists, vocational rehabilitation experts, economists, financial professionals, and life care planning experts.
If you sustain a permanent impairment, the best way to maximize your compensation in a personal injury case is to hire an attorney. A personal injury lawyer has the resources to hire expert witnesses and understands how to value these damages correctly.
7. Don’t Settle Before You Finish Medical Treatment
If you accept an offer before you reach maximum medical improvement, the settlement amount could be much lower than the value of your personal injury claim. You cannot calculate damages accurately until you know whether you sustained an impairment. Don’t let an insurance adjuster pressure you into accepting a settlement offer too quickly.
8. Don’t Be Too Eager to Settle Your Case
Adjusters understand that accident victims may need a settlement to catch up on bills and pay expenses incurred while recovering from an injury. Therefore, they make a quick settlement offer to entice the victim to settle their claim.
Once you settle a claim, you cannot demand more money even if you discover additional injuries or damages. The settlement agreement you sign releases all parties from further liability for the claim.
The initial settlement offer from the insurance company is often lower than the value of your damages. You are not required to accept the first offer. You can negotiate for a higher amount.
9. Avoid Social Media
Insurance companies often search online for information they can use to deny or undervalue your claim. It is best to avoid using social media while you have a personal injury case pending. Something you post could be used to allege you are not as injured as you claim.
10. Talk With a Fort Worth Personal Injury Lawyer
An attorney can help you maximize compensation in your personal injury case by:
- Gathering evidence to build a solid case proving the elements of negligence, strict liability, or intentional torts, depending on the type of claim
- Documenting damages and calculating the maximum value for your case
- Working with expert witnesses, as necessary
- Fighting claims of comparative fault that could reduce the value of your claim
- Protecting you against bad faith insurance practices
Most personal injury lawyers offer free consultations. Therefore, you have nothing to lose by meeting with an attorney to discuss your case.
Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm in Fort Worth, TX
If you’ve been injured in an accident in Fort Worth and need legal help, contact our Fort Worth personal injury lawyers at Stephens Law Personal Injury | Wrongful Death | Truck Accidents to schedule a free consultation.
Stephens Law Personal Injury | Wrongful Death | Truck Accidents
1300 S University Dr # 300
Fort Worth, TX 76107