There are a number of ways you can undermine your own personal injury case. Even if you’re not currently pursuing compensation for an injury, it can still be beneficial to have an understanding of the common pitfalls.
Sometimes in an attempt to avoid the perceived cost of legal representation, people opt out of hiring an attorney and choose to take matters into their own hands. This can severely lessen your chances of receiving full compensation for your injuries. Thus, it is a good idea to at least consult with an attorney, especially considering that initial consultations are free and can help you better understand your options moving forward.
One of the benefits of an initial consultation is that a lawyer can warn you of the dangers associated with, say, posting on social media.
Which brings us to our first major mistake: posting pictures or comments about your injury can actually harm your personal injury claim.
Even if a social media post seems innocent, you may unknowingly give ammo to the defendant (or insurance company).
Whether it’s a defendant attempting to avoid paying you or an insurance company looking to maintain its profits, the other party will use whatever evidence it can get find to downplay your injuries. So a picture of you hanging out with your friends might seem innocuous, but it could be used to show that your leg injury is not quite as serious as you say it is.
The bottom line is this: avoid social media while your case is underway.
Another big mistake that people make is missing doctor appointments. In fact, right after the accident occurs, you should seek out medical attention.
Many people think that, because they don’t feel injured, they don’t have to see a doctor immediately – after an automobile accident, for instance. In fact, the opposite is true. Even if you don’t feel any pain or discomfort, you should still see a doctor. Why? Because some injuries take time to show symptoms.
For instance, if you sustain a head injury, but don’t have headaches until a week later, the defendant (or insurance company) could argue that, since you didn’t see a doctor right away, the injury is not related to the accident. This could have severe consequences for your case, as the medical bills associated with your head injury could become astronomical and you want to make sure you’re fairly compensated for those expenses.
And once you get started, you have to keep going. Do everything your doctor asks you to do. That means going to all your follow up appointments and taking all your prescribed meds. Not only is this good for your case; it’s also good for your overall well being.
Statements to Insurance Company
It has probably become clear that insurance companies (including the defendant’s) will do whatever is in their power to undermine your claim. This is the case even if you’re dealing with your own insurance company. These companies are for-profit organizations looking to serve their bottom line and nothing else. In this regard, you should avoid giving any statements to your (or the defendant’s) insurance company without first consulting with your attorney. The insurance adjuster will take advantage of any stress-induced confusion and attempt to solicit a statement that negatively impacts the value of your claim.
When it comes to negotiations, you want to be sure not to accept the first offer. Insurance companies will almost always attempt to low-ball you, so even if it seems high, don’t give in to the temptation. This is why it’s a good idea to have legal representation, as a lawyer can be your main point of contact, dealing with all matters of negotiation and even taking charge of filing all the appropriate documents. With an attorney, you can greatly reduce your stress level and raise your chances of obtaining fair remuneration. Of course, in the end, the final decisions are yours to make, so be sure to follow your attorney’s lead during negotiations. That way, you don’t lose out on higher compensation.
These are a few of the common mistakes people make when dealing with personal injury claims. To better understand the process, please contact an experienced attorney like Laurie Robbins who understands the ins and outs of these types of claims and can help you avoid these pitfalls.