Personal injury claims are filed by people who have been injured or harmed by the negligence of another person. The injury refers to the injury that the mind, body or emotions of the plaintiff have suffered. In the U.S. a majority of civil litigation fall under the personal injury category which is covered under tort law. Common cases filed under personal injury include medical malpractice, traffic accidents, dog bites, construction accidents, and defective products. Unfortunately, not all plaintiffs win the personal injury claims that they file in court. Some plaintiffs are awarded claim settlements that do not commensurate with the injury suffered. Here we discuss what a plaintiff can do to increase the personal injury claim settlement that he or she is awarded.
A report by the U.S. Department of Justice found out the following:
- 61% of the plaintiffs who had filed personal injury claims for injuries suffered in motor accidents were successful.
- 19% of the plaintiffs who had filed personal injury claims for injuries suffered in medical negligence were successful.
- 38% of the plaintiffs who had filed personal injury claims for injuries suffered due to defective products were successful
- 50% of the plaintiffs who had filed personal injury claims for injuries suffered due to intentional tort were successful.
Additionally, the report also looked at a number of damages that were paid to the plaintiffs in the cases above:
- 50% of the plaintiffs received damages not exceeding $24,000
- Medical malpractice lawsuits were the highest paid with damages averaging around $680,000
- Motor vehicle lawsuits attracted the least damages of around $16,000
From the statistics above, you can clearly see just how tough it is for personal injury cases to win in court and even after winning, you can also see how difficult it is to get a decent settlement. If you are planning to file a personal injury claim, you need not to despair, your case can join the rank of those that have been litigated successfully and got the highest possible settlement. Now let us look at ways by which you can increase your personal injury claim.
1. Hire an Experienced Attorney
If you or your loved one has been engaged in an accident that falls under the category of personal injury, the first step should be to find and hire an experienced personal injury attorney in your state. Don’t be rash to deal with a defendant or his or her insurance company. You need to remember that the insurance company is not your friend and in this case, the insurer can undercut you without giving it a second thought.
Hiring a sufficiently qualified personal injury lawyer is beneficial because this professional has the skills, experience, and expertise needed to deal with the defendant and the insurance company thereby ensuring that you get the settlement that you deserve. Additionally, if the case moves to court, your personal injury lawyer will represent you thereby increases your chances of success.
2. Conduct a Thorough Investigation of the Accident
Your personal injury attorney can help you to investigate the accident with the aim of finding out who was negligent or at fault. It is advisable that the investigations be done as soon as the accident has occurred to ensure that the accident scene is not compromised or evidence wiped away. The investigation can focus on finding out the cause of the accident, the location of the accident, the people who were involved in the accident among other important things.
3. Gather Evidence and Find Witnesses
You need to gather as much evidence as you can. Your attorney will advise you on the type of evidence that is admissible in court. Look for photos, videos or any other documentation that can be used to show who was at fault. You should also obtain the contact information of anyone who witnessed the accident. They can help build a credible case.
4. Go for a Full Medical Checkup
You need to see a doctor for a full medical check-up. The medic will help you heal and also produce a documentation of your injuries which can then be used to negotiate for a settlement amount that you deserve.
Although 50% of personal injury claims are successful, most of these are not awarded the best settlements. You can increase your chances of getting the settlement you deserve by following the four action points presented above.