Your personal injury case doesn’t start in the courtroom. It begins the moment the accident occurred. From that day on, the insurance company will try to do anything they can to avoid paying out on your claim. It’s best to not give them a reason to do so.
Here are five common mistakes accident victims inadvertently make in their personal injury cases — and how you can avoid them.
1. Delaying or Stopping Medical Treatment
Perhaps it may be stating the obvious, but your personal injury case hinges on just that — your injury. This means that in addition to proving that someone else should be held liable for them, you need to demonstrate that they exist. No matter how severely you’re injured, don’t expect that you’ll walk into the courtroom and win your case without having medical documentation to back up your claim.
Your accident-related treatment should start on day one. It’s critical to seek immediate medical attention not only for the sake of your personal injury claim, but also to determine whether you’ve suffered any internal injuries. Some types of injuries may not become apparent until several weeks later.
No matter what type of injury you’ve sustained, the insurance company and their attorneys will scrutinize every aspect of your medical records. If you didn’t seek immediate medical attention, it will be questioned. If you stopped following your doctor’s treatment plan on your own accord, missed appointments, or took a break from physical therapy, expect the defense to attack your claim.
2. Waiting Too Long to Hire an Attorney
One of the first things you should do after you’ve been in an accident is consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. If you wait too long, you run the risk of blowing an important deadline or making another error that your attorney could have potentially prevented.
Importantly, a personal injury lawyer can usually secure you substantially more compensation for your injuries than you would have received on your own. They will understand the nuances of negotiating with the insurance companies and can determine whether your injury claim stands a better chance at trial.
3. Sabotaging Your Case on Social Media
In today’s day and age, just about everyone posts about all aspects of their lives on social media. If you’ve been in an accident, you might want to consider deactivating your accounts while your case is ongoing. Not only should you not discuss the accident, but even just a simple photograph could have significant implications for your case.
The lawyers for the defense will go through your Facebook wall and Instagram photos with a fine tooth comb looking for any evidence that your injuries are not as bad as you say they are. For instance, if you claim that your injuries require you to be on crutches and you appear in a photo without them, the other side will try to use this against you.
4. Accepting the First Settlement Offer
Don’t think the first settlement offer is your only chance at settling your case — and you shouldn’t accept it. Even if your medical bills are mounting and you’re anxious to get your case over and done with to receive your settlement check, patience is key.
Remember, it’s the insurance company’s objective to pay you as little as possible. Early on in a case, your injuries may not have fully developed, and you may still be accruing substantial medical expenses. In other words, the insurance company will try to get off the hook before they have to pay out more.
A personal injury lawyer will know what your case is worth and the best strategy to pursue the maximum compensation you deserve.
5. Exaggerating or Lying About Your Injuries
One of the biggest mistakes a plaintiff can make in a personal injury lawsuit is to lie about their injuries or exaggerate the extent of them. Being untruthful will destroy the trust between you and your attorney — and a judge or jury will see right through the deception.
Although you might think embellishing your injuries will increase your compensation, it won’t. In fact, it can do just the opposite. Your case may get tossed out instead.
Whatever flaws exist in your case, your attorney should know about them. A skilled attorney may be able to work with even the most unfavorable facts to ensure a positive outcome for your lawsuit.
Contact an Experienced New York City Personal Injury Attorney
If you’ve been injured in an accident, it’s essential to contact an attorney right away who can advise you of your legal rights and remedies — and help you avoid making any mistakes that could cost you your personal injury case. We have regularly obtained settlements and verdicts in the millions for our clients due to our candor, skill, and experience.
The Edelsteins, Faegenburg & Brown LLP is a New York City personal injury firm with more than eighty years of experience fighting for the rights of accident victims. Located in Manhattan, we have been helping those injured by the negligence of another obtain the compensation they deserve since 1937. Call to schedule a free consultation at (212) 425-1999 today.