When dealing with a personal injury claim it is easy to make costly mistakes. To avoid the risk of not receiving full compensation for your injuries sustained in a car accident or at work, we point out the most common mistakes people make when dealing with insurance companies and how to rectify them before it is too late.
Failing to Get a Medical Examination Right Away
Seeing your doctor as soon as possible after a personal injury accident is vital even if you think your injuries are minor or there are no obvious symptoms at first. Seeking medical care when your injuries are serious is obvious but sometimes symptoms from hidden injuries don’t appear until much later. Getting medical attention will not only provide you with important documentation that will link your injuries to the accident if symptoms start to appear later, but it can also save your life! An authoritative medical statement from a qualified medical practitioner is invaluable when the time comes to preserve your right to file for an insurance claim.
Immediately after an accident people are generally confused about the exact circumstances prior to the incident. Even if you think that you may in some way have contributed to the accident, it is imperative not to admit fault. It is important not to agree with other parties involved that you may have done something wrong or, when police authorities arrive, admit that you may have had some fault in causing the accident. Even though your speculation may turn out not to be correct, saying so could be taken as evidence and eventually be used against you in a court case.
Failing to Collect Evidence
In order to recover compensation for personal injury, as the claimant, it is your job to prove negligence on the part of other parties involved. The more evidence you collect directly after the accident the better your chances of receiving a favorable outcome. Take pictures or video the scene of the accident and collect contact information from bystanders who witnessed the accident. Keep a journal of the events with details of your injuries, record your symptoms daily, and keep track of all your expenses related to the accident. Having actual proof of the exact amount incurred as a result of the accident is an essential part of successfully negotiating a personal injury lawsuit.
Talking to a Representative From the At-Fault Party’s Insurance Company
It is the job of an insurance company to get as much information as possible from you. They can use this information to spin the facts in such a way that it looks as though you were the one responsible for the accident. Their tactics include asking you misleading questions about the accident, looking for inconsistencies in your account of what happened, and suggesting that you may be exaggerating your injuries or losses. If you are not careful and the at-fault party’s insurance company is successful at their game, they can use it against you in order to significantly reduce your compensation or even avoid paying your claim altogether.
Accepting an Initial Settlement Offer
If there is evidence of fault on the part of their client, the insurance company will most likely prepare a settlement offer within a short period of time after the accident. The letter will require you to sign and return it, however, it is important to allow an attorney to review the contents before doing anything. When insurance companies realize that there is evidence that their client is at fault they often hasten to settle any personal injury claims as quickly as possible and for as little as possible.
The minute you sign the form, known as a Release of Liability Form, you relinquish your right to sue the other party for compensation. Settling prematurely before you know the full extent of your injuries will prevent you from claiming the full compensation you are entitled to by law.
Not Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney
Dealing with representatives from insurance companies can be overwhelming especially when you have just been in a car accident or injured at work. In these circumstances, it is easy to be misled and make mistakes that could adversely affect your personal injury claim. These claims are often way too difficult for the average man on the street to negotiate which is why it is so important to have an experienced legal professional with a thorough understanding of the intricate laws involved in personal injury matters to represent you. Experienced experts in personal injury law know how to avoid insurance company traps and how to prepare a personal injury claim that will have a significant impact on the total amount of compensation you can recover.