7 Claim Mistakes That Victims Unknowingly Make
Making the wrong moves after an accident can affect your chances of receiving the compensation you deserve. Here are 7 things that you should be aware of that can negatively impact your claim:
Refusing to Seek Immediate Medical Attention
There’s nothing wrong with being an optimist, but getting immediate medical attention after an accident is crucial for both your health and your case, should you decide to pursue a claim for damages. Oftentimes we don’t immediately appreciate the severity of an injury and assume that there is no damage done. It isn’t until later that the signs of serious injury may occur — and by then, it’s too late. In order to connect your injury to the accident, you should get help from a medical professional immediately after it occurs. If you don’t, you’ll be sure to get into a dispute with the car insurance provider. In their eyes, the injury probably isn’t that serious if you didn’t feel that you needed help.
Failing to Make a Follow-up Medical Appointment
Seeking immediate medical help is highly important, but medical intervention shouldn’t stop at your first checkup or interaction with an emergency response worker. After an injury, it’s important to continue seeing your doctor for signs that the injury is getting better or worse. See your doctor regularly, and follow their prescribed treatment plan in order to get back to peak physical condition.
Some people think that they don’t need to continue seeing a doctor if they begin to feel improvement. However, failing to do so could be seen as negligence on your behalf. In some cases, insurance providers have contended that worsened injuries are a result of the victim’s inaction rather than the accident itself. As a result, they were awarded less than they could have been had they sought proper rehabilitation.
Failing to Report the Accident
In order to smoothly and successfully file your accident claim, you must report the accident immediately to your insurance company. If you do not wish to do so, you must at least have your lawyer do so. In either case, your insurance provider must be notified promptly. It’s easier to report the accident immediately after it happens, but there’s no harm in taking a few days to address more important things, like your health and well-being. Be sure to check your insurance policy. There will be a time limit, though some insurance providers give their clients longer periods of time to file a claim.
Not Taking Photos of the Accident
In the event of an accident, whether it's a car crash, slip and fall, or dog bite, it’s in your best interest to document the scene of the accident with photos. In cases like these, there’s always a liable party involved, and they’ll do and say anything they can to avoid being deemed negligent by the insurance provider. Make sure that you stay blame-free by taking photos of everything, from the environmental conditions, any warning signs (or lack thereof), damages, and injuries. Doing this will give you proof in case the evidence disappears or is cleaned up before you have the chance to show the insurance company. If you aren’t able to take photos yourself, have someone else take them for you.
Not Being Careful When Talking To Your Adjuster
There’s a reason why so many people who fall victim to accidents call a personal injury attorney. Words can be tricky, and some phrases have dual meanings. It’s easy for victims to say the wrong thing while discussing the accident with their insurance adjuster. Almost immediately after your accident, you’ll need to speak to an adjuster. They’ll request a formal statement from you, but it might seem as though they’re facilitating a casual conversation. Remember: the insurance adjuster is not your friend — they are simply someone trying to do their job and collect all the information they can to limit their exposure on your claim. Their loyalty is to the insurance company, and they’ll try to settle your case as cost-effectively as they can.
Be careful when:
• Discussing your injuries
• Recounting details of the accident, such as the exact time and date, those involved, conversations, and distractions
• Discussing your employment and scheduling (if the accident happened at the workplace)
If you don’t feel that you are able to talk to an adjuster confidently without compromising your claim, tell them you cannot speak to them and to have them contact your lawyer instead. Talking to an attorney first is the recommended approach.
Discussing the Accident on Social Media
Do not, by any means, discuss the accident on social media. If you wish to update friends or family about your physical condition, try to do so on the phone or in person. Social media posts are often used as admissible evidence in court. Defense lawyers often comb through their plaintiff’s socials for any posts that could diminish case value. Avoid posting anything on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, or any other popular websites that could be taken out of context.
Not Calling a Personal Injury Attorney
Victims often try to go it alone, believing that they can’t afford a lawyer. However, most personal injury lawyers won’t take any payment from you unless they have won your settlement. Before you head into court on your own, consider contacting a personal injury attorney for a free consultation. Attorney Matt Willis has 20 years of experience handling personal injury cases, both in negotiating settlements and trying cases in court. He’ll be with you every step of the way, explaining your options, advising you on the best course of action, and helping to maximize the compensation you’re entitled to. Attorney Willis has obtained millions of dollars in compensation for our clients. He's committed to delivering a personal experience to every case, and ready to listen — and fight — to get you the maximum compensation you deserve.