How Can Family Members Support the Legal Process When Their Loved One Is Injured?


If your loved one has been injured in an accident due to someone else’s negligence, they may be entitled to compensation. But handling the legal process can be challenging and overwhelming, especially for those with painful physical injuries.

Fortunately, you can play a significant role as your loved one pursues the compensation they deserve for the injuries.

San Antonio personal injury lawyer Dr. Louis Patino dives into how you can help your loved one navigate the legal process, from researching legal counsel to dealing with insurance adjusters.

Understanding Negligence

Any individual who wants to recover compensation after an accident must prove another person or party caused the accident through negligent behavior. Negligence can comprise many different actions or behaviors, including:

  • A drunk driver running someone else off the road
  • An employer failing to provide protective gear or fix broken machinery
  • A manufacturer designing, building, or selling equipment, tools, or parts with a known defect
  • A distracted motorist failing to stop at an intersection
  • A driver unsafely changing lanes, tailgating, or failing to yield the right of way
  • A restaurant failing to clean a spillage or otherwise provide a safe environment.

If someone else’s negligence caused the accident, resulting in your loved one’s injury, they can recover significant compensation via a personal injury claim. A payout can cover their past and future medical bills, lost wages and future earning potential, the cost of home adaptations such as mobility aids, vehicle repairs, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and the overall impact of their injury on their life and relationships, such as if they cannot contribute around the home or enjoy certain benefits, such as physical affection and intimacy.

But filing a personal injury claim can be complex and daunting, so your support can be substantial for a loved one.

You should always consult a personal injury attorney for personalized advice and to secure the best result, but there are several ways you can support a loved one through the process.

How You Can Help

Researching Attorneys

Finding a personal injury law firm isn’t too hard — with TV commercials, billboards, recommendations, and a quick Google search, you have hundreds of firms at your fingertips. The challenge is choosing the right one.

There isn’t an easy answer to how to pick the best personal injury lawyer — it’s entirely subjective and depends on your loved one’s preferences and needs. When helping with research or vetting attorneys on their behalf, look for a law firm that specializes in personal injury — even better if they have experience with the type of accident your loved one was in.

Don’t be afraid to ask about their past cases and results; they may not be able to give you specifics, but they can confirm if their past clients had similar injuries or accidents.

Be wary of firms that guarantee a specific sum. It’s impossible to predict the success of a case without understanding what happened, who is at fault, and the evidence supporting a claim. When an attorney promises a payout, the likely result is either:

  1. They will end up disappointing you.
  2. They are taking a chance on the claim being worth significant compensation and are making a conservative estimate they are confident they can negotiate. Then, the attorney will encourage your loved one to settle fast so they can move on to a new case.

You should also consider the size of the firm. A national firm with offices in every state and big-money settlements to its name might be reassuring, but your loved one might struggle to reach their attorney when they have a question or want an update on their case. Smaller firms typically take on fewer cases and may not have substantial marketing budgets for flashy TV campaigns, but they offer a tailored service and take the time to get to know you and your family.

Accompanying Your Loved One to Appointments

Following a treatment plan is critical for anyone injured in an accident. But when your loved one is entitled to compensation, getting prompt medical attention and taking medication as prescribed can massively impact a claim.

If your loved one’s injuries worsen because they miss an appointment or exert themselves against doctor’s orders, the person or party responsible might use it to reduce their liability (and, therefore, how much they should pay).

You can support your loved one by taking them to appointments and ensuring they take prescribed medication on time or do exercises recommended by a physical therapist.

You can also help by providing additional context to the doctor if your loved one is comfortable with you staying in the room during appointments. A loved one might downplay their pain, forget vital details, or struggle to communicate. You can explain your observations, ensuring there is a record should a doctor need to testify or provide medical reports as evidence.

Keeping a Post-Accident Journal

A post-accident journal is valuable evidence for a personal injury claim. A loved one navigating their recovery may struggle to recall details weeks, months, or even years after their accident. Keeping a journal provides a space for logging symptoms and pain levels, recording medical appointments, treatment plans, and conversations with insurance companies, and demonstrating the daily impact of their injuries — what most people do not see.

Your loved one’s frustration at dropping a bag of groceries, struggling to bend down to play with their children, or not being able to grip a hairbrush are tiny snapshots worth documenting, as they help illustrate the emotional distress they suffer — and can recover additional compensation for.

Your role in helping your loved one keep a pain journal will depend on their injuries — you may only need to remind them to record an entry or write about a notable event, or you may need to transcribe entries for them if they struggle to grip a pen.

Dealing with Insurance Adjusters

After your loved one’s injury, they will likely hear from an insurance adjuster — a representative of the other party’s insurance company — whose job is to assess the accident and determine how much they should offer to settle the case outside of court.

Unfortunately, an insurance adjuster’s primary concern is paying out as little as possible, and they might take advantage of an injury victim’s vulnerability and confusion. A swift resolution and quick payout can seem tempting, but the initial offer is usually much lower than a claim’s value.

An insurance adjuster might press for information about injuries or try to elicit an apology — even if your loved one wasn’t responsible — to reduce liability.

It’s good advice for anyone injured in an accident to avoid talking about their injuries, especially if they do not yet fully understand how long recovery might take — or if it’s even possible, as they might miss out on additional compensation they deserve.

You or your loved one should seek legal advice before speaking to an adjuster. A lawyer can handle all communication with insurance companies on your and your family member’s behalf, but you can help by fielding calls and politely but firmly pointing an adjuster to the attorney for follow-up questions or requests for information.

Supporting a loved one through the legal process after an accident can be daunting. However, you are not alone, and your help can make a difference by providing the space and time your loved one needs to prioritize their health and well-being.

If your loved one has been injured in an accident due to someone else’s negligence, they may be entitled to compensation. But handling the legal process can be challenging and overwhelming, especially for those with painful physical injuries. Fortunately, you can play a significant role as your loved one pursues the compensation they deserve for…

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