When someone is injured, the law normally prefers that the person at fault for that injury bear the financial losses associated with that injury. Injured individuals may consider suing a negligent party in certain circumstances.
Personal injury cases are serious matters involving insurance companies, investigators, and complicated damage calculations that can run into the millions of dollars. A car accident lawyer in Charleston advises that in order to avoid compromising a case and reducing one’s chances of recovering money, prospective plaintiffs should take certain actions prior to filing suit.
- DO seek medical attention if injured. Latent injuries are always possible. Concluding that apparently minor injuries are minor can lead to untreated issues that prove to be serious over time, such as back problems and nerve damage. Getting the opinion of a competent medical professional can help one begin a treatment regimen suitable for his or her needs and determine the exact level of damage that the injured party has suffered.
- DO keep records. Medical bills, physician statements, and mental health bills can be useful later.
- DO seek counsel. Many attorneys will offer potential clients a free consultation. Attorneys can then assess the individual client’s situation and determine whether pursuing a lawsuit against a defendant will be profitable.
- DO listen to the attorney. Clients will often pay attorneys good money for good advice and ignore it. This can be as innocent as answering a few questions from an insurance company’s investigator to as malicious as assaulting the other party. Such actions can have severe consequences for the client.
Ideally, one would avoid being injured in the first place. Since that isn’t possible, there are also some things to avoid after an injury has occurred.
- DON’T create circumstances in which you can get injured. Brake-checking that tailgater may feel good emotionally, but getting rammed into the hedges will be physically unpleasant. Personal injury lawsuits are aimed at making an individual whole and putting an individual back in the spot in which he or she was prior to the accident. By acting responsibly, one minimizes their potential for injury, reduces their injuries when an incident occurs, and looks better to the jury. Irresponsible plaintiffs are unsympathetic.
- DON’T immediately offer to accept an insurance company’s settlement. It takes little time to accept a free consultation from an attorney and discuss the situation and settlement with him or her. If the insurance company is lowballing the injured party, the attorney can inform the client about his or her options.
- DON’T misrepresent your condition. Plaintiffs must not malinger or misrepresent the scope of their injuries. Such actions can lead to indictments for insurance fraud and perjury. It also makes it more difficult for genuinely injured people to seek relief.
- DON’T engage in visually strenuous activities outdoors if the pain temporarily subsides. Insurance companies investigate claims of physical injury, and if an investigator is able to photograph the client with a physical injury doing things that appear to be inconsistent with that injury, the insurer may be able to get the case dismissed.
The preceding article is not legal advice. Injured individuals who are not at fault should consult attorneys in their areas. A licensed attorney can advise clients about their options and their rights.
Katie Hewatt is a legal researcher and contributing author for the Howell & Christmas group, a car accident lawyer in Charleston, who consists of Attorneys Gary Christmas, Ladson Howell, and Reese Stidham, IV. The Howell & Christmas Law Firm specialize in personal injury, worker’s compensation, criminal law, and real estate law. Whether you are injured in a car accident or a premises accident, they can handle all aspects of personal injury and are only a phone call away.