The aftermath of a serious injury accident can be a challenging time in your life. From dealing with medical appointments to replacing your vehicle, it can be difficult to know or remember which steps to take to ensure you receive fair and just compensation for your injuries and damage to your property. Oftentimes, accident victims are overwhelmed by medical bills, letters and phone calls from insurers, and other concerns. It is important not to make a misstep that could jeopardize your ability to seek financial recovery.
Here are 9 common mistakes to avoid if you have been injured in an accident.
1. Not calling police to the scene of the accident
Even if you do not need an ambulance, it is essential that you call 911 and report your accident. Police reports are a vital part of building a personal injury case. They provide an official record of what happened and the officer’s opinion as to what caused the accident. A personal injury lawyer can use this information in the police report to show that the other party was acting negligently or recklessly and is legally responsible for your injuries.
2. Not seeing a doctor right away
No matter how non-serious you believe your own injuries to be, you should seek a medical evaluation after an accident. A doctor can assess the extent of your injuries and prescribe treatment as needed. A doctor’s report linking your injuries to the accident will be important in proving the cause of your injuries.
3. Not getting proper documentation
Some injury victims see a doctor or have their car or other property repaired but make the mistake of forgetting about documentation. It is important that you save all receipts related to your medical expenses and vehicle repairs, as well as any other expenses you may have incurred as a result of your accident. Your lawyer will use these documents to show the losses you have incurred as a result of the accident and the amount you should receive in compensation.
4. Waiting too long to take legal action
Under Florida law, you have four years from the time of your accident to file most personal injury lawsuits. However, this does not mean you should wait four years. As time goes by, it will be more difficult to find documentation, receipts, and witnesses to your accident. If you plan to file a personal injury suit, the sooner you get an attorney working on your case, the easier it will be to find evidence to support your case.
5. Settling a claim immediately
Insurance companies have every incentive to protect their own bottom line. If the other driver’s insurance company offers you a settlement right off the bat, they are almost certainly offering you less than you should receive. They are counting on you being complaisant and accepting the bare minimum so as not to have to fight for more. If you have a lawyer negotiating on your behalf, you may be able to win far more than they are offering you.
6. Going without legal assistance
No matter how much work you are willing to put into your own case, it is unlikely that you will win the compensation you are due without legal assistance. An experienced personal injury attorney will know how to build a persuasive case and to maximize your chances of securing the financial compensation you need to rebuild and move on with your life.
7. Withholding details from your lawyer
Once you have hired a lawyer to handle your case, the lawyer will need to know every detail pertinent to the case. These details should include the extent of your injuries and the amount you’ve paid in medical expenses, as well as information about you that they will need to know, such as pre-existing medical conditions or a history of driving offenses. When in doubt as to whether a detail is pertinent, err on the side of providing your lawyer with as much information as possible. Above all, never lie to your lawyer about the circumstances of your accident. Dishonesty has a way of coming back to haunt you later in the process.
8. Ignoring medical advice
It is important to listen to your doctor, keep any follow-up appointments and follow the prescribed steps to recover from your injury. To do otherwise may make it more difficult to recover and leave you open to attacks from the other side that your condition is due in part due to your decision not to follow medical advice.
9. Making social media posts about the accident
In this day and age, it seems natural to post about the goings-on in your life on social media. While an accident is a significant event that may seem worthy of a post, it is important to resist the urge to share anything online about what happened. You should consider your social media account public, even if you have the security setting set to private. If the other party has a competent lawyer and insurance company, they will likely try to find a way to twist your words into evidence against you. It is okay to tell friends and family about your struggles, but it is important that every written, traceable statement about your accident be carefully constructed for accuracy and for consistency with your account.
The nine items listed above are common mistakes that many people make after an accident. If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident, the Palm Coast personal injury attorneys of
Chiumento Law, PLLC have the experience to build a strong case on your behalf and to make sure you take all the right steps along the way. For more information about how we can help with your personal injury case, call us today at (386) 753-3293.