Car accidents can leave you feeling disoriented, hurt and stressed, but it is essential that you remain calm and remember to avoid these common mistakes as everything you do and say can have a profound long-term impact on your claim. Learning the mistakes that could hurt your personal injury claim can help ensure a positive resolution and settlement.
Mistake 1: Failing to take action – and the necessary steps – at the time of the accident
Call 911 to get necessary medical attention and police assistance for yourself and others. Then document everything: the names, addresses, phone numbers and license plate numbers of everyone involved; the license plate numbers of witnesses; insurance information, including the policy number; photos of the damage to all vehicles involved. You should also document every detail you can remember about the incident, including anything that was said by you and the other driver to the police, emergency personnel, each other, and witnesses, as well as the nature and extent of all injuries and any pain or symptoms you may be having as a result of your injuries.
Mistake 2: Faking or exaggerating your injuries and symptoms or failing to follow your doctor’s advice
Sometimes people feel the need to embellish their symptoms or fabricate additional injuries in an effort to strengthen their claim. Another way your claim can be diminished is by not following your doctor’s treatment plan or advice.
Mistake 3: Not hiring the right personal injury attorney – or not hiring an attorney at all
You will need a personal injury attorney that has knowledgeable of injury and accident law. Should you hire a family friend or a lawyer that primarily practices a different area of law, you will not benefit from expertise and experience in the personal injury field. It’s also important to note that no matter how nice an insurance adjuster may be, they work for the insurance company – not for you.
Mistake 4: Failing to be honest with your attorney
It is imperative that you disclose everything that could be relevant to your case with your attorney. This includes prior injuries, current medical conditions, any doctor’s care you are under, prior legal issues, financial issues, alcohol or drug use, employment history, or anything the defendant’s insurance company can use to discredit you.
Mistake 5: Giving a recorded statement or signing a medical release
You are not required to give a recorded statement or sign a medical authorization. Much like a criminal case, anything you say can and will be used against you in a personal injury case. The adjuster may even go so far as to tell you they can’t process your claim until you do so – but there is no law or rule that requires you to give a recorded statement.
Mistake 6: Claiming that the injury was partly your fault
You should not say anything about an injury or accident to anyone other than your attorney. Any information such as a comment regarding fault, guilt or taking part of the blame for the injury can be used against you. You have the right to not say anything at all.
If you have been injured in an auto accident, you don’t have to fight alone. Let experienced personal injury attorney John Castro at Anton Castro Law help you navigate the pitfalls of personal injury to help you get the compensation you deserve. Call John Castro anytime – day or night – for an attorney dedicated to ‘Representing Your Best Interests.’