Personal injury cases occur when one person suffers from an accident or injury that someone else could be held legally responsible for. Personal injury cases require civil court proceedings, which must show that the defendant is legally at fault for a plaintiff to be financially compensated. If a court judgment fails to prove that the defendant is legally at fault, the plaintiff also has the opportunity to recover through an informal settlement. If you believe you’re the victim of another person’s negligence, you’ll want to obtain as much compensation as possible. With that in mind, here are some tips to help you get the maximum recovery.
Find an experienced lawyer
Immediately after your injury, you will probably be asked to sign a settlement by the other party’s insurance company. Avoid signing any settlement agreements before talking to a lawyer, especially if you want to receive a higher compensation.
Begin searching for a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Start by asking friends and family for recommendations. If they can’t offer you any connections, try searching for personal injury attorneys in your area with phrases such as “Riverside personal injury lawyer.” A Google search will generate a multitude of results, so the next step is to narrow down your options.
Read reviews and testimonials on potential attorneys’ websites, and make sure to focus on cases similar to yours. If you’re the injured party, it’s important to find a lawyer who has previous experience representing (and winning cases for) plaintiffs. Next, meet with potential attorneys to discuss the details of your case. Ultimately, you should choose an attorney you feel comfortable talking with and whom you feel will keep your best interests in mind.
Be prepared to settle
Personal injury law — and compensation for negligence cases — is largely based on previous court decisions within your jurisdiction. Your attorney should inform you of holdings in cases similar to yours, because your result will probably be similar. Most personal injury cases end in settlements, so make sure you’re prepared for all potential outcomes.
You should decide whether you’re looking to pursue a more time-consuming case to receive a potentially higher compensation, or whether you’re looking to save time and legal fees by settling. This decision depends on the circumstances of your case, because some cases involve defendants that are clearly liable, while other cases lack clear evidence.
Choosing not to settle can lead to a case that lasts for years. If the holding is in your favor, the defendant then has the option to appeal the decision. Because pursuing longer cases can be risky, discuss available options with your lawyer and see what route they recommend.
Discuss with your attorney what kind of damages you’re hoping to recover. The two basic categories of damages awarded in personal injury cases are punitive and compensatory. Punitive damages punish the wrongdoers and deter them from further misconduct. Compensatory damages compensate the injured party for harm suffered. To properly evaluate what kind of compensatory damages you’re entitled to, bring all relevant paperwork to meetings with your attorney. Examples include loss of earnings from the time you were unable to work, medical bills, and costs of future medical care.
Enlisting the legal help of a reliable and experienced personal injury lawyer exponentially increases your chances of prevailing on a negligence claim. Negligence cases can be time-consuming and costly, so prepare for all potential outcomes, especially if you’re determined to receive the highest possible compensation.