Telling a believable story is the top priority if your goal is to increase your personal injury settlement. Building credibility and offering a clear, organized presentation of the facts is the main way to maximize your settlement award. Defense attorneys are excellent at picking apart a liar’s fabrication and exposing fraud. Juries are usually very adept at detecting dishonest behavior versus a person who clearly and consistently tells the truth.
Ultimately a jury would decide a settlement award, so this process is governed by what a jury would be likely to consider. This includes a lot of legal “X-factors” that are hard to put into words and describes the biases held by some American jurors. Thus the impression that you make on the legal defense team will also bear significant weight on your eventual damage offer amount, as will countless other factors.
How to Help Your Own Case
Personal injury cases are complex, and while courts go to great lengths to use objective standards in calculating settlements, there are steps a person can take early on to make sure they receive all of what they are owed under the law. These include:
- Saving medical receipts
- Filing healthcare invoices
- Organizing doctor’s office notes
- Keeping related auto mechanic paperwork
- Include any therapy documentation
- Keep a diary of your experiences
Among other factors, it is important to keep a personal journal or diary of your experiences through the injury and whole experience. This helps your truthful story stay clear and cogent, and helps you to avoid the impression of fumbling words or otherwise giving the appearance of lying. A candid recitation of the truth can pass along your emotional truth to the jury. It is helpful if a jury empathizes or relates to you.
Jurors may think that when someone stumbles on their words repeatedly or has trouble keeping their story straight, it can be a sign they are not upholding their sworn oath of truth. Writing down dates, days of the week, and other key details can help you memorize essential data for your case. Being able to easily recall relevant data builds credibility in depositions and in court.
However, the pressure of a court appearance can also give any person anxiety or nervousness (which can cause even a truthful person to stumble on their words). This makes it even more vital to have a written version of your accounts, so as to realize as much of your settlement potential as possible.
With this said, there are some other ways to increase your potential claim.
For a free legal consultation, call (337) 777-7777
Talk to a Lawyer Early on in the Process
The legal process can be slow and methodical. However, physical evidence in the field always has an expiration date. This date may be much sooner than the statute of limitations, which is one year in Louisiana under LA Civ. Code § 3492. The single best step one can take to maximize the potential size of their lawsuit claim is to simply get your legal team involved early.
Following the action items your lawyer recommends is a great second step, since they will be speaking from years of knowledge of the area. Following the advice of legal professionals such as this is a sound way to avoid the costly and common mistakes that can needlessly lower a person’s personal injury net claim amount.
More Difficult Ways to Increase Settlement Amount
There are some other methods that can increase the amount of the personal injury settlement you are able to keep. However, these strategies may be more difficult or expensive.
How Child Support Affects Personal Injury Settlements
When people who owe child support money are awarded personal injury settlements, the settlement may be used to cover back-due child support payments. If you owe child support and want to increase your net settlement amount, you will want to get as current as possible with your child support first. This is one way to increase the amount of your settlement that you get to receive.
Bankruptcy and Personal Injury Claims
If you have filed for bankruptcy recently, it will bear relevance to any personal injury lawsuits you might win. For individuals in bankruptcy, any personal injury case awards may benefit bankruptcy trustees first. This can significantly lower or eliminate your personal injury financial award.
However, one way a person can lose their settlement is if they are in bankruptcy. If you can avoid bankruptcy then you may be able to increase your claim settlement potential.
If you or a loved one recently want to know how to increase your personal injury settlement, call Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers today at (337) 777-7777. We can inform you of your options and answer any questions you have, such as whether you can seek damages in a wrongful death claim under LA Civ. Code § 2315.1.