Accidents hit you differently when they involve a family member. They are not news briefs you glance at and move on. Most of the time, you’re left wondering how to best support your loved one as they go through such a difficult time.
You may want to brace yourself because accidents present many challenges, especially when your loved one has suffered injuries. Many aspects of their life and yours come to a standstill as you both figure out how to navigate the effects of personal injuries.
Things will get even more complicated if the family member files a personal injury claim that goes to trial.
What is a Personal Injury Claim?
A personal injury claim or case is a legal dispute. You file one when you’ve been involved in an accident resulting from someone else’s negligence or lack of oversight. The point of filing this case is to seek justice and compensation for your injuries.
Generally, personal injury claims are about traffic accidents, but you can also file them due to workplace accidents, medical malpractice, and even product liability.
Progression to Personal Injury Trial
It’s worth noting that most personal injury cases don’t go to trial. The Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates that only about 4% of the cases proceed to trial.
Usually, the two parties come to an agreement and settle out of court, which is the easier part. If your loved one’s personal injury case goes to trial, it will be a tough and, at times, overwhelming journey.
Your loved one will need your support as they fight for their right to compensation.
Here are a few tips to help you support a family member going through a personal injury trial:
- Be Present
Your family member is not just going through legal issues at the moment. They are struggling with injuries, physically, psychologically, or both.
Keep in mind that their life is not what it was before the accident. They’re probably unable to work and are struggling with home and medical bills.
The one thing you should prioritize when your loved one is going through a lot is being on their side. Be present and make sure they don’t feel alone in their situation.
- Encourage Positive Actions
The family member on trial may not be in a good state of mind. It’s not uncommon for someone like that to make irrational decisions or act out of character.
While it’s understandable that their situation can be overwhelming, all is fair game in court, and certain actions may damage their credibility.
Keep in mind that the other party’s defense is on the lookout for anything they can use against your loved one in court.
How you and other family members behave is also crucial, as it may influence the behavior of the person on trial.
- Minimize the Questions
It’s normal to want information as the case progresses because it is someone close to you, and you’re concerned. But don’t push for the details you don’t have because, at times, the individual may not want to delve into the case unless they are in their attorney’s presence.
If knowing about certain details doesn’t help with the case, you should probably take a step back and focus on things you can help with.
- Help with Appointments
A stressed individual may struggle to keep track of their appointments. This is where you may come in to offer assistance. Help your loved one stay organized and keep track of the places they need to be.
There would be many meetups with the personal injury lawyer handling your loved one’s case. Make sure they don’t forget about these appointments and offer to accompany them if they need someone present.
The same goes for medical and school appointments. You could offer to at least drive.
- Lend an Ear
When someone means a lot to you, it won’t trouble you to listen, even if it’s a drunken rant. If your loved one wants to share, show them you’re ready to listen.
A legal dispute is stressful for those involved. The affected family member may find it easier to constantly talk about the case or not mention it unless necessary.
Regardless of how the family member chooses to handle their problem, keep the doors of communication open without judgment. Remember that it’s about them and listen more than talk.
An injured loved one who is also on trial is no doubt going through a trying time. The first thing you need to do when intending to offer support is to ask how you can be of assistance. The individual will appreciate your desire to help and your consideration of what makes them comfortable.