You’ve been through a lot since incurring whatever injuries caused you to seek out compensation. We’d like to tell you that it will get easier, but from a strictly legal standpoint, the battle is just beginning.
While some personal injury cases are open and shut, many more require diligent work to overcome obstacles. Dealing with documentation leads the way when it comes to challenges in winning a personal injury lawsuit.
Insurance companies have deep pockets and extensive legal staff. They won’t hesitate to use their resource advantages to try and bury you in paperwork. There will be repeated requests for documentation, of both you and your attorney. When you go to court, you can count on the insurance company filing motions to dismiss and using other strategies that will both delay the proceedings and drive up the legal costs.
What the insurance company is counting on is that—even if your case is airtight—you are in a financially vulnerable position, which means you can’t afford long delays and increased legal costs. The insurance company hopes that will force you to the bargaining table to accept a settlement amount far less than what you might get in court.
If you do get to court, another side of the documentation issue will come into play. You will have needed to document everything very well. When did your accident happen? A car accident will be obvious enough from police reports, but what if the injury stems from an incident that’s not on the public record? You’ll need documentation of doctor visits, pain and symptoms, missed time at work, etc.
You’ll also need reliable witnesses, be it someone who saw your injury or an expert medical witness. Here too, documentation is going to be necessary. Find anyone who saw the incident and get them on the record immediately. The longer you wait, the less reliable their testimony will be—at least in the eyes of the court. You also need to be certain your expert witnesses are competent and credible on the stand.
Finally, the specific laws of your state will represent a challenge. Most states use some form of “comparative negligence” rules. That means a court could find that, while you deserve compensation, you were still 45 percent responsible for the incident. Hence, you’ll get just 45 percent of the award amount. Depending on what your expenses were and how large the potential award is, comparative negligence can make your legal win feel like a Pyrrhic victory.
Winning a personal injury lawsuit is not easy, but it can be done. You just need to have the right attorney who can steer you through the process.