Accidents can be overwhelming events, especially since they occur out of the blue and when we least expect them. Unfortunately, the trouble does not always end there. Oftentimes, mistakes are made during the personal injury claims process that can make an injured person’s life even more difficult, and can ultimately cost them the compensation they deserve.
If you are in the midst of a personal injury case, read up on these common mistakes that are frequently made during personal injury claims, and learn how you might be able to avoid making them:
- Representing yourself: Attorneys go through extensive training and education to hone their skills and specialize in specific areas of law. To assume that you can do what they do without any knowledge or experience would be a mistake. We often trust professionals to handle tasks we do not have the abilities to take on, so you should not treat this situation any differently. Instead of representing yourself, trust a legal professional to represent you, allowing you to have the best possible chance of obtaining the compensation you need and deserve.
- Delaying medical treatment: Not only are you not a lawyer, but you are also not a doctor. Do not downplay your injuries and assume that they are minor. Lots of injuries do not produce symptoms right away, which means the injuries you probably thought were minor might actually be worse. Unfortunately, if you put off a trip to the doctor, this will harm your personal injury claim and the insurance company might argue that your injuries did not occur as a result of the accident since you did not seek treatment right away. In addition to harming your claim, not seeing a doctor right away might also put your wellbeing at risk. Head injuries are particularly tricky since they can have severe, life-altering effects, but are not always immediately accompanied by symptoms. Protect your health and your claim and seek medical care immediately after an accident.
- Delayed obtaining legal advice: If you are not sure about hiring an attorney, you should at least seek legal advice. Oftentimes, personal injury law firms offer free initial consultations, so call an attorney right away and discuss your case with him or her before you make any decisions.
- Giving written statements or recorded interviews: An insurance adjuster will call you soon after an accident occurs. You are shocked by the event and probably in a vulnerable state, so they will try to prey on this moment by trying to glean a statement from you. However, doing so will only harm you, so never give a written or recorded statement, and absolutely never sign anything before speaking with an attorney. Once you settle your case, you cannot reopen if you later realize that you made a mistake in accepting a settlement offer.
- Failing to preserve important evidence: In any legal claim, evidence is vitally important. As time passes, evidence might disappear and witnesses might begin to forget the details of an event. Do your part and preserve as much evidence as possible. This includes taking photographs of the scene and your injuries, as well as the vehicles involved and the surrounding area in which the accident occurred.
- Ignoring your physician’s advice: You are trying to convince an adjuster or a jury that you were injured in an accident, so if you end up ignoring your doctor’s advice, or missing follow-up appointments and treatments, it will appear as though you were not as injured as you claimed to be.
- Posting on social media: Lots of us are addicted to social media and use it every day to post about every detail in our lives. This is generally not a major issue for most people, but if you are active on social media while you are pursuing a personal injury claim, you might be providing ammunition for the insurance company to use against you. For example, even if you post a picture of yourself smiling at a birthday party, this can be taken out of context and used to weaken your case. It might be argued that, because you seem to be enjoying yourself, the injury did not affect you as much as you claim it has. Stay off of social media until your case reaches a resolution to avoid accidentally ruining your chance at securing compensation.
- You signed a release or medical authorization: Unless you understand exactly what these documents are, do not sign them. You might be signing a release that waives your claim forever. It is also not uncommon for insurance adjusters to ask injured individuals to sign a medical authorization that permits access to your medical records, so whatever you do, avoid signing these documents without seeking legal advice first.
- Lying and hiding evidence: While you do not want to give more information than is necessary to the insurance company, whatever you do give should be honest and truthful. You should also provide all relevant information to your attorney regarding your medical history and other previous accident claims. This will allow him or her to be better prepared in case these issues arise in your case.
PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEYS IN TULSA
If you sustained injuries in an accident caused by the negligent or careless actions of another party, you need to work with an attorney who will diligently fight to protect your right to compensation against big companies and insurance agencies. At Richardson Richardson Boudreaux, PLLC, our Tulsa personal injury attorneys would be honored to serve as your legal advocate.
Do not hesitate to reach out to us. Call our firm at 918-492-7674 to set up a complimentary consultation. You will not owe us any legal fees if we cannot win your case!