If you’ve been injured at the fault of someone else, then you may have a viable personal injury case. An attorney can help you navigate these critical next steps, but it’s important to know what to do and how to do it.
When filing personal injury claims, there are certain mistakes that could throw your progress off-course. If you can avoid those potholes, then you’ll be that much closer to recouping the damages that you’ve suffered.
Today, we’re sharing a few of the most common errors that can occur during the personal injury claims process. We’ll also cover how to avoid them, so you can move forward in confidence.
1. Neglecting to Hire a Lawyer
When you’re in the throes of a personal injury, hiring a lawyer might seem daunting. You may be especially concerned about the fees involved.
Before you skip this step, keep in mind that most personal injury lawyers work on what’s known as a contingency basis. This means that they’ll work on your case free of charge. If you win, then their fee will be a small portion of your settlement.
Don’t let finances stand in the way of securing important legal representation. A personal injury lawyer can be an invaluable part of this process. You’ll need their knowledge and expertise by your side as you handle all of the conversations, paperwork, and next steps that follow.
2. Over-Sharing to the Insurance Company
As soon as you’re injured, your first inclination might be to call your insurance agent right away. If you do, keep in mind that they will likely try to coerce you into making a statement about what happened.
Later, anything you say could be used against you, especially if you accept any form of blame for what happened. Keep in mind that this includes any type of information that you post on social media, so it’s best to steer clear of Facebook, Twitter, and similar platforms while your case is still active.
To wrap your case up quickly, the insurance company may also attempt to offer you a low-ball settlement, enticing you by promising that you’ll have cash in hand soon. A lawyer can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf, so you don’t have to. This can keep you from sharing any type of incriminating information, and could also earn you a higher settlement than you could have received by taking the first offer presented.
3. Failing to Call the Police
The moments immediately following a personal injury are vital ones. It’s understandable to be consumed by the moment, unsure what the right thing is to do. If you suffered injuries in an accident, then it’s best to call 911 first.
As soon as the police arrive at the scene, they can begin filing a police report. This will be a comprehensive account of events, including witness statements, timeline, photos, and more. These details can help strengthen your case and serve as important evidence for your claim.
4. Waiting Too Long to File a Claim
In California, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit is two years from the date that the injury occurred. If you do not discover the injury right away, then you have one year from the date that it was discovered.
In the weeks and months following your injury, you may be consumed by hospital visits, physical therapy, rehab, and other treatments. You may forget to fill out the paperwork required to submit a claim. Or, you may put it off and tell yourself that you’ll take care of it later.
A personal injury lawyer can take care of this time-consuming process for you so that you can focus on getting better. If you wait too long, then you could miss your window of opportunity. It’s important to file your lawsuit as soon after the injury as possible, when the events and details are still clear in your mind.
5. Not Seeking Medical Assistance Right Away
If you only experienced minor injuries following an incident with another party, then you might avoid seeking medical treatment. It might seem like over-reacting, or you may worry about the expensive invoice you’ll receive.
Even if you feel completely fine, it’s still best to visit your doctor. Some injuries, including soft-tissue ones, aren’t immediately evident. Don’t wait until your back starts hurting or it becomes impossible to walk on your sprained ankle.
Any type of medical records, including doctor’s notes, X-rays, and prescriptions, can help your case. Your lawyer can make sure these records are used to your benefit, but it’s your responsibility to schedule the visit. As you do, remember that a successful case could help pay for your treatment, which can offset the financial burden.
6. Minimizing Your Damages
In addition to the physical injuries that you’ve suffered, be sure to tell your lawyer about any other damages that you have experienced. This includes any type of negative effects on your mental or emotional health. If you’ve been unable to work, then remember to factor in all of the wages that you’ve lost.
There could be both short-term and long-term damages in a personal injury case. Unless your lawyer knows about all of them, then you could wind up with a settlement that does not cover all of yours. By fully disclosing all of the issues that you’re experiencing, you can help make sure that the compensation you receive is adequate.
Filing Personal Injury Claims the Right Way
As experienced personal injury attorneys, we get it. We know that the claims process can be long, complicated, and frustrating. However, this is the essential first step toward receiving the settlement that you’re due.
An experienced personal injury lawyer is well-versed in every aspect of filing personal injury claims. They will walk you through the steps and make sure that all of your documentation is complete. They’ll also keep you up-to-date on important timelines and can help you avoid saying the wrong thing or agreeing to a low offer.
If you’re in California, we’d love to discuss your case and share how we can help. Contact us today for a free consultation.