8 Mistakes to Avoid in Personal Injury Lawsuits
In order to win a personal injury lawsuit and receive a good settlement, you need two things. A qualified attorney armed with adequate experience. However, a lawyer can only help you win half the battle. The second thing you need is learning how to avoid doing costly mistakes that can make you lose out on your compensation.
Are you about to hire a personal injury attorney? Make sure you avoid the following mistakes.
1. Failing to take photos of the accident scene
In order to prove that the other driver caused the accident, you need credible proof. Why? Because you’ll forget some details about the incident as the days go by. This gives the defendant’s insurance company a good chance at shooting down your claim for higher compensation.
Failing to take photos can affect your testimony in court due to a poor recollection of events. One can easily contradict their previous statements and this brings about issues. If your injuries aren’t that bad, take close-up pictures of both cars. Take snaps from different angles and check whether there is drug paraphernalia on the offender’s dashboard or co-driver seat.
2. Going home instead of seeking medical care immediately
If you decide to go home or work right after an accident, then you don’t need a personal injury attorney. Why? Because the chances of you winning the lawsuit are marginal. The defense will argue that if you carried on with your daily activities right after the accident, then you weren’t hurt.
During traumatic events, the body releases a potent combination of hormones that dull the nervous system. In this situation, a victim can appear normal but they might have severe internal injuries that they aren’t aware of. No matter how your body feels, you should always rush to the hospital to get your injuries treated and documented.
3. Discussing your ongoing trial on social media
It’s illegal to publicize details of ongoing court cases. Despite the fact that people use social media to vent out their frustrations, disclosing any details of your case can directly affect your chances of winning. The defendant’s team probably has people watching your moves on Facebook and Twitter. A simple selfie of you going about daily house chores can be interpreted as a sign of full recovery.
No matter how pissed off you might get during the trial, keep off social media. Also, avoid talking to people whom you’ve just met about your ongoing case.
4. Skipping doctor’s appointments
Why is it important to attend each doctor’s appointment in your recovery treatment? Because failing to do so is an indicator of full recovery. If the defense team learns that your doctor has a hard time keeping track of you, they’ll take the opportunity to dismiss your claim. In addition, the defendant’s attorney might argue that your current injuries are a result of a different incident.
If you can’t make it to your appointment, call the doctor in advance to reschedule it. Alternatively, you can request for home-based treatment if moving around causes intense pain.
5. Talking to the defendant’s insurance investigators without having your attorney present
Insurance companies will go to great lengths to avoid liability for your accident. One way of accomplishing this is by getting your statements before you hire a personal injury attorney. Just like an arrest, anything you say to the insurance company’s investigators will be used against you in court. These investigators adopt a friendly demeanor to get you to loosen up during the questioning, however, their intentions are far from friendly.
You’re under no obligation to speak to the defendant’s insurance lawyers. However, you have the right to have an attorney present during questioning. In fact, it’s the best way of avoiding insurance lawyers because they won’t get the opportunity to corner you with incriminating questions.
6. Accepting the first settlement offered by the defendant’s insurance company
In cases involving severe physical injuries, insurance companies will try their best to end the case by offering quick settlements. However, the insurance company offers an amount that’s either a half or a third of what you would get if you have a personal injury attorney.
Despite the difference, some people just settle for the insurance’s compensation offer due to the time-consuming nature of personal injury lawsuits. However, once you accept it, you cannot reopen the case when you experience long-term complications as a result of the injuries sustained in the accident
7. Disobeying doctor’s orders
Sometimes, a doctor may tell you that the injuries will take at least eight months to heal. However, after three or four months, the pain reduces drastically and you feel confident about moving around. Does this mean that you can now resume with your usual lifestyle? Absolutely not.
If in the course of your recovery, you decide to return to work and injure your spine due to heavy lifting, then your personal injury lawsuit is over. Your attorney cannot defend you in situations where you deliberately disobeyed doctor’s orders.
8. Driving your car without your lawyer’s approval
Did you know that you require your lawyer’s consent to resume driving during a personal injury lawsuit involving a car accident? Your lawyer will follow up with your medical doctor and then submit these reports to the defendant’s attorney. You also need your lawyer’s approval to renew your driving license if it expires during the period of your ongoing court case.
Remember, your defendant’s insurance investigators will monitor your every move in order to catch you violating your doctor’s orders. An innocent drive to the grocery store is enough to bring down your case.
Your personal injury lawyer knows what’s best for you because he or she has experience in dealing with similar cases. That’s why you shouldn’t hold back any detail regarding your personal injury. Being honest prevents the defense team from surprising your attorney with information that you hadn’t revealed.
Remember, the sooner you hire a personal injury attorney, the higher your chances are of winning the lawsuit.