Being involved in an incident that results in injury can be extremely stressful, but if you are able to remain calm, you will have a much better chance making sure your rights are fully protected. If you are ever involved in an accident, remember to avoid making any of the following mistakes as it will likely affect your ability to collect any compensation and/or the amount of compensation.
- Declining medical treatment. In some cases, you may be injured but may not realize that you have been injured or the extent of the injuries. The fact of the matter is that some injuries may not manifest themselves as immediate pain as a result of an accident. Additionally, seeking treatment immediately after an accident will greatly increase your chances of being appropriately diagnosed so that you can seek appropriate treatment. Finally, the fact that you declined medical treatment will be used by the defendant to argue that you were not really injured as a result of the accident. It is therefore critical to seek medical attention after an accident, even if you believe your injuries are not significant.
- Allowing significant time to pass between medical treatment. All too often an individual injured in an accident will seek treatment immediately after an incident but then might become too busy to continue to seek recommended treatment. If there are significant gaps in treatment, a defendant will argue that any treatment after such gaps is unrelated to the original injury and was likely necessary because of another factor unrelated to the accident. It is therefore critical to avoid any such gaps and to seek all the treatment recommended by your medical providers.
- Posting to social media about this incident. We have seen too many cases where a plaintiff argues that he or she was significantly injured in an accident and is unable to even do the simple things in life any more, i.e., grocery shop, get the mail, etc. The defendant then checks public postings on social media and finds that the plaintiff just ran a marathon the week before! Obviously it is never encouraged to be untruthful about your pain or injuries, but it is also just as important to not provide anything that might be used against you by posting about the accident or your injuries on social media. It is best to just forego discussing the incident until you are able to reach a resolution.
- Providing a statement. Many times you will be asked to provide a statement about the incident by either the other party or perhaps an insurance adjuster. Please recognize that anything you say can be used against you in a personal injury case. If you provide a statement about the accident, you could say things that would damage your ability to collect on your case. Your recorded answers are admissible in court. You should also avoid ever admitting to fault for an accident, even if you may have been partially at fault. These admissions are admissible in court and can be used against you. If you have to make a statement, consult an attorney beforehand and/or have an attorney present with you as you provide your statement.
- Signing releases from insurance adjusters. It is critical to recognize that adjusters are not on your side – even the adjuster from your own insurance provider. The adjuster works for the insurance company, and is looking to get the very best outcome for the insurance company – not for you. As a result, adjusters will often pressure you to sign settlement documents quickly, before you can talk to an attorney. Do not ever sign a document without consulting an attorney – especially if it is one that requires you to waive your rights.
Avoiding these common mistakes in your personal injury matter will help ensure that you are able to receive the compensation you deserve. If you need assistance with your personal injury matter, contact the attorneys at Fleming & Monroe, PLC for a free consultation.