If you have been in an accident, there is a long list of personal and legal items to worry about. Will you make your son’s soccer game? Will you need surgery on your leg? Will you be reimbursed for any medical treatment you will need to receive? Whatever your immediate worries may be, there are a few mistakes you must avoid if you want the fairest possible outcome and compensation for your case.
The first steps you take following an accident will greatly impact the outcome, so here are some common mistakes to avoid.
Failing to Receive Medical Care
One of the most important things you need to do following an accident is to seek medical attention. If you do not, the insurance company will assume that you are not hurt, and you have no case. Both parties involved are responsible for proving that they have been injured as a result of the accident, regardless of who is at fault. Insurance companies will use any gaps in treatment against the plaintiff and try to prove that the injuries were not a result of the accident. It is important to follow the doctor’s orders and receive any follow-up treatment that may be required. Still, insurance companies will look for any way to prove that any injuries did not result from the accident.
Settling Without a Lawyer
Personal injury attorneys are experts at dealing with insurance companies and can get a plaintiff 300% to 1000% more than they would get without an attorney. Insurance companies will often try to lowball a claim or even draw the settlement out until it has reached the statute of limitations, in which case the insurance company no longer has to pay the claim. Using an attorney will certainly increase your chances of receiving a fair settlement, especially if the attorney specializes in the issues specific to the case.
Failing to Document the Accident and Injuries
Document the facts early. With time to reflect, people’s viewpoints will change. If you produce facts to your attorney 90 days after the accident and evidence shows something else, you will appear to be lying, even if you truly believe the information you have produced. In a court trial, the jury will not favor someone who appears to be a liar.
If you do not document the facts of the accident and any injuries you may have had, then insurance companies will try to prove that the injuries were not related to the accident. Document even the smallest pains, take photos, get medical records, and be honest with your doctor. Keep a journal to document any mental or emotional instabilities. Do not give the insurance company room to say that you were not injured as a result of the accident.
Some insurance companies will try to make a settlement very soon after the accident, but do not make any settlement before you know the long term outcomes of the injuries. The insurance company may try to pressure you into settling before you have even received any medical treatment. If anything goes awry down the road, there will be nothing you can do about it once a settlement has been made.
Signing a Release or Authorization
Never sign a release or authorization without advice from your own attorney. An insurance company may want you to sign a release that will give them complete access to your entire medical record, which they will use to look for any similar injuries you have had in the past. If you do sign a release of claim, the case is almost always lost.
Not Taking the Case Seriously
Most people do not want to sue anyone. An attorney will try to reach a resolution early, quickly, and for maximum value, but sometimes the insurance company will force you to trial. The insurance company might offer money slowly, knowing that most people are reluctant to sue. If you need to take the case to trial, do not be afraid to do so, and make sure your attorney has a good record with such cases.
In any case, it is best to consult with a professional attorney to ensure that you have a case and that you will receive the fairest settlement possible.
Your Source for Cash in the Interim
Personal injury cases can drag on for months or even years. If you are like most accident victims, you will either be unable to work, forced to pay for costly medical treatment on top of your regular living expenses, or both. For many people, this is simply not doable. If you are like most accident victims and find yourself in a tight financial situation, reach out to Capital Financing for injury financing options.