This is a guest post, courtesy of Marc Yonker, a Managing Partner at Winters & Yonker, P.A.
When you suffer an injury as a result of someone else’s actions or negligence, it can mean a very costly road to recovery. Not only will you have to deal with the immediate medical bills, but also lost earnings from having to miss work and any potential long-term health costs. This is why it is important to do everything you can to make sure your personal injury lawsuit has the best chance of success. One of the best ways to make your case easier is by filing it as early as you can.
So Waiting Too Long Is Not Held Against You
The first reason why you should file a personal injury lawsuit as soon as you are able is to prevent a commonly used defense if you wait. If your lawsuit gets to trial and is heard by a jury, it is a normal tactic for the defending lawyer to create doubt by asking why it took you so long to file a lawsuit. They might argue that you waited so any evidence or potential witness testimony is not as fresh, and so you intentionally made it more difficult on the defendant’s ability to gather their own evidence and witnesses.
Even if you cannot file a lawsuit as soon as you’d like, you can start the process by serving the defending party a personal injury complaint and an intention to file a lawsuit. This establishes very early on that the defendant was aware of your intentions and had fair notice to make their preparations. The benefit of serving this notice is that you can then proceed with the process of talking with your lawyer, gathering evidence and witnesses, filing an insurance claim, and recovering from your injuries. Then, when you are ready, you can file the actual lawsuit.
This removes the potential defense against your case in the future, which helps make your lawsuit easier to win for you and your lawyer. It is something you can do within the first few weeks or maybe even days, after the injury happened.
So All The Evidence and Memories Are Fresh
The other main reason why it is better to file your personal injury lawsuit early is to ensure that any evidence and witness testimony is still fresh. Having lots of good quality evidence and witness testimony is hugely important, and there are two main reasons to collect evidence and witnesses as soon as possible.
First, because depending on the circumstances it might be impossible to gather certain types of evidence — evidence material decomposes, the scene of the incident is cleaned or changed, and so on. It is best to get photos of your injuries right after it happened so you can prove just how raw and serious they were. If you wait, bruises and cuts will heal and juries have a much harder time believing your injuries if they cannot see them for themselves. Likewise, if you slipped and fell then whatever caused it can be cleaned up or removed, so it is best to get photographical evidence of it immediately.
Furthermore, when it comes to gathering witness testimony it gets harder to locate them and get their information as time goes by. They might forget important details that will help your case, or move away so you can’t find them, or even have passed away before you can find them.
The second reason why fresher evidence is best is because challenging older evidence and the memory of witnesses is another common defense strategy. This defense might not be enough to convince a jury to completely side with the defendant, but enough doubt can cause them to award you less in damages in the end.
About the Author:
Marc Yonker is a personal injury attorney in Tampa, Florida. He has a great passion for serving the public and providing justice for those in need through his position at the Winters and Yonker law firm. He believes that teamwork is a key element for great success. This is one of the beliefs that helped form the law firm, with his partner Bill Winters. When someone is wrongfully injured they deserve just compensation for the hardships they have been put through. Winters and Yonker helps clients in their fight for justice. They strictly handle personal injury cases which mostly comprises of auto accidents and slip and fall accidents, among many other types of vehicle related accidents, death cases and even electrocutions.