If you have been injured in an accident of some sort in, there are certain this you need to do to protect your rights and interests. In addition, you should be aware of these six mistakes to avoid in injury cases.
Failing to Proactively Retain Legal Counsel
Failing to proactively retain legal counsel in a personal injury case could be a grave mistake. A great deal is at stake when a person needs to file a claim with an insurance company. Many people fail to engage legal counsel at that point in time. If you realize that you need representation later on in your case, it may be too late for an attorney to become involved.
Often, victims without legal representation do not obtain the compensation to which they are entitled through the insurance claims settlement process. More significantly, people without attorneys can make mistakes in the claims process, and end up being prevented from obtaining any compensation whatsoever. Although filing a personal injury claim may seem straightforward, it can be a confusing process for an inexperienced person.
Giving a Recorded Statement to an Insurance Company
Another common mistake to avoid is giving a recorded statement to an insurance company during the claims process. There is a misconception that insurance companies are always interested in settling claims in a fair manner. In fact, the primary goal of an insurance company is to make a profit. A recorded statement made without an experienced personal injury lawyer’s advisement could be used against you and damage your claim.
An insurance company adds to its profit margins by reducing the amount of money paid out in settlements. Therefore, a claims adjuster may be intent on finding holes in your claim, even if your claim is entirely valid.
Settling Prematurely with an Insurance Company
Generally, in personal injury cases, once you settle with an insurance company you cannot seek more money. It may seem desirable initially, but a quick settlement typically will not be in your favor.
Many insurance companies try to pressure an injured person to agree to a settlement that is well below what is warranted or necessary. Early on in your claim, it may be impossible to tell what your medical expenses will be. By settling too early, you could lose out on having your expenses fully covered.
Fail to Properly Document an Accident
Failing to properly document an accident is another mistake to avoid. This can be done by contacting local police, and taking photographs of the scene and damages to your vehicle. Even if the accident is minor, the police can make a report that verifies the date, time, location, and events. A police officer may even determine who is at fault. Pictures may be referred to later on to confirm how the accident happened, based on the damage.
It may be wise to speak to any witnesses at the accident scene. All essential contact information should be collected so that they can be contacted later. Witness statements can be invaluable if the facts of the accident are disputed by the at-fault driver or the insurance companies.
Failing to Take a Case Seriously
Many people fail to take a personal injury case seriously. Injuries may not seem that bad at first, or they simply assume that everything will work out through the claims process. Injuries can worsen over time, or complications may arise.
Fail to Follow Doctor’s Orders
One major mistake people can make in a personal injury case is failing to follow doctor’s orders. Not only does a person jeopardize his or her health by failing to treat properly, but it can also impair a claim for compensation or a personal injury lawsuit.
In a personal injury case, an injured person has a legal obligation to mitigate damages. Failing to follow a doctor’s order is a failure to mitigate damages and injuries sustained in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence. In addition, an insurance company may argue that the victim’s injuries are not serious or deserving of compensation if the person does not seek or follow up on medical treatmen.