The moment you’re injured in a car accident, you’re probably not thinking about what your next steps will be. You may assume that your insurance company will cover the damages to your car and your medical bills, but this isn’t always the case. In fact, insurance companies often try to avoid paying for damages and personal injuries after a car accident occurs. Negotiating with the insurance company yourself can be a hassle, especially if they refuse to offer you a fair settlement. With the help of an experienced personal injury attorney, you won’t have to deal with the insurance companies or filing a lawsuit alone.
A personal injury lawyer’s job is to earn you the best possible settlement. However, there are a few things you can do to strengthen your chances of getting a better settlement. Here’s a quick list of things to remember in the event that you’re involved in an accident and need to receive compensation.
Take Action Immediately
The biggest mistake that many people make following a car accident in which they deserve compensation is waiting too long to act. Tennessee has a 1-year statute of limitations, meaning that you have only one year following the accident to file your lawsuit. However, this shouldn’t lead you to wait, because important documents that can help your case can get lost over time, and it’s best to present fresh evidence to the court. We recommend contacting your personal injury lawyer immediately, either at the accident scene or the hospital.
Seek Medical Attention Until You Are Fully Healed
Without medical documentation of your injuries, there is no proof that you deserve personal injury compensation. This is why it’s essential that you seek medical attention following an accident in which you are injured. This doesn’t only mean a trip to the hospital, but also involves following the steps recommended by the hospital following the injury, such as visiting your primary care physician and seeking treatment until you are fully healed. Making sure that you receive proper care will ensure that you get compensation for everything you needed, whereas foregoing medical treatment can leave you with lasting injuries that won’t be compensated.
Keep Track of Documents
Immediately start keeping track of all paperwork related to the accident and your medical records in a folder following an accident. Keep paperwork from every doctor’s visit, including receipts for co-pays and treatment. You should also keep track of any loss of wages (old pay stubs vs. new) and any other expenses or hardships you face following a car accident. This information will be critical to the value of your settlement and should be presented to your personal injury attorney.
Journal Your Pain & Suffering
Pain and Suffering damages are defined as the physical, mental and emotional discomfort you experience as a result of an accident. To help establish the pain and suffering amount accurately, you should carefully document your pain in a log or diary, including when it affected you, for how long, and how intense or severe the pain was. You should note how your life has been changed, or limited, due to the pain and after-effects of your car accident. If necessary, you should consider seeing a psychotherapist to assess psychological effects as well. Collect statements from friends or family that back up your level of suffering. Doing all of this can increase the value of your compensation significantly.
Take Photos of the Car Accident and Document Your Experience
In addition to paperwork, taking photos can help your case as well. You should use your phone (or ask someone else) to take photos of the car accident scene immediately. This includes photos of the accident scene at different angles, photos of the damage to vehicles, photos of damaged clothing or items in your vehicle, and photos of debris around the accident if applicable. With the help of a personal injury attorney, you may be able to access footage from traffic cameras as well. Once the accident has cleared and your are seeking treatment, be sure to take photos of your injuries as well, such as lacerations or broken bones. Photos can be a very influential factor of your evidence and can help you get the most out of your settlement.
Tell the Truth
Seeking compensation for injuries you did not sustain is unlawful and unfair. Be honest with your personal injury attorney about all factors of your case, including the cause of the accident. Intentionally leaving out details or being untruthful about your case can be considered fraud and dismiss your case entirely. Your goal should be to receive fair compensation for the injuries and trouble you’ve faced, and being honest is the most efficient way of easily getting this compensation.
Hire an Experienced Car Accident Attorney
Do your research on local car accident injury attorneys and be sure to choose one that’s trusted in your community and has good reviews from real clients. Your car accident injury will be your guide to navigating the insurance companies, filing the lawsuit if needed, and getting you the compensation you deserve. Choosing the right attorney from the start will eliminate most of the headache involved and get you on the right track immediately.
G. Turner Howard III is one of the most experienced personal injury lawyers in Knoxville, TN. He has earned an outstanding reputation through positive results and relationships with satisfied clients. That reputation is rewarded with the most Five-Star reviews by clients of any personal injury lawyer in the region. After spending his secondary years of study at The McCallie School in Chattanooga, G Turner Howard III earned his BA at Tulane University. A member of the Tennessee Trial Lawyers Association, he received his law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law. He also served as a 1st Lieutenant in the US Army in Vietnam.