Top 6 Things You Should Not Do After an Injury

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

You have more influence over your future than you might think after suffering a personal injury. While a good attorney may be able to build a case against a negligent party regardless of your actions after an accident, taking the correct steps could greatly increase your odds of securing a settlement or jury verdict. With help of a personal injury lawyer, learn six top things you should not do after an injury if you wish to maximize your chances of a payout in Dallas, Texas.

Stay Silent

Document your accident immediately by coming forward and telling someone what happened. You should report your accident and injuries to an employer, floor supervisor, store owner or the police depending on the circumstances. Report your injuries to someone in a position to create an official accident report. A report can serve as proof that the accident happened, as well as an important tool for documenting details such as date, time, location and the names of witnesses to the accident.

Admit Fault

Admitting fault is a common mistake made by victims after first accidents. It is natural to want to apologize for the accident or say you were at fault if you believe this to be true. However, it is important not to admit fault to any of the parties involved, as well as to the police or an insurance company. Admitting fault could place liability with you before investigators have a chance to get to the bottom of the accident. You could be unaware that someone else’s fault caused or at least contributed to the accident. The other driver in a car crash, for example, could share fault for the collision. Reducing your liability could increase your payout.

Assume You Do Not Have Injuries

If the police or other parties ask whether you have injuries, wait before saying no. Even if you feel normal, you could have hidden injuries or injuries with delayed symptoms. The adrenaline of a serious accident could be masking pain or other symptoms of an injury. Instead, say you are not sure and wish to see a doctor before answering. If you say you do not have any injuries during a police interview or to an insurance adjuster, it can be difficult to obtain compensation if you discover injuries later.

Wait to See a Doctor

Never let days, weeks or even hours pass between the time of your injury and a doctor’s visit. It can be imperative to your personal health to see a physician right away after a car accident, slip and fall, dog attack, violent crime, or another type of incident. A doctor can diagnose your injuries and suggest immediate treatment for the best prognosis for recovery. Immediate medical care can also prove to an insurance company the existence and severity of your injuries.

Accept the First Insurance Settlement Offer

Once you file an insurance claim for your personal injury, the insurance company will assign an adjuster to your case. The insurance claims adjuster will not have your best interests in mind. Instead, he or she will want what is best for the insurance company; namely, to minimize your payout to save the insurer money. Before you accept a lowball settlement offer, speak to a lawyer about the true value of your injury claim.

Fail to Get Legal Advice

A personal injury lawyer in Dallas can review your accident case, evaluate your economic and noneconomic damages, and help you negotiate a fairer settlement from an insurance company. Hiring a lawyer to take over insurance claim negotiations for you could ensure the adjuster does not convince you to accept less than your case is worth. An attorney can also take your injury claim to court in Texas if the insurance company refuses to offer a reasonable amount to cover your damages. Consulting with an attorney is one of the most important steps to take after suffering a serious injury.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 10:14 am

What Are Special Damages in a Personal Injury Settlement?

Friday, October 18, 2019

Filing a personal injury claim serves multiple purposes, but one of the most crucial for a victim is obtaining a compensation award for economic and/or noneconomic damages. A positive injury settlement could contain award amounts to cover many different damages, including medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. While each personal injury settlement is unique, the broad types of damages potentially available to a victim remain the same in Texas.

What Are General Damages?

The two main damage categories in a Texas personal injury claim are compensatory and punitive. Compensatory damages serve to reimburse a victim for his or her losses. Several specific types of damages exist under the broad category of compensatory damages. The two subcategories of compensatory damages are general and special. General damages are those most reasonable accident victims would suffer in a personal injury accident, such as physical pain, emotional suffering, mental anguish, lost enjoyment of life and distress from permanent disabilities or disfigurement.

What Are Special Damages?

Special damages in a personal injury settlement are out-of-pocket losses that are unique to the individual victim. They may include past and future health care expenses, lost income, lost future earning capacity, legal fees, travel costs and the price of property repairs. Special damages are the quantifiable financial losses the victim experienced because of the defendant’s actions or conduct. To obtain special damages, the victim or his or her attorney must prove specific losses through receipts and documentation. Proof can come in the form of medical bills, paystubs and estimates from vehicle mechanics.

What Are Exemplary Damages?

Exemplary damages, often called punitive damages, in personal injury settlements are extra compensation awards granted to a victim in cases involving a defendant’s malicious, intentional or wanton acts. A judge may award exemplary damages in a personal injury case if the defendant’s actions warrant an additional restitution award as a form of punishment. A judge may also issue punitive damages if he or she believes compensatory damages do not adequately compensate a victim for severe, traumatic or permanent losses.

What Are Special Damages in a Personal Injury Settlement? 1

Pain and Suffering

Pain and suffering is one of the main types of general damages available in most personal injury claims. Pain and suffering can refer to many different forms of physical pain, mental anguish or emotional distress. A victim may be eligible for pain and suffering damages if the accident or injury caused significant emotional repercussions.

  • Anxiety or fear
  • Depression
  • Post-traumatic stress
  • Physical pain
  • Chronic pain
  • Grief
  • Humiliation

Proving pain and suffering can be more difficult than proving measurable economic damages. Proof can come in the form of testimony from mental health experts, letters from treating psychologists, or statements from family and friends. A lawyer can often help a victim prove pain and suffering as part of an injury settlement.

Can You File a Claim?

As the victim of a personal injury accident in Texas, you could be eligible for compensation to cover special, general and/or punitive damages. Proving your economic and noneconomic damages may take assistance from a personal injury lawyer in Dallas. In most cases, your lawyer will need to establish four main elements to obtain a compensation award on your behalf.

  1. Duty of care. The defendant in your case must have owed you specific duties of care at the time of your accident.
  2. Breach of duty. The defendant must have breached, or failed to fulfill, his or her duties of care to you.
  3. A direct connection must exist between the defendant’s breach of duty and the damages you are claiming.
  4. Your lawyer must provide proof of economic and/or noneconomic damages related to the accident in question.

Your attorney can review the facts of your recent accident to let you know if you have grounds for a claim against one or more defendants in Dallas. If so, your lawyer could help you negotiate a fair settlement award for your special and other damages during an insurance claim. If a settlement is not possible, your attorney may be able to take your case to court.

Posted by Aaron Herbert at 2:42 pm