It’s a serious matter when you or someone you love has been injured due to the negligence of someone else. You want to make the right decisions in filing a personal injury lawsuit to make sure you get the most compensation possible to cover the mental and physical pain you have suffered. Here are five guidelines to consider when you file your case:
- The injuries you sustained: The more serious your injury, the more compensation you should be awarded. Injuries that affect your ability to work and your lifestyle, and require ongoing medical care, will warrant higher settlements than injuries that have less impact on your life.
- Pre-existing conditions: If you have been injured previously and the more recent accident worsens the problem or re-injures you, the insurance company will try to pay less by arguing the injury existed before the accident. It may be necessary to prove the accident you’ve just been through has made the injury worse.
- Location, location, location: This is important because different judges and juries look upon personal injury cases in different ways. Some are more liberal and will award higher damages, others are more conservative. Even if you settle out of court, the local attitude towards settlement amounts will affect what the insurance company wants to pay.
- How you come across to others: A personal injury lawsuit should not be the same as the “Miss Congeniality” division of a beauty contest, however, more likable people — those who are friendly and outgoing — generally do better with juries and are likely to get a larger settlement.
- Your lawyer: First, choose a lawyer who focuses on personal injury and who has handled a large number of cases. You want someone who not only knows the law, but who is also familiar with the insurers, the judges, and the community of potential jurors.