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WHAT DETERMINES A PERSONAL INJURY CLAIM?

Dec 8 2016

If you’ve been injured in an accident through the fault or negligence of another person, before you settle for or sign anything, you may want to consider pursuing a personal injury claim. A personal injury claim seeks to attach financial compensation to your injury and suffering. It’s meant to compensate for what’s happened to you and place you in the same position you would have been but for the accident. Depending on the severity of your injuries and how they will impact your lifestyle and earning potential, this compensation will vary in scope and complexity.

There are a number of factors that can determine the value and outcome of any personal injury claim. Depending on how those factors are perceived or presented can either work to your advantage or negatively affect your chances of receiving a fair settlement. For example, do you have photographs of the accident? Showing the level of damage to your vehicle or other property as well as the overall accident scene itself can have persuasive value in a personal injury claim.

Did you seek medical treatment right away? You should do so because this makes it more difficult for a claims adjuster to later argue that your injuries weren’t as they may really be. Keep in mind that some injuries may take a few days to make themselves known. It’s always better if you get medical advice right away, even if you think you’re going to be okay. And make sure you follow your doctor’s advice so there’s less room for misinterpretation about the nature or severity of your injuries. Your doctor is required to keep records of your complaints and this can be valuable when later proof is required.

Any pre-existing conditions must be addressed. This is where many claims run into the most opposition, because proof or lack of proof of a pre-existing condition can literally make or break a potential settlement. How? If, for example, there is overwhelming evidence that you already have a bad back or a sore neck, then the argument may be made that the defendant’s negligence was not responsible for your pain or suffering associated with these conditions. It’s important not to lie about or deny a pre-existing condition because, most often, the defendant’s insurer will find out about it anyway and, when they do, it will ruin your credibility which is a critically important aspect of any personal injury claim.

Social media is everywhere and more and more, is playing an important role in personal injury claims. Overall, when it comes to social media, use your best judgment when posting anything online about your health, since photos and comments can be interpreted in many ways and can be used to your disadvantage to discredit or disprove parts of your claim.

The path to compensation isn’t always an easy one. It can be disheartening, difficult and time-consuming. Pursuing a personal injury claim should not be undertaken without the services of a trusted legal professional, specifically one who has experience in this area. Why? Because insurance providers will often go out of their way to deny, discredit or disprove personal injury claims in order to lessen the impact on their company’s bottom line – which is definitely not in your best interest.

Sources: F. Robert Allison, Lawlor, White and Murphey, The Canadian Bar Association

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