How Do I Maximize My Personal Injury Settlement?

A lawyer at his desk helping a client out with her personal injury insurance claim.

After an accident, it can feel intimidating, yet absolutely imperative, to begin seeking fair compensation for your damages. 

A personal injury settlement can help you cover any medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, or other losses incurred from the accident. In this way, maximizing your settlement will be an essential step in ensuring you receive the financial resources you need to recover and move forward with your life.

However, the outcome of any personal injury case (and its resulting settlement) will always be unpredictable. Every case is unique, and will be influenced by various factors like the nature of the accident, the extent of your injuries, and the parties involved. Plus, the legal process can be complex, as numerous variables can affect the final outcome.

So before you start calculating costs and damages, make sure to reach out to a qualified attorney. At Singh Ahluwalia Attorneys at Law we’re here to help, and equipped to provide you with a confidential, no-obligation case review to go over all your options. All you have to do is call (559) 878-4958 or contact us online to schedule your appointment today.

Immediate Steps to Take After an Accident 

As soon as an accident occurs, it is crucial to report it to the appropriate authorities. Whether it’s a car accident in Fresno or throughout California, slip and fall incident, or any other type of personal injury case, contacting the police or relevant emergency services should be your first priority. Reporting the accident creates an official record, which will be an invaluable document when it comes time to start compiling your personal injury claim.

If you can, try to request the presence of a police officer at the scene.  The officer will assess the situation, document relevant details, and create an accident report. This report will include important information, such as the date, time, location, and parties involved. Having an official report prepared by a trained professional can significantly strengthen your case later on.

Make Sure to Gather as Much Evidence as Possible 

If you want to maximize your personal injury settlement, you need to build a strong case. The easiest way to do this is to compile as much high-quality evidence as possible. Consider collecting the following: 

Key Witness Statements 

If there are any witnesses to the accident, make sure to collect their statements and contact information. Witnesses can provide crucial accounts of what transpired and corroborate your version of events. Ask them to describe what they saw and request their names, phone numbers, and email addresses. Witness testimonies can serve as valuable evidence during settlement negotiations; and come in handy if the case proceeds to court.

Collect Photo and Video Evidence of the Scene 

In today’s digital age, almost everyone has a smartphone with a camera. Use this technology to your advantage by capturing photographs and videos of the accident scene. Document the positions of vehicles, property damage, visible injuries, road conditions, traffic signs, and any other relevant details. Visual evidence can provide a clear picture of the circumstances surrounding the accident and can be instrumental in supporting your claim.

By promptly reporting the accident, involving the authorities, and gathering evidence, you lay the foundation for a strong personal injury claim. These immediate steps create a solid basis for proving liability and establishing the facts of the incident, increasing your chances of securing a favorable settlement.

Seek Prompt Medical Attention 

After experiencing a personal injury, seeking immediate medical attention should be your top priority. Even if you believe your injuries are minor, it is essential to have a healthcare professional assess your condition. 

Prompt medical attention not only ensures your well-being but also establishes a crucial link between the accident and your injuries. The longer you delay medical care, the more challenging it becomes to attribute your injuries to the incident accurately.

Next, Follow Any Instructions From Your Healthcare Professional 

Once you’ve sought medical attention, it is vital to follow all instructions provided by your healthcare professional. This includes adhering to prescribed medications, attending scheduled appointments, and following any recommended treatment plans. 

By complying with their instructions, you demonstrate a commitment to your recovery, and it helps establish a documented record of your medical compliance. Failure to follow medical advice may be used by the opposing party to question the severity of your injuries.

Document All Medical Treatment 

Throughout your medical journey, it is crucial to document all aspects of your treatment and keep thorough records. This includes retaining copies of medical reports, test results, prescriptions, receipts, and invoices for treatments, medications, and therapies. 

These documents serve as crucial evidence to support your claim, validating the extent of your injuries, the recommended treatments, and the associated costs. Clear and comprehensive documentation strengthens your case and ensures that no medical expenses or treatments are overlooked during the settlement process.

