Top 19 Tips to Increase Your Personal Injury Claim Settlement
Were you are injured in a car accident or other personal injury, you want to know how to maximize your compensation. Check out this short blog for my top 19 tips to increase your personal injury claim settlement.
First, your interests are at odds with the insurance company. The insurance company wants to pay you as little as they can for your injuries. They’re a for profit business and reducing how much they pay out (on every single claim) is one way they maximize their profits. Meanwhile, you want to recover as much as you can for your injuries.
So how can you increase the amount of your recovery?
Hire a personal injury attorney
I’ve talked about it many times on this website but if you suffered injuries you’ll get more if you’re represented by someone who knows the system. How many times have you ever had to deal with an insurance company?
That’s enough personal promotion – now for the rest of the list.
Do Not Settle Quickly
The insurance company is going to try and get you to settle quickly. Don’t do it. Do not accept that first offer. Often after an accident people are desperate and need quick money. If you accept that first offer you’re leaving a lot of money on the table.
File a Claim ASAP With Both Insurance Companies
Yes, file a claim with your insurance company too. The guy who hit you may have no insurance or if he has insurance he may not have enough to cover your damages. And you may have coverage that will compensate you. This might include uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage or medpay (medical payments) coverage.
Get Medical treatment Right Away
Do not delay. I don’t care if you go to your primary care physician or the emergency room, the insurance company will use delays against you.
Do Not Stop Your Doctor Visits
Do not stop going to the doctor until you are discharged from care and do not have a ‘gap in treatment’ – insurance companies will use these things against you later on to diminish your recovery.
Report All Medical Injuries
If you feel any pain anywhere, report it to anyone who treats you. If you don’t tell the ER doctor or your treating physician that you’re having right leg pain – and its not documented in the records – it doesn’t exist. Always tell your providers about all pain you’re suffering from
Get Ready to be Low-Balled
Be prepared for insurance companies to try and diminish your claim by arguing that your injuries are pre-existing. They know about every claim you’ve ever filed and they’re going to get your medical records. It is next to impossible to hide something from a good insurance adjuster.
Argue Pre-Existing Injuries Were Aggravated
You can overcome the pre-existing injury argument by arguing that your pre-existing injuries were aggravated or exacerbated by the accident. But trust me, it’s much better to have an attorney figure that out for you than you trying to argue that yourself. So again, get an attorney if you have injuries.
Keep All Evidence
Keep everything: receipts, bottles of medicine, shoes you were wearing if you were injured in a slip and fall, the clothes you were wearing at the time of the accident, personal property like your phone if that was damaged – if there is no documentation there is no claim.
Stay Off Social Media
Be careful what you post on social media and what you do – they’re watching. The insurance adjuster will look you up on social media for sure. They might even hire an investigator to tail you or interview your friends and colleagues. Bottom line, don’t talk to anyone about your case but your lawyer.
Focus on the Future
Focus on future damages and permanency. If you are going to require medical treatment for the next 10 years, you can recover for that. If you’re going to lose wages in the future – get compensated for it. And for sure if you have suffered a permanent injury, like you’re going to walk with a limp the rest of your life, that is hugely compensable.
Exhaust all the Benefits Available to You
You remember earlier I said file a claim with your own insurance? Well, you may be able to go after your own auto insurance for uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. You may have other coverage that could help you too like medpay or medical payment coverage that will cover your co-pay’s or will cover the first 5 or 10k of your medical bills. Do not hesitate in using your own auto insurance.
Take Photographs of everything
You’ve got a cell phone. Take photographs of the accident scene, your injuries, and all property damage. I’ve had cases where photos were the single most important factor in my client increasing their settlement.
Remember Severity of Impact
Regarding taking photos of the property damage, something you might not have thought about is the concept of Severity of impact. Insurance companies are pretty skeptical that accident victims suffered serious injuries in accidents with little property damage. Though we know that’s totally not true. If you have photos of your property damage you can show how severe the impact was and that can only help your case.
Create a Journal
Document what you’re going through. Your case could take a year or two years before you get compensated. You’re going to forget the severe pain you were in or how you laid in bed night after night unable to sleep because you were in pain. If you document it in a journal it will help you remember everything you went to when you have to tell your story. Be aware of what you say though as it could be entered as evidence.
Do not trust the insurance company. Don’t just leave voicemails. Make sure everything is in writing. So if you do leave a voicemail, follow up with an email or fax to confirm what you agreed to and/or what the adjuster told you.
Personal injury claims are a long process. Let your attorney build your case from the bottom up and you will maximize your compensation. If you try to rush things, you’re almost guaranteed to get less than you deserve.
Know Your Statute of Limitations
Research the timelines involved in your case and do not delay. In Illinois we have 2 years to file a lawsuit for a personal injury from the date of the accident. Do not blow the statute of limitations.
If you’re injured by a governmental entity your time period may be much shorter. If the victim is a child, the time limit may be much longer. So, it’s critical to stay on top of how much time you have to pursue your claim.
File a Lawsuit
Insurance companies are not bound by law to offer great settlements. If you’re not happy and your attorney thinks you can get more money, file a lawsuit. Yes it will take a long time but it might be worth it in the end.
If you want help increasing the amount of your personal injury settlement, contact the Chicago Legal Group at 1-847-305-4105.
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