Table of Contents
1. Calculate The True Value of Your InjuriesOne of the most impactful things you can do to win a big settlement for your injuries is to determine the true value of your damages. Many people think that they’re only entitled to medical bill coverage. But you deserve far more. You should consider every factor of both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are those that don’t have an obvious price tag attached but have still been experienced at a detriment to your life.
- Medical Expenses
- Rehabilitation Costs
- Treatment Costs
- Lost Wages
- Loss of Future Earnings
- In-Home Care Expenses
- Medical Equipment Costs
- Transportation Expenses
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life
- Loss of Consortium
- Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
- Pain and Suffering
- Scarring and Disfigurement
- Long-Term Disability
2. Acquire As Much Evidence as PossibleEvidence is the key to any big settlement for serious injuries in Pinellas County. Without enough evidence, the insurance company will say that your claims are exaggerations or that you were at fault for the accident. Our law firm has the resources to gather testimonies from accident and financial experts, such as through crash reconstructions. We can also work hard to gather evidence found at the accident scene, such as CCTV. But we urge all our clients to be as thorough as possible in evidence collection, such as with:
- Witness statements at the accident scene
- Photos of the crash scene
- Photos of your injuries
- Keeping police reports.
- Requesting and keeping medical and doctor’s notes.
- Any objects that were damaged, such as phones or vehicles.
3. Don’t Hold Off on TreatmentWe urge all injury victims in Pinellas County to visit a physician. Even if you don’t think you need it, it can be critical in proving the extent of your injuries. It is common for brain and whiplash injury victims to only notice several days or even weeks later. Many insurance companies will claim that your injuries happened after the accident, or that you’re exaggerating. But with medical records, they can’t dispute it. However, if you’re reading this blog, there’s a good chance you’ve already received treatment. In this case, we urge you to return as necessary to show the insurer that the effects of the injuries are ongoing and not a brief discomfort.
4. Never Sign a WaiverYou may be requested by your insurer to sign a waiver that gives up some of your rights. These may include an agreement not to negotiate or pay above a set fee. Do not sign these. The insurance company is just trying to manipulate you into receiving less money. Always consult a Pinellas County personal injury lawyer first. Read Related: How to Determine Liability & Negligence in a Personal Injury Case
5. Never Accept a Lowball OfferYou will likely get a call or letter from the insurance company or at-fault party with a low-ball initial offer. Do not accept it. You should always consult a personal injury lawyer first. Even if it seems like a good offer, it likely is far lower than the true value of your damages (see our first advice). They just want to pay as little as possible.
6. Ask for a Specific AmountOnce you’ve calculated the true value of your damages, you can request a fee that covers that. Your personal injury lawyer will help you determine an appropriate amount. This is all part of the claim package, which will include supporting evidence. If you don’t ask for a specific amount, the insurance company will always go far lower. Your personal injury attorney will then be able to negotiate with the insurance company, allowing you to earn more than the minimum amount you’re willing to accept.
7. Don’t Post About the Accident on Social MediaNow is not the time to make posts on social media about your accident. Insurance companies and opposing parties will definitely try to view your profiles, and one accidental admittance of fault can cause the whole claim to fail. Take photos of your injuries and record your experience, but keep it between you and your lawyer for now.
8. Keep Things PrivateWe also urge you to keep your medical records and status private from opposing parties. They may request to see them, or ask you to sign a release. They don’t need to see it. We will present the relevant information to your insurance company in our claim package.
9. Don’t Trust Insurance CompaniesIf we could ask you to remember one thing from this blog, it’s to know that insurance companies don’t care about you. No matter how nice the representative is, they are employees of a for-profit company. Their job is to minimize their expenses. To them, you are an expense. It is the brutal truth, but one that will help you earn a bigger settlement by knowing. Be aware of the attempts to get you to:
- Admit fault
- Accept a low-offer
- Admit partial-fault
- Say your injuries aren’t that bad
- Scare you from using a lawyer (you always have the right too)
- Delay their responses or ghost you