Back Injury Claims and Lawsuits
UPDATED: February 3, 2020
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If you are filing an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit after a back injury, you can help yourself by knowing what to do in the immediate aftermath of your injury, understanding how to approach settlement negotiations, and being aware of important deadlines. Experienced personal injury attorneys are available to answer questions, and to take on the bulk of the work, but the more knowledgeable you are about the process of back injury claims, the better your case will be.
What to Do After Your Back Injury
There are a number of things you can do in the first few days and weeks after your accident to protect your right to compensation. Back injury claims can be difficult to win, and your actions in the immediate aftermath can have significant impact on your chances of success. Take the time to:
- Write out the accident as you remember it: The passage of time can make the circumstances of an accident more difficult to recall
- Keep accurate records of all medical treatment: Include hospital bills, rehab bills, doctor visits / consultations, and even travel costs to and from your medical treatment
- Make notes of conversations that you have with people involved in the accident or the injury claim: Anything that you say or speak about with another person can affect a back injury claim. Note conversations, and get written confirmation of any promises made by insurance carriers or opposing parties.
- Keep all written communications you receive: Whether you get emails, letters, or even handwritten notes, all documents are important.
- Make sure all evidence is identified early: Working with an attorney to identify and preserve the evidence necessary to your claim is better done sooner rather than later. Evidence can disappear or become less reliable over time.
It is best to involve a personal injury attorney as early in the process as possible to give yourself the best chance of success to prove your claim.
NOTE: What you say to insurance adjusters or opposing parties can negatively affect your claim. You need to be honest when asked about your accident, but you do not need to add commentary such as “It was partially my fault,” or “I’m fine.” Sticking to the facts of the accident and deferring to an attorney are safe ways to avoid scuttling a back injury lawsuit in its early stages by saying the wrong thing.
Settling a Back Injury Claim
Most personal injury lawsuits are settled by negotiation, without ever going to court, and back injury cases are no exception. Settlements are usually negotiated between the lawyers for the insurance company and your attorney, but you will have the ultimate say in whether or not the offer is acceptable. It is difficult to predict at the beginning how long a case will go on prior to final settlement because there are so many factors, but, generally, less severe injury cases are resolved in approximately one year while more serious and complex injury cases could take two or more years to settle.
Before you sign off on a back injury settlement, take note that you cannot go back and request additional damages. Take the time to value your damages, allow your medical treatment to unfold, and speak with an attorney if you are not confident you have received a fair offer. Personal injury attorneys are experienced negotiators who give you a better chance at the settlement you deserve.
TIP: Insurance companies and opposing attorneys will push for a quick settlement because it favors them. While this does not mean insurers or attorneys will attempt to cheat you, it does mean that early settlement offers tend to be well below the damages you claim.
Time to File a Back Injury Lawsuit
Every state has time limits that restrict the amount of time you have to file a personal injury lawsuit. The time frame, known as a statute of limitations, is generally between one and six years. If you miss the deadline for filing your case, your claims will be dismissed, without any chance of filing the claim in the future, no matter what the circumstances.
It is important to talk with a lawyer as soon as you sustain or discover a back injury. An analysis of the statute of limitations that applies to your case is one of the very first things your lawyer will do to make sure you are still within the legal time limit to bring a claim and receive a settlement or a judgment.