Since a serious injury can have a drastic effect on your life physically, emotionally and financially, you should never hesitate to file a claim anytime you've been wrongly injured.
But, keep in mind, your claim becomes insignificant the instant you lose your case. That's why you must take steps today to ensure you put yourself in the best position to win.
From a workers' compensation perspective, you have a potential case anytime you get hurt or develop a disease or condition while on the job. For other types of personal injuries -- such as a car accident or problems related to a product you used -- your case depends on the degree of your injury and proper analysis of the cause.
Don't make the mistake of trying to determine who's at fault for your injury or whether or not you have a case. A lawyer will help you analyze the true value of your claim and maximize your recovery. Best of all, you can often gain valuable insight through an initial consultation (which most personal injury and workers' compensation lawyers offer for free).
Another common mistake is attempting to handle your own personal injury claim. Dealing directly with insurance companies is risky and time-consuming.
If you end up needing a lawyer, your actions by attempting to resolve your own claim can put any settlement in danger. Also, people who try handling their own claims often end up shortchanging themselves by settling for pennies on the dollar.
The only time you should attempt to handle you own claim is if you can't get a lawyer to pursue your case and you want to preserve it. In that's the case, you must file your own claim or you lose your rights.
Tips for Gathering Facts About Your Injury
As time passes, it's only natural for you remember less about your injury. So keep a diary or journal to record notes about your injury and/or treatment. Also, include examples where your injury had a negative impact on your life.
For instance, you may have been unable to dance at your son's wedding because you couldn't get out of your chair. Or, you might have been incapable of working and earning an income. These missed opportunities become significant in terms of determining the impact of your case.
Also, note the names of all your treating physicians and information about any prior injuries to the same body part or ones that were the result of significant accidents. And always stay compliant with your treatment.
Once you meet with a lawyer, be ready to identify any hurt body parts and describe your injuries. For occupational injuries or diseases, you'll need to describe the start of your symptoms (e.g., shortness of breath, coughing, etc.).
And one final tip ...
Don't wait to file your claim. Your state's statute of limitations designates the time by which you have to file a lawsuit. If you go beyond this time period, it's likely you won't find a lawyer to take your case.
Remember, you only have one shot to seek compensation for injuries. So use these tips to give yourself the best chance at winning a fair settlement or verdict in your favor.