Slick legal ads may make it seem as if getting compensation for a personal injury is as easy as calling a phone number, sitting back, and relaxing. Unfortunately, proceedings can turn out to be a lot more stressful than they initially appear, especially if you also have medical bills mounting up at the same time.
But, don’t panic – simply getting a handle on what the process involves will help relieve a lot of the worry. Here are some of the top things you should know when deciding whether to make a claim for a personal injury.
Know your Defendant
Understanding who you’ll be up against is one of the most crucial steps in deciding whether or not to make a personal injury claim. This is because it has one of the biggest effects on the likelihood of your case being successful. Claims against other individuals can be easily settled by a simple phone call to your insurance provider. This can be a risky strategy though, as it could lead to your compensation being heavily reduced.
Meanwhile, taking on a big corporation may be a lot more complicated – but even they can take remarkably varied approaches to dealing with plaintiffs. Many are insured to be able to settle a certain amount of personal accident lawsuits, and will not even contest them if you have enough evidence to support your case. Others may aggressively fight any personal injury claim made against them.
Walmart, for example, is notorious for bitterly contesting personal injury lawsuits. And, with $524 billion in yearly revenue, this can make successfully suing them a daunting task without the right lawyers. Understanding who your claim is against should then be one of the first things you do when evaluating whether you should pursue a claim.
Be Aware of Time Restraints
The statute of limitations is another important part of the legal system that you should be aware of. In California, you only have a 2-year timeframe from the accident (or 1 year from the discovery of an injury the accident caused). However, this can greatly differ between states. Defendants can also manipulate this to their advantage, if court proceedings are still ongoing close to the expiration of the statute of limitations.
More generally, if you let too much time pass, it can become harder to gather concrete evidence for your case. Because of these things, it is important you move quickly if you are thinking of making a claim.
Understand what Evidence you Have
Finally, perhaps the most important factor affecting the success of your claim is what evidence you can provide to support your case. If you can prove that you sought medical attention directly after the accident, have pictures of the location where the accident took place, or can provide witness testimony, you will make your case much more watertight. What’s more, collecting this evidence will also prove to any lawyers you speak with that you are taking the process seriously.
Pursuing a legal claim for an accident may seem like a herculean undertaking at times. But, as most personal injury lawyers in California only take fees if they successfully win cases, you should explore all possibilities for compensation available to you.