You’ve probably seen advertisements about how you can receive compensation if you’ve taken a particular medication or been injured in a car accident. Most likely, you’ve assumed you’ll never need to file such a suit.

But if a disaster should strike, and you can’t cover your medical bills, lost wages, and other living expenses, a personal injury suit is one of the best ways to make ends meet. Before filing one, however, there are a few essentials you should know.

1. You can seek compensation in a variety of categories

Most people know they can obtain compensation for medical bills by filing and winning a personal injury case, but that’s not the only available option. According to Becker Law, a firm located in Kentucky, you might also qualify for compensation on the basis of:

  • Both current and future medical expenses

  • Lost wages

  • Pain and suffering

  • Altered lifestyle or future lost earning capacity

  • Other losses that relate to your injury

If you pursue compensation for an injury, try to investigate all the potential forms of compensation with the help of your attorney.

2. There’s a time limit on when you can file

Don’t assume you can postpone your personal injury action until you know how the injury will affect you in the long term. First, it can be vital for you to get the necessary money to cover your medical expenses as well as pain and suffering as soon as possible after the incident.

A lawsuit could drag on for months, even a year or more, so getting the ball rolling may reduce the amount of time you have to carry your bills without support.

More important, though, personal injury claims carry a statute of limitations. That means you have a time limit to file your case before you are no longer allowed to make a legal claim. The time limit varies by state, but it’s typically between two and four years.

3. You shouldn’t owe anything until you win your case

Many people who have been injured and it appears that someone else is at fault choose not to pursue justice because they fear it will be expensive. But that’s a common misconception about personal injury lawsuits.

A reputable attorney will not charge you a dime until he or she has won your case. If you don’t win, you still shouldn’t owe your legal representative a thing.

When you interview potential lawyers, choose one that won’t try to charge you until you have your settlement in hand.

4. You need a lawyer to fight for you

In most states, there’s no law that declares you may not represent yourself in a personal injury case. This can seem appealing because you wouldn’t have to pay the lawyer’s commission at the conclusion of the suit.

But it’s unwise to go it alone. An awful lot goes into building a professional case, including confusing paperwork and legal errors that are so easy to commit when you aren’t conversant with the laws.

You’re also more likely to win higher compensation with an attorney’s counsel. Your lawyer will know how to use the facts of the matter to design a compelling case, and that will show in a higher award.

5. Your case is only as good as your evidence

If you plan to file a personal injury claim, what you do immediately after the incident could make all the difference. Gather as much evidence as possible, including police reports (if applicable), photos, and testimonials.

If time has passed since the event that caused your injuries, and you didn’t have the presence of mind or ability to gather evidence at that point, reach out to witnesses and compile statements as soon as you can. Write down everything you remember, and present that to your attorney to include in creating a compelling argument based on truthful information.

6. You can file more than one personal injury case for the same injury

There may often be multiple parties in a single incident involving a personal injury. There’s the person who apparently caused the injury, your insurance company, medical personnel, and involved or at least observant bystanders.

If your insurance company failed to treat you fairly, the doctor made a mistake, or a bystander might have made the situation worse rather than better, you could have multiple parties at fault.

But you can’t necessarily sue more than one person in a single case. It may require several lawsuits to get all the compensation you’re due.

7. You shouldn’t feel guilty about filing a personal injury suit

If you’re seriously injured, your lifestyle can change dramatically. You might be swamped with medical bills or put out of work for a lengthy period of time. Sometimes, you might be unable to work for the rest of your life.

In these situations, you need compensation to sustain you. It will serve as your lifeline when you’re not sure about your next paycheck or how to make ends meet. You needn’t feel guilty about making the best possible move for yourself and your family.