Personal injuries are highly stressful events that strain people physically, emotionally, and psychologically. Particularly when a person is injured due to neglect or a preventable accident, the injured party deserves justice. In most cases, however, it can be difficult to obtain just compensation for injuries. This is primarily due to insurance companies wishing to deny claims and defendants doing anything in their power to minimize the plaintiff’s injury or make the plaintiff seem more responsible for it. Personal injury cases can be difficult to undertake on one’s own, and they will often require the help of an expert like a Santa Barbara personal injury lawyer. But if you’re curious about the settlement or proceedings, here are a few points to help you navigate your case.
Challenges of calculating an estimate
Lawyers don’t work for free, and the possibility of a court case can be an intimidating one for an injured party. The vast majority of these cases are settled out of court, but it’s still understandable that a plaintiff will be curious about an estimate. Considering how frequent personal injury cases are, one might be forgiven for thinking that calculating an estimate would be a simple process. Unfortunately, this notion is not true at all.
While it is true that personal injury cases are quite common, the challenge in calculating an estimate arises from the level of diversity amongst cases, and the unique considerations that go into each one. The general rule is that the settlement in each case should be proportionate to the intensity of the injuries and damages suffered. Typically, this means the plaintiff should have all medical costs covered, as well as being reimbursed for any income that wasn’t earned due to damages sustained. Additionally, plaintiffs should be compensated for their pain and suffering, but this is something that is very hard to put a monetary amount on. But generally speaking, payout is frequently higher for more severe or permanent injuries.
The truth is that there really isn’t any such thing as an “average” settlement for an injury. Depending on the nature of the injury and a variety of other factors, a successful settlement can range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands. There are some things that can be done, however, to ensure your settlement is as successful as possible.
Establish evidence immediately
The more evidence you can establish for your claim from the beginning, the better. This process should be started before even contacting an attorney. First, get immediate medical attention for all injuries sustained. This will establish a medical record detailing the true severity of all injuries. Getting checked by a doctor is also a good idea in case you suffer any late appearing injuries. Failure to get treatment immediately can give the defendant the opportunity to claim that your injuries must not have been that severe or that you suffered them from something other than the accident.
You’ll also want to gather any visual evidence you can. This will include photographic evidence of your injuries as well as any relevant property damage (in the case of something like a car accident). You may also want to record the scene of the accident. If the accident was in a public location, it’s a good idea to see if there is any surveillance footage of the event. All of this evidence can help your attorney in the beginning and ensure the success of your case.
Keep diligent communication
You’ll want to act as quickly as you can to start your case, so as to avoid the statute of limitations. For example, California’s statute of limitations is two years after the injury was sustained. Once you’ve started working with your attorney, make sure to keep him and your doctors up to date on everything that’s going on with the state of your injury or anything else related to your case. Refer anyone who wants to speak about the case to your attorney. Avoid posting anything relevant to your injury or the case online, and refrain from speaking about it to anyone other than your doctor and attorney. Report any instance where you believe someone was showing a suspicious interest in events.
There’s technically no way to guarantee a successful settlement, but following these guidelines will help increase your odds as much as possible.