Below are the ten most common mistakes personal injury claimants make after an injury.
MISTAKE #1 – Failing to seek medical advice.
Although “toughing it out” when you have been injured may seem like a positive character attribute, what it really does is to make the relationship of your symptoms to the actual motor vehicle accident hard to prove. If you have been injured, see your doctor. The injuries and their cause need to be documented.
MISTAKE #2 – Failing to follow medical direction
Although referrals for ongoing treatments may disrupt your life and create a hectic schedule, you have a duty to mitigate (or to lessen) your losses. If your doctor has recommended a treatment and you ignore that recommendation, the other insurance company will suggest you are failing to mitigate your own losses and your damage award may be decreased accordingly. If you disagree with a treatment prescribed (perhaps it is not helping, or making you worse), see your doctor. Your doctor will come up with a new plan that you can follow.
MISTAKE #3 – Failing to provide your doctor with ALL of your symptoms
Doctors are busy, we get it. However, if you don’t list all of your symptoms (thinking only the major ones are important), it’s going to be hard to later on link those unmentioned symptoms to your accident.
MISTAKE #4 – Failing to gather or retain important evidence
Take photos of anything fleeting and relevant. If you have slipped or tripped, snap photos of the site before the ice melts or the giant sidewalk crack has been repaired. If you are badly bruised or swollen, photograph yourself prior to healing. There are many instances where a picture really is worth a thousand words. Then…keep everything related to your accident: your health expenses relating to treatment, texts, correspondence and emails relating to time off of work, receipts for assistance with chores you are unable to perform due to injuries, etc.
MISTAKE #5 – Giving a statement or evidence to the insurance company representing the at-fault driver
The other side is NOT entitled to a statement or to information from you. They are adverse in interest to you and nothing you can tell them is going to help your claim. Their job is to minimize your losses and they will use the information you provide to do so. The same applies to giving consent to access your medical or employment information.
MISTAKE #6 – Exaggerating or minimizing your condition.
One is as bad as the other. You may not be a complainer…a good way to get through life. However, when you see a medical professional or in your lawyer’s office, you must be able to detail all of your health problems. If not, you will not be compensated for them. On the other hand, exaggeration never has any ultimate effect but to make you look histrionic at best and a liar at worst.
MISTAKE #7 – Giving overly definitive evidence
Never say “never” unless you are completely sure of the fact. If someone asks you whether you have been able to undertake a specific activity after the accident, they almost assuredly have a video tape of you doing the activity. If the answer is “hardly ever” or “I can do it but it hurts”, that’s a lot different than “never”.
MISTAKE #8 – Trying to hide or minimize pre-existing health issues
All of your past health records are relevant and producible in your lawsuit. Don’t turn yourself into a liar (see Mistake #7…)
MISTAKE #9 – Ignoring the pitfalls of social media
Read our blog regarding this issue.
MISTAKE #10 – Failing to get early legal advice.
An initial telephone call for advice is absolutely free of charge. Take advantage of that and call a personal injury lawyer! Following, Robinson LLP works on a contingency fee. That means that involving us early ends up costing you the same as involving us at a later stage. Involve us early and let us sort out issues as the matter progresses.