What your lawyer should do to maximize recovery and minimize costs:
- Uncover everyone who might be at fault and find out what insurance coverage is available. Oftentimes clients are hurt bad enough to where their damages might exceed the insurance coverage available under the claim. This is why it is important to make sure anyone at fault for a wreck is held accountable. Trucking cases, for example, can involve numerous people at fault: the driver, his motor carrier, the company who loaded the trailer, the company responsible for safety checks on the truck, other drivers, etc.
- Explore resident relatives for UM coverage. If our client lives with relatives that have their own uninsured motorist coverage for their own vehicles, then their UM policies will add on to our client's UM coverage.
- Turn up the heat - Investigate the case for aggravating factors: DUI, reckless driving, etc. We will look at a defendant's social media, through all reports, body cam footage, car footage to see if there is any evidence of DUI or anything else sinister enough to warrant excess or punitive damages on a case.
- Get medical expenses reduced – negotiate reductions, don't pay unnecessary liens. The best lawyers go far beyond maximizing the recovery amount and will minimize the payback amount to make sure the client nets the highest amount possible. There can be massive six and seven figure liens on a case that do NOT have to be paid back and can go directly into the client's pocket. What good is a $1 million case if you have to pay back $1 million?
What the client should do to maximize recovery and minimize costs
- See a doctor ASAP, tell them what hurts, do what they say, and don't miss any appointments. Seeing a doctor ASAP does two things: first, it shows you are hurt, and second, if it's immediately after the wreck, it validates the wreck is what caused the injuries. Missing appointments can be deadly to a case and can make it impossible to settle pre-trial. Everyone should do what their doctor says and avoid gaps in treatment.
- Use your health insurance always! Doing this will dramatically increase the amount of money the client gets at the end of the case.
- Take lots of photos: your car, their car, injuries, etc. Pictures are worth money. Pictures validate and prove our case. I can tell the jury about how bad someone's leg was hurt after their third operation, but if I can show them pictures of my client's leg in an external fixator with oozing incisions and swelling, then that will open their hearts to understanding your pain and suffering.
- And of course… hire a good lawyer. Having a lawyer experienced enough to understand the law and the systems in place to maximize recoveries is important. See: 10 questions to ask an injury lawyer before hiring.