In most states, you will have a right to pursue compensation after suffering an injury due to another person’s fault. Unfortunately, most people make many errors from the time of the accident to getting compensation, often resulting in a less than ideal compensation.
The Need to Fight for Your Rights
When it comes to personal injury compensation, anything that does not cover all economic and non-economic damages is unfair. Under normal circumstances, the at-fault party or their insurer will not be willing to offer fair compensation. It will take some fighting to get it. But even then, the holes and gaps in your case can work against you.
To better your chance at a fair outcome, you will need to involve a lawyer in your case as soon as possible. “A lawyer will do more than help you fight for your rights. They will also help you avoid the pitfalls that could hurt your case,” says injury attorney Felix Gonzalez. Common pitfalls include failing to gather the necessary evidence and creating gaps in your medical treatment.
Medical Records Are Important
Several items are critical in ensuring that you recover fair compensation. The first and most important is your medical records. Your first interaction with a medical practitioner could be after the emergency responders arrive at the accident scene. Getting medical help right from the scene is vital because it helps create a clear paper trail of your injuries and connect them to the accident.
If you do not get medical help at the scene, ensure that you visit the ER on the day of the accident or the following day, even if you may not feel hurt. The medical records and bills play a critical role in determining damages, so you must keep them safe or have your lawyer keep them.
Accidents can happen in an area without witnesses. Under such circumstances, your lawyer will have to work with the evidence at hand, which may not always be easy. But if there were other people at the scene, having them give testimony of the events can make your lawyer’s work so much easier. So you may need to collect witness statements and contacts at the accident scene.
Besides getting witness testimonies, you could take pictures and video footage of the scene while paying attention to every detail that could be relevant to your case. For example, a building, signboards, or anything that ties your injuries to a specific location.
Your lawyer has to prove that the other party was negligent for you to recover damages. The defendant will be negligent if the following elements of negligence exist:
- Duty. The defendant must have had a duty to protect the claimant. For example, if they were, a store owner and the claimant had legally entered their establishment.
- Breach of duty. Breach of duty occurs if the defendant fails to uphold their duty of keeping the defendant safe.
- Causation. The breach of duty must have resulted in an accident. For example, grocery store employees fail to clear a spill in time, resulting in an accident.
- Damages. The accident must have resulted in damages, for example, hospital bills, pain, suffering, etc.
The timelines for filing your injury claim also matter. Different states have varying timings for their statute of limitations, so you may want to check with a lawyer to ensure you file your lawsuit within the allowed time limit.