In the movie Jerry Maguire, Tom Cruise’s titular character famously pleads with his client to “help me help you.”
If you have a personal injury case, there are many things you can do to help your lawyer help you get the compensation you are seeking and deserve.
While selecting and retaining the best personal injury lawyer is perhaps the single most important thing you can do in pursuing your personal injury claim, taking some simple steps immediately after an accident and throughout your case can provide your lawyer with additional support that can bolster your case and increase your chances of a successful result.
While you don’t have to be a detective or turn the scene of your accident into an episode of “CSI: Personal Injury,” gathering as much information and evidence immediately after the accident can help preserve important details about the occurrence and can give your attorney a head start in assembling the evidence he or she will need to put on a strong case. Take pictures, get the names and contact information of any witnesses, and preserve any physical evidence you can.
There are so many immediate concerns after an accident — not the least of which is getting the medical attention you need – that the thought of a lawsuit or getting a lawyer may seem like something far down the list of priorities. But if you have any desire to seek justice or get the help you need to recover from your injuries, retaining a lawyer as soon as possible after your accident is crucial. Not only are there time limits for filing claims arising from your accident, some of which are extremely short, but memories fade, evidence disappears, and any insurance companies involved are already working on the case to find ways to avoid or minimize the amount they have to pay. Don’t give them that head start.
Insurance companies aren’t charities. They are there to make money, and one way they try to maximize their profitability is to resolve claims as quickly and cheaply as possible. They will want you to settle for significantly less than your claim is actually worth, and if you start to negotiate with them without your lawyer, you could be costing yourself significant amounts of money.
Your lawyer is there to fight for you. In order to do that, he or she will need you to provide full and complete information about your accident and your injuries in order to thoroughly understand your case. Do not hold back anything; if there is information that you believe may hurt your case, it is even more important that you let your lawyer know that now because it will come out at some point. Everything you and your lawyer discuss is protected by the attorney-client privilege. Remember that. Also, if your lawyer asks you to see a doctor or take (or not take) any other steps they deem advisable, they are doing so for a reason. A good lawyer will explain what steps they need you to take and fully explain why those steps need to be taken.