Let’s say you’ve been injured in a car accident and you’re pretty certain it’s a slam-dunk case against the other driver. Nothing is a sure thing, and that is particularly true with personal injury cases. The strongest case can fall apart like a house of cards and you can end up with no recovery. While some of the reasons cases go south are out of your control, there are several mistakes that will easily ruin your personal injury case that you should know about to avoid.
1) Not getting treatment or not following through with treatment. Insurance companies and defense attorneys look for and exploit gaps in treatment after an accident. The reasoning is that if your injury was so bad to merit a six-figure claim, why did you not go see a specialist the first three times you were referred? You may have a perfectly valid reason, but the damage may still be done. Always follow through with prescribed treatment, including going to appointments and literally following doctor’s orders.
2) Making a statement to the insurance company. Talking with the insurance company may seem like the logical progression in the path, but this is not the case, especially for insurance companies representing the other driver who you are accusing of negligence. Even your own insurance company should be treated gingerly when it comes to requests for statements regarding the accident or your injuries.
3) Going for the easy, but low money. Your insurance company has a vested interest in getting your claim settled as soon as possible and for the least amount of money possible. Neither objective may actually make you whole, however, and settling early with the insurance company can make the problem worse in the long run. This is particularly the case if there are injuries that manifest later or treatment for an existing injury does not work.
4) Not using a lawyer. Remember that an attorney that you hire to assist you in filing your claim is solely vested in ensuring that you receive as much as you are entitled to and that your interests are protected and championed. You can be certain the insurance company has a fleet of lawyers advising them every step of the way, and it is always in your best interest to have an experienced personal injury attorney on your side from the very beginning.
5) Not documenting. Lawyers, like a personal injury lawyer love documentation for good reason: often times it is the only objective record of the aftermath of an accident, be it photographs of the damage immediately afterwards, or photographs of injuries. Injuries heal and cars are fixed or junked. Failing to get documentation of these things as soon as possible can jeopardize your chances to really show the extent of the damage. Likewise, failing to get a police report can make filing an insurance claim very difficult and can leave you without a vital piece of evidence, especially if the police find the other driver at fault.