If you have been injured in a Yakima area accident that is someone else’s fault, you may be entitled to compensation. To ensure that you receive the maximum compensation for your injuries, the first thing you need to do is to retain the services of a Yakima area personal injury accident attorney.
But your obligation doesn’t stop there. There are a number of things that you, as the victim, can do to help your attorney maximize the settlement amount, or jury award, that you ultimately receive for your injuries.
- Seek Treatment Immediately: If you have been injured in any type of accident, whether it is a car accident, slip-and-fall accident, boating accident or any other type, have a thorough medical examination immediately. Some serious injuries do not present obvious symptoms but could be life threatening without immediate treatment. In addition, from a legal perspective, it is important that you seek treatment as soon as possible after an accident in order to show causation. The longer you wait to seek medical treatment, the harder it is to prove that your injuries are a direct result of the accident.
- Come Prepared for Your First Meeting: To get things off to a good start, come as prepared as possible for your first meeting. Bring everything you have relating to the accident with you to the meeting. A police report, hospital discharge summary, witness information…anything that might possibly be of use. Your attorney can sort through it and decide what is important. You should also write down a brief summary of the accident just to be certain that you do not forget any important details. Finally, you may want to write out a list of questions to ask your attorney.
- Follow Through with Treatment: This is important from a medical as well as a legal standpoint. You could exacerbate your injuries by not following the suggested treatment plan. That, in turn, opens the door for the opposing party to argue that you have some responsibility for the extent of your injuries when it comes time to negotiate a settlement or present your case to a jury.
- Keep Records: Your attorney will be able to request medical records on your behalf; however, it is always a good idea to keep copies of tests ordered, bills, prognosis and anything else that could be of use just to make sure that nothing is overlooked.
- Keep a Daily Pain Diary: Along with compensation for your economic damages, which includes medical bills, lost wages and property damage, you may also be entitled to non-economic damages. Non-economic damages are what people typically refer to as “pain and suffering.” This portion of your settlement or award is far more subjective than the economic portion. By keeping a daily pain diary, you can show a jury how much pain your injuries caused you on a daily basis if the need arises. This can be much more effective than simply testifying that you had pain.
- Keep Your Attorney Updated: If you move, change telephone numbers, or switch doctors, make sure your attorney is aware of the change. Some personal injury accident cases are resolved rather quickly; however, more complex cases can take months, even years, to resolve. Just because you haven’t heard anything in a few weeks doesn’t mean your attorney isn’t working on your case. When the time comes to communicate with you, he or she needs to be able to reach you.
- Be Realistic about Settlement: No attorney can tell you with certainty how much your case is worth at the first meeting. Despite what many people think, there is no “magic formula” for computing the value of a personal injury case. As the case progresses, you will have a better idea of what the case is worth; however, be realistic when it comes time to negotiate the possibility of an out of court settlement.
A Yakima Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help
If you have been involved in a personal injury accident, the Yakima area personal injury accident attorneys at Mariano Morales Law can help. Contact the team today by calling (509) 853-2222 or by using our online contact form for your free initial consultation.