If you’ve been injured, it’s important to take control of the situation for your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. A personal injury lawsuit can be overwhelming and intimidating, and you might feel you’re in no shape to tackle something like this, since you want to focus on recovery.
What documentation will you need, and what steps should you take to ensure a fast and fair resolution? When talking to insurance companies, tread carefully and — whenever possible — have an attorney handle matters for you. It’s the job of insurance companies to get a resolution fast, and if you accept a payment, that might imply that you don’t want to push it any further.
Take your time, make the insurance companies respond to your schedule, and research a good attorney who has a background in personal injury cases. Here’s how the process works.
Meeting with a lawyer
You pay attorneys by the hour, so ask all the questions you have and don’t be shy about directing the conversation. You should know what to expect, how long the process will take, and whether there are any likely obstacles up the road.
Most importantly, you need to be comfortable with your attorney. A qualified attorney will know the ins and outs of insurance, including auto liability and workers compensation.
It’s essential to start recording facts as soon as possible, from bills, expenses, and hospital stays to damage to personal property or your automobile. However, if you get hurt at work, it’s imperative that only an attorney talks with the insurance company, since workers compensation will be involved. Make sure you record lost wages and write down everything you can remember from the accident right after it happens.
Widen your circle
People you know may have been involved in a personal injury case, so talk to them to find out what to expect. They might recommend attorneys for you. However, do talk to your insurance company to see about damage coverage and medical bills no matter who’s at fault; just make sure you don’t agree to anything or accept any compensation without first getting a lawyer’s advice.
Let your doctor know about any lawsuit activity, because the physician can provide you with necessary documentation. Both your doctor and your attorney should treat you with respect, and if you’re not getting that, it’s easy enough to find another professional who does offer it. Just like with a doctor, the more experience an attorney has, the better off you’re likely to be.
The wider reputation
If you’re considering an attorney who’s part of a firm, take a look at the firm’s reputation as a whole, too — not just your attorney’s. Larger firms can demand higher fees, so it might be better to choose a smaller firm for less serious injuries. Never hire an attorney you haven’t met in person: just use the Internet to research possible lawyers or firms before you talk to them.
Always seek medical treatment immediately after you’re hurt, both for legal reasons and for your health. Remember that some pains and injuries won’t show up for days — or even months — after the accident, though, such as whiplash.
It’s equally important to focus on your mental, emotional and spiritual well-being in the aftermath of an injury. What do you need to make yourself holistically healthy after an accident?
A balance of health that involves all aspects of your well-being, not just physical, is a key to a happy life. You might consult with a religious leader or mental therapist, or perhaps return to your yoga practice to help with healing (as long as your physician agrees). Don’t put your overall health on the back burner, even when you’re preparing for a legal battle.