One mistake after a personal injury accident can significantly impact your right to recover compensation. Here are the top 5 critical mistakes that people often make.
Many personal injury victims fail to hire an attorney either due to fears of the costs or underestimating the value of their claims. It may seem easier and less expensive to handle an insurance claim on your own, but in most cases, an attorney can help injury victims recover more compensation even after legal fees than they would on their own. Additionally, an attorney can relieve a ton of stress that comes with filing a claim while healing from a severe injury. If you do decide to represent yourself, the at-fault party’s insurance company will know that you do not intend to go to trial. Therefore, they will not be motivated to take your claim seriously and offer fair compensation. Instead, they may attempt to intimidate you into accepting an unfairly low settlement or use tactics to reduce or deny your claim.
Discussing fault at the scene of the accident or the extent of your injuries can unintentionally hurt your claim. Even if you believe you may have contributed to your personal injury accident, it is imperative that you do not admit fault. Your own speculation may not be correct when an attorney investigates your case, and saying so could eventually become evidence and be used against you to reduce or eliminate your compensation. Additionally, refrain from posting about the accident on social media. Any post you make about the accident can possibly be misconstrued and used against you by the at-fault party or their insurer.
It is critical to see a doctor as soon as you leave the scene of an accident if you are not taken to a hospital. It is not only beneficial to your health but there must be documentation to link your injuries to the accident. If there is a delay in seeking treatment, the insurance company can argue that your injuries were not caused by the accident involving their policyholder or are not as severe as your claim.
To recover compensation, you must have evidence that another party is responsible for your injury. For example, if you fail to take videos or photos of the scene and your injuries, or do not get contact information for the at-fault party or any witnesses, then it can be challenging to prove another party is liable.
In some cases, an at-fault party’s insurance company will reach out to a personal injury victim to attempt to settle the case quickly, especially if there is evidence that their policyholder is to blame. The letter they send with their offer will typically include instructions to sign and return it as soon as possible to receive payment. Although it can be tempting if you desperately need the cash, this initial settlement offer is typically unfairly low. If you sign this form, known as a release of liability, you cannot pursue any further compensation if your injuries end up being worse than you initially expected.