Three Things That You Can Do to Win a Massive Personal Injury Settlement
You may have read a blog entry in the past describing a number of things that you should do if you get into a car accident. If the number of items on that list exceeds three, it was probably written by a bot or an SEO company based overseas. The truth is that you must do three things, and three things only.
1. Don't Talk to the Other Driver's Insurance Company
The other driver probably carries insurance through a massive publicly-traded company like Allstate, American Family, or State Farm. These companies have a legal duty to maximize profit for shareholders. One of the ways they do this is by paying less than they should to injured people. And one of the main ways that they pay less is by getting recorded statements from poor, unsuspecting, injured people immediately after the accident.
Immediately after the accident you are in a vulnerable mental state. You are probably not aware of the extent of your injuries and may not even have a complete understanding of what caused the accident. So why tell the other driver’s insurance what you think you know? You really don’t know very much at this point. You haven’t seen the police report yet, haven’t talked to any witnesses, and haven’t finished healing from your injuries.
The biggest reason for not talking to the other driver’s insurance company is that you have no obligation to do so. Imagine if you called the other driver and said, “hey, I’m going to record you as you tell me everything you know about the accident…ok, let’s start with whether you had anything to drink immediately before you hit me.” It sounds crazy, but that’s what the insurance company wants to do to you. Politely decline.
2. Go to the doctor
A potential client called me the other day and said that she was in an absolutely horrible car accident. Her friend died in the accident, and the potential client has horrible memories from seeing her best friend die. The potential client couldn’t sleep, couldn’t maintain a healthy relationship, and couldn’t even muster the strength to get behind the wheel of a vehicle. Keep in mind that nearly two years had elapsed since the date of the accident. I asked her if she was seeing a counselor or psychologist, and she said that basically she didn’t have the time and was afraid that someone would try to prescribe her a medication.
In this situation, the young lady could have been suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and should have been in line for a massive settlement. However, she had no medical evidence to back up her injury. She could testify in court about how she couldn’t sleep, drive, etc. But only a medical professional can make that link between the car accident and the symptoms. That link is what lawyers call “causation.” And causation is one of the most important parts of the case.
So before you do anything else, please do yourself a favor and talk to a doctor or other medical professional (fortune tellers and palm readers don’t count). You may find out that you are 100% healthy, in which case you’ll feel great about yourself. On the other hand you may find out that you have a latent injury that can easily be treated because it was found early. Even in a worst-case scenario (you have a terrible injury), a doctor will note that in medical records, which is good enough to prove causation.
3. Talk to a Lawyer
There are approximately 40,000 attorneys licensed to practice law in the State of Missouri, which means that lawyers outnumber trees, hamburgers, and insects, and every other item and organism. There are so many great personal injury attorneys in every city, including St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield, Columbia, Branson, and St. Charles. And every personal injury attorney will talk to you for free. So why not talk to at least one?
I once got a call from a former client who said that his father-in-law was in a terrible car accident. Basically, a woman who was high on drugs hit the father-in-law, causing him to roll his pickup truck. The woman who hit the father-in-law only carried liability insurance at the state minimum of $25,000. He said he was just going to accept the $25,000 because the woman had no other assets and that’s all they were going to get. I asked him if he would mind if I took a look at the vehicle. While looking at the truck I determined that the roof had collapsed so we brought in an engineer who said that a design defect caused the roof to collapse. The engineer also said that if the car manufacturer had installed $1 worth of Styrofoam inside the hollow metal vehicle frame, the father-in-law would have walked away from the accident. In the end we settled with the truck manufacturer for roughly 20 times the amount that the client would have walked away with before calling me. And the sad thing is that this type of thing happens on a daily basis throughout the State of Missouri.
If you follow these three steps your case will be much easier and you’ll almost certainly increase the amount of money that you’ll recover from a personal injury settlement. If you were injured in an accident, please don’t hesitate to call me at (314) 725-4400 or send us a message.