If you're considering the potential for filing a personal injury suit, you need to be sure that you're fully prepared for the process. Since it isn't a common occurrence, many injury victims are unfamiliar with how to handle it. Before you make a mistake that could cost you significantly, you should familiarize yourself with a few tips that will help you to get the restitution that you deserve from your injury.
Make Sure That You Keep Copies Of Everything
Whether you're working with an attorney or doing this on your own, it's important that you have copies of all of the information. Ask for receipts for every payment that you have to make, discharge papers for every doctor and hospital visit, and records for anything else related to the injury. Make sure everything clearly has a date on it, and provide copies of these things to the insurance company, your attorney, and anyone else who needs them. Always copy them for this so that you keep all of the originals on hand.
You'll need to have all of these as a means to support your claim, and if you don't store copies of your own, you risk something being lost or misplaced. They are the only proof you have of your expenses and the associated issues with your claim, so don't risk them. If you have the time, it may even be ideal to separate them by the type of document, creating folders for your doctor's visits, your auto repairs, your lost income, and any other costs. That way, it's easier to find what you're looking for when you need it.
Don't Accept Or Dismiss The Adjuster's Offer Without A Thorough Explanation
It's standard practice to start with an offer lower than what you are really eligible for when you're working with a claims adjuster. Remember that the insurance company is looking to spend as little as possible, so that's a common approach. In addition, sometimes the low offer is suggested as a means to see if you understand the potential value that you have in the case.
While most personal injury attorneys will tell you that you should never accept the initial offer, before you accept or decline the offer, ask the adjuster to explain to you how they arrived at that number. By getting that breakdown of information, it gives you the opportunity to evaluate the offer objectively and on a point-by-point basis, which makes it easier for you to counter the offer more effectively.
Don't Forget About Indirect Costs
One of the most common mistakes that many accident victims will make is overlooking some of the associated expenses when providing details of the claim. While you've probably already addressed the direct medical costs, the loss of income from missed work, and other obvious expenses, you may have overlooked little things like the gas required to get to your doctor's appointments and therapy. Track your mileage and your fuel costs as well as any other indirect expenses that you wouldn't have incurred were it not for the accident or injury.
Don't Take A Backseat In The Process
Remember that you are your own advocate in this situation, so it's important that you're proactive about following up on your claim. Don't let the insurance company or the adjuster dismiss you. If you're having a hard time getting calls back or you're struggling with the process, recognize when it's in your best interest to retain an attorney to help you. He or she will play an active role in getting your case resolved and getting you the money that you are entitled to.
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