After an accident, what you do as an injury victim matters. From immediately after the accident to accepting a settlement, it’s easy to make a mistake that could impact your injury claim and result in a your claim being devalued. Even if you hire a lawyer to represent you for your accident injury case, you still play a big role in the outcome of your case.
Give yourself the best chance at a fair and just resolution from the insurance company and don’t make these mistakes.
1. Not Filing a Police/Incident Report
Filing a police or incident report is the first thing you should do when you are injured in an accident. Filing a report guarantees that your injury is on record and is reported to the proper authorities. It is much more difficult to prove an injury occurred due to someone else’s negligence when there isn’t a report to back you up.
2. Forgetting to Preserve Evidence
After you call the police or make an incident report, it is crucial that you gather any and all evidence related to your accident. Evidence can vary from case to case but photos, videos, witness contact information, and accident reports are all great places to start.
Photographic evidence is critical to building a strong case. Always document the entire accident scene, because it may not be possible to accurately depict the scene at a later time.
For car accidents, make sure you get photos of:
- damage to your car
- damage to other vehicle(s) involved
- any other property damaged by the collision
- visible injuries to yourself or others
For a trip and fall or another type of injury, get pictures of:
- visible injuries to yourself or others
- where it happened
- what caused the incident
3. Delaying Medical Treatment
The longer you wait to treat an injury, the harder it is to prove the pain and discomfort you’re experiencing is related to the incident. It is essential to get evaluated immediately following an accident, monitor your condition, and go to any follow-up appointments recommended by your doctor.
If you decide to wait for treatment or not to see a doctor at all, it’s just your word that you’re hurt. Without any medical records to tell the story of your injuries, it will be difficult to prove your case to the insurance company.
4. Rushing to Settle the Case
Successful cases take time. Sure, some are settled faster than others, but if you rush to accept the initial offers from an insurance company hands you, you may be shortchanging yourself. Once you take the insurance company’s offer and money is exchanged, there’s no renegotiating the settlement amount. The insurance company will then be off the hook.
Insurance companies are businesses. They only care about protecting their interests, and their adjusters are responsible for resolving your claim for as little money as possible. If you need additional treatment or the injury worsens, you will be responsible for those expenses. The insurance company will have saved themselves a ton of money, while you’ll be left with mounting medical bills, expenses, pain, and frustration.
5. Waiting to Get an Attorney
Many people think, “I’ll take care of this on my own” only to find the process overwhelming or disappointed in the low settlement offer from the insurance company. Hiring an attorney at the beginning of your injury claim helps you set your case up for success.
The right personal injury attorney will help you gather evidence, set up and monitor your treatment plan, and negotiate with the insurance company. Your attorney is there to protect your interests and to push the insurance company to resolve your accident claim for what you deserve.
Before you start your claim with the insurance company, contact a personal injury attorney. Most offer free consultations and work on a contingency fee–which means they take the risk of losing so that you don’t have to risk anything at all.
M. Austin Jackson Attorney at Law specializes in helping victims and their families who have been injured in motor vehicle accidents. Since 2013, we have recovered millions for our personal injury clients. In the event of wrongful death, the family can seek compensation for the full value of the life that was lost, as well as damages to pay for funeral expenses, loss of companionship, and much more.