Personal injury cases are tricky—proving pain and suffering alongside whatever parts of the injury are physically visible requires an experienced attorney and a strongly built case. Even the slightest unintentional error can affect your case’s progression and overall success, which makes every conversation with another attorney or insurance adjuster crucial. Even a post carelessly made to Facebook about the accident could be the difference between a win or a loss for your case. Below, we’ve gathered and elaborated on ten of the most common mistakes made in personal injury cases.
- Waiting to get medical treatment.
If you have any reason to believe you’re injured after an accident, then for your health and potential case’s sake, you should get medical attention as soon as possible. If your case goes to court, a jury will have to determine whether your claim of being injured is credible and a delay in seeking medical help may make your claim seem less credible. The longer the wait between the accident and treatment for your injuries, the more possibility exists that you injured yourself outside of the accident—even if that’s not true, that’s possibly what the jury will think.
- Representing yourself.
Recounting how you were injured in front of a jury isn’t enough to win a case—even if you’re telling the truth about what happened. Practicing law, particularly personal injury law, requires firsthand knowledge and experience with the process, legal doctrines, and insurance companies and their contracts and regulations. Without this kind of experience, putting together your case in the proper way is exponentially more difficult (and less likely to be successful), which leaves the possibility open that something will go wrong. The best thing you can do for yourself is hire an experienced lawyer to support and defend you.
- Giving written or recorded statements.
One of the first things insurance companies (yours and anyone else’s involved in the accident) will do is try to get recorded statements from everyone involved in the crash. Insurance adjusters often use recorded statements against accident victims as claims progress to lower compensation. cd—doing either of those could doom your case.
- Not keeping a record of evidence.
Evidence makes or breaks a case of any type, but this is particularly true in personal injury cases. Take pictures of the accident and any vehicles involved before there are repairs or anything beyond repair is sold for salvage, and also take photographs of your injury or injuries when you initially receive them and throughout the treatment process. The more evidence (particularly visual proof) you can retain to back up your claims, the better.
- Posting about your case on social media.
If your attorney ends up filing a lawsuit, any posts you’ve made on social media may be requested by the opposing attorney(s). That means any comments or statements that are out of line in reference to the accident can be obtained. It’s also simply no one’s business but yours and your lawyer’s—it’s advisable to keep your comments about the case between the two of you rather than posting them to the web.
- Ignoring medical advice.
The whole point of a personal injury case is to convince the insurance company (or companies) or jury involved that you’re truly injured, so it’s important that you follow any treatment advice you’re given by your doctor. Not only to improve your own health after the accident, but to also keep a consistent record of your attempts to treat your injury. Ignoring treatment advice makes it look like your injury isn’t as serious as it really is, which could dissuade a jury from believing your claims.
- Signing documents you don’t understand.
Unless you know exactly what a document means or dictates, do not sign it without your attorney reviewing it first. You could very well be signing a release or waiving your claims for the case because it’s disguised with enough legal jargon that it obscures the meaning for you and you feel enough pressure to sign it that you don’t feel like you have a choice. You could also unwittingly authorize an insurance company to access your medical records. To be safe, have your attorney review your paperwork and don’t sign anything if you don’t fully understand what it means.
- Not cooperating with your lawyer.
When you hire an attorney to work with you on your case, opting to not cooperate with their advice and plan for your claim is counterproductive. Your attorney’s expertise lies in the law and their job is to protect your rights and advise you on how to best present your case—especially if it goes to court. Let them do what you hired them for and work together to file your claim.
- Lying or hiding evidence.
Information related to your injury or previous accident claims can both flesh out your case for your attorney. Without being aware of things like this, your attorney can’t plan to address them if they come up, so hiding evidence or lying about accident claims and details will hurt your case by default. Be open about all related details so you and your lawyer can work together to forge the strongest case possible.
- Waiting to get legal advice.
It’s really easy to say or do something wrong once the insurance adjusters start calling after an accident, so calling a personal injury attorney as soon as possible to have him or her handle these matters is your best bet for success. Do this and then you can concentrate on healing with the peace of mind that a professional is on the job. If you’ve been in an accident and have sustained injuries, contact us today for a free evaluation.