Many well-intended clients simply don’t understand how certain actions will affect their case or be perceived from all of those involved. When someone files a personal injury claim, they must be careful of their conduct in and outside of the courtroom. Even with the guidance of the most experienced legal professionals, it’s still possible to do something that could accidentally sabotage a personal injury claim.
Here is a list of the eight most common mistakes clients make:
1. Failing to Seek Prompt Medical Attention
“After an accident, the most important thing to do before anything else is seek medical attention,” Claire Fore says. Failing to do so could not only jeopardize your health, but also hurt your claim for financial recovery. By delaying the treatment of your injuries, you are giving the insurance company a reason to avoid liability.
2. Forgetting to Collect Information at the Scene
Obviously if you are seriously injured, you may not be able to collect evidence before leaving the scene of an accident. However, if you are physically able you should gather the following information:
- Photographs of damages and the accident scene
- Name, contact, and insurance information of anyone involved in the accident
- Names and contact information of any witnesses
Also…it would be wise to keep a journal and write down everything you remember about what happened. Be sure to note the weather conditions, the direction you were traveling, and any events that led up to or followed the accident.
3. Disobeying Your Doctor’s Orders
After getting a medical opinion, it is imperative to follow the doctor’s orders. For example, if you return to work when you were ordered to rest, this could be detrimental to your health and possibly your personal injury claim. Any actions the victim takes that could further aggravate injuries or prolong recovery will be highly scrutinized by the insurance companies.
4. Negotiating With the Insurance Companies
You almost need a translator to communicate effectively with insurance companies. It requires thorough knowledge of the law and an understanding of the insurance company’s confusing language. It’s important to realize that the insurance company’s priority is to settle your claim for as little as possible. Without understanding the law and without the benefit of evidence collected from a thorough investigation, you may not get a fair settlement. “Never sign anything presented by the insurance company directly following an accident. They will do everything in their power to avoid paying out the settlement you deserve,” Claire says.
5. Settling Too Soon
Whether you hire an attorney or not, you need to avoid settling your case too soon. Insurance companies are notorious for using a variety of tactics to try to get you to settle for less than you deserve. You need to think long-term in order to secure the best result for yourself and your family, and the insurance company will only pay one time at the end of the case in a lump-sum settlement.
6. Oversharing on Social Media
Outside of your trusted family, do not discuss your case with anyone but your attorney. This includes avoiding the subject with co-workers, neighbors and especially anyone on social media. Claire says, “Insurance companies search the web and social media just as we do and can often times find things that when taken out of context tend to minimize the claim.”
7. Misrepresenting Details of the Accident or Injury
Claire says, “It is better to say nothing at all than to say something that is not true. It will always come back to haunt you, and your credibility is lost.” No matter how powerful the evidence may be, a false or exaggerated account of events may be called into question. Sometimes a false account may be accidental, such as if you give a statement regarding your injuries before you see a doctor. A claims adjuster may go in and claim that you misrepresented your damages.
8. Avoiding Legal Representation
Not all accidents will require that you hire an attorney, but if you are having issues understanding your full legal rights you need to consult an experienced, board-certified personal injury attorney. If you don’t, you may not know what your case is worth. And you will not be able to make an informed decision about settling with the insurance companies.
Have You Been Injured In A Texas Area Car Accident?
If you've been injured in a car accident you need to speak with an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our Bedford, Texas office directly at 817.440.3888 to schedule your free consultation. We help car accident victims throughout Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington as well as all areas of Texas.
At Parker Law Firm, our experienced personal injury lawyers believe people matter. We are committed to our clients, not case numbers, and we believe in the power of the civil justice system. With years spent both representing accident victims and participating in the state legislative process, our founder, Brad Parker, has developed a deep understanding of the law and gained unique experience that helps him get results for his clients.