Personal Injury 101: Do I have a case? How much is it worth? Should I settle now?

Posted almost 5 years ago. Applies to Ohio, 6 helpful votes



STEP ONE: Get information about the Defendant/Responsible Party

In order to start a "claim" for money damages in a civil lawsuit against someone that has harmed/injured you, you MUST first get as much contact information about that person as possible: name, address, phone number, license plate, car make, color, etc. You should also ask them if they had HOMEOWNER'S or AUTO insurance, as most accidents are covered by insurance. DO NOT MAKE ANY VERBAL OR WRITTEN STATEMENTS TO THE DEFENDANT OR THEIR INSURANCE COMPANY. DO NOT DO ANY WRITTEN OR RECORDED INTERVIEWS. Talk to your lawyer FIRST. Insurance companies are trying to MINIMIZE the value of your claim. They can and will use the things you say or write against you later on in your case. Talk to your lawyer immediately and let the insurance company know you have a lawyer.


STEP TWO: Take good color photographs of any/all physical injuries

Ever hear the phrase "a picture is worth a thousand words?" Well, it's true. Good color photographs of the injuries, injury location, property damage, etc., can and will help you later on with your case. Often times, most lawyers do not pay enough attention or "go the extra mile' to get this CRITICAL evidence in your case. DO NOT BE FOOLED. Get pictures immediately. Use a newspaper or something to validate the time/date of the photo. You can also use a tape measure to show size and/or distance of things. If taking injury photos, keep a "photo journal" from week-to-week and month-to-month until the physical injuries are no longer apparent in the photographs and/or the scarring is complete. Photographs are the SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT thing you can do to assist your lawyer in pursuing your personal injury case. You will not regret the time and attention you spent on this one little detail. It can and often does make ALL the difference in your case!!!

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