Nothing is worse than being hurt in a car accident. In addition to coping with your own recovery, you might also be struggling to pay your bills and manage your day-to-day life. Fortunately, filing a personal injury lawsuit can help you to recover financially. Here are two tips that might improve the outcome of your personal injury case:
1: Track Your Expenses
When it comes to a personal injury settlement, most of the damages are classified as compensatory, which means that the funds are meant to compensate for any financial losses caused by the accident. Unfortunately, if you don't keep track of your expenses, it might be hard for your lawyer to fight for reimbursement. Here are a few expenses that some people forget to calculate, and how you can tally up your costs:
- Missed Work: After you burned through your vacation and sick days, how much did that time away from work cost you? Keep track of pay stubs you receive during your recovery, so that you can show how much those extra days off affected your income.
- Childcare Expenses: If you have to hire a babysitter to watch your little ones while you rest and recover, pay with a check instead of cash so that you can account for the expense.
- Insurance Co-Pays: Although it might be hard to ignore those big medical bills, sometimes people forget to tally up co-pays for emergency room or doctor's visits. If you are missing receipts from co-pays that you have previously paid, look up the charges on your bank statement and highlight them for your attorney.
- Lost Benefits: Sometimes, missed work can cost you more than the money earned from an extra shift. If time away from work affects your full time status, you might lose insurance or retirement benefits. To calculate this expense, use your old pay stubs to show what you were paying in premiums before, and compare them to the cost of independent plans.
As a general rule of thumb, lawyers and adjusters will add up your damages and then multiply that number by 1 ½ to 3 if your injuries are minor, and up to 5 if your injuries are severe or long lasting. For example, if you had $5,500 worth of damages and you don't have any permanent injuries, your settlement would probably be between $8,250 and $16,500. To make it easier for your lawyer to calculate your damages, keep all of your expense documentation in one place.
2: Let Your Lawyer Do The Talking
You might be more than willing to answer questions, take phone calls, and comment on your accident. However, if you want to keep things simple, try to let your lawyer do the talking. In addition to taking difficult questions in stride, your attorney can watch out for prying questions that could jeopardize your case. Here are a few people you should always refer to your attorney:
- Insurance Adjusters: Although it might seem like those insurance adjusters are just checking on you, they might be trying to determine whether or not you are actually hurt. If you tell that adjuster that you "feel great" or that you are "doing fine," it might be detrimental to your case later.
- News Reporters: If you were involved in a high profile accident, news reporters might contact you for a public statement. Try to resist the temptation to tell your side of the story. You never know what conclusions other people might draw, and public opinion could sway the court.
To avoid problems, refer anyone asking about your accident to your attorney. It might seem impersonal, but it could preserve the facts of the case.
By doing your part to improve the outcome of your personal injury case, you might be able to enjoy a more relaxing recovery. For more information, work with an experienced personal injury lawyer.