Collect Expert Evaluations of All Damages and Expenses 

When pursuing a personal injury claim, it will be essential to consult with experts who can accurately calculate your damages and lost wages. These experts will consider various factors such as your occupation, earning capacity, work history, and the extent of your injuries to provide an objective assessment of your lost wages. 

An expert (or in this case medical professional) can also help you estimate any future medical costs so you can ensure your settlement adequately covers not just your current expenses but also your long-term medical needs. They’ll consider factors like ongoing therapies, potential surgeries, rehabilitation, and assistive devices to provide an informed estimation of your future medical costs. 

Beware Layman Calculations May Undervalue Your Claim 

While it may be tempting to perform your own calculations to estimate your damages, it is important to recognize that these calculations may ultimately undervalue your claim. Personal injury cases involve complex legal and financial considerations that require expertise and experience to accurately assess. One major area to consider are the costs of lost income and any projected future medical care

Does Physical Therapy Increase a Settlement’s Value?

If you have suffered a personal injury and are undergoing physical therapy as part of your recovery process, you may wonder if it will impact your settlement. The short answer is yes, physical therapy can potentially increase the value of your settlement. 

As long as the treatments are considered medically “reasonable and necessary” in light of the injuries suffered, their costs can be rolled into the requested settlement value. Physical therapy is often extremely beneficial towards helping patients regain function while avoiding future complications. In that way, they can actually save money spent on care in the long run.

Some specific and notable benefits to getting physical therapy after an accident include:

Demonstrating the Severity of Your Injuries

By consistently attending therapy sessions, you are providing concrete evidence that your injuries are significant and require ongoing treatment. This documentation will also help establish the extent and duration of your pain and suffering, which can potentially result in a higher settlement.

Medical Documentation and Expert Opinions 

Physical therapy involves working with healthcare professionals who specialize in treating your specific injuries. These professionals can provide detailed medical records and expert opinions on whether therapy is necessary, the progression of your recovery, and any long-term effects of your injuries. These records and opinions can strengthen your case and support the need for a comprehensive settlement that considers your future medical needs.

Lost Wages and Future Earning Capacity 

If your injuries have caused you to miss work or have impacted your ability to perform your job effectively, physical therapy can be a crucial way to document your lost wages and potential future earning capacity. The therapy records can help establish the impact your injuries have had on your ability to work and earn income, which may in turn lead to a higher settlement that considers these financial losses.

Long-Term Benefits and Improved Quality of Life 

Physical therapy aims to restore function, reduce pain, and improve your overall quality of life. By engaging in therapy and making progress in your recovery, you are not only investing in your health but also demonstrating the long-term benefits of the treatment. This can significantly influence the perception of your case and potentially result in a higher settlement that considers the positive impact physical therapy can have on your well-being.

Proof of Self Care

Some insurers or defendants will try to allege that the injured claimant made their own injuries worse by a failure to seek appropriate care in a timely way. Attending physical therapy sessions demonstrates that you are doing to the utmost to protect your own health and focus on as full of a recovery as possible.

Evaluate All Property Damage 

As part of your claim, you’ll need to meticulously itemize all of your damaged property. This includes vehicles, personal belongings, or any other property affected by the incident. Make a detailed list of the damaged items, noting their original value, age, condition, and any repair or replacement costs associated with them.

Next, to determine the financial value of the property damage, you’ll want to obtain repair estimates or actual cash value (ACV) calculations. Repair estimates provide an estimation of the cost to restore the damaged property to its pre-accident condition. ACV calculations, on the other hand, consider factors such as the property’s age, condition, and depreciation to determine its fair market value at the time of the incident.

Finally, when it comes time to file your personal injury claim, make sure to include all of this information to ensure you are compensated for any — and all — damages incurred. 

Prepare Your Personal Injury Claim With Help From an Experienced Attorney Team

After an accident, once you’ve taken the necessary steps to appraise and treat any injuries or damages, it will be important to compile all of your evidence to start building your case. Your best strategy forward — if you want to maximize your personal injury settlement — will be to contract the help of an experienced personal injury attorney. 

At Singh Ahluwalia Attorneys at Law we’re ready to help, and here to provide you with a free, confidential, no-obligation case review to help you go over all your options. All you have to do is call (559) 878-4958 or contact us online to schedule your appointment today.