Justice is a fair maiden, albeit a tricky one. Personal injury is a branch of civil law, and winning a case highly depends on how good your lawyer is and what you do immediately after the incident. You would not want to end up in the losing side of a personal injury case: the damage award you will receive won’t be enough to move on from the incident you were involved in.
That being said, you also have responsibilities as a victim. You must fulfill or perform these in order to get the most out of the defendant. So, what are some of these responsibilities and how should you NOT act when you are filing or currently in the midst of a personal injury case?
Show and Commit Negligence
In personal injury, contributory and comparative negligence will certainly diminish your damage award. For example, let’s say you’ve been involved in a car crash, and you were not wearing a seatbelt. Luckily, you escaped with your life, but not before sustaining a concussion and a few broken bones. Because you neglected to wear a seatbelt, you are partially responsible for the accident. Your damage award will certainly be reduced, resulting into you having to dig out of your own pocket to pay the medical bills.
Failure to Receive Medical Attention
Naturally, you will need to be medically evaluated after the accident in order to physically – and emotionally – recover from the ordeal. Let’s say you’ve sustained broken bones, numerous cuts and other injuries. You have been prescribed with numerous medications – without them your condition will worsen. Foolishly, you’ve failed to take the medications and thus numerous complications like infections sprung up.
The laws in most states REQUIRE plaintiffs to take reasonable steps in treating their injuries in order to effectively reduce the financial impact of the whole incident. Failure to do so, like in the above mentioned example, will result into your damages award to be dramatically reduced. Remember this: defendants are only responsible for the injuries they caused, not for the ones that rooted from the plaintiff’s negligence.
Don’t Destroy Your Own Credibility
First off, only let your lawyer do the talking: keep mum and take a hands-off approach and put your fate in the hands of the pros. Now that’s settled, talking too much and lying will certainly hamper your chances of getting the right amount of damage award. For example, you lied about your injuries at court and to your doctor. Discrepancies in the evidence will harm your case, and this is why you should not talk: talking too much will increase the chances of lying.
All the evidence must point to the truth: don’t attempt to pad the damage award. The largest damage award is always the rightful one – don’t exaggerate, be consistent with the testimonies and make sure you that you are in synch with your physicians.
Above all, always consult a lawyer regarding your legal options in cases like these. You may not have considered certain legal factors that could affect your case, so be sure to acquire the services of an expert!