Being a victim of a car accident does not mean an automatic payday. Not only do claims for damages have to be supported by evidence, but things you say and do can reduce your compensation or get your case thrown out of court. Defense lawyers and insurance adjusters are always looking for ways to get out of paying settlements. They will use any loophole they can find. That’s why you must be careful in the aftermath of an accident. Let’s look at some of the mistakes you should avoid.
Lying to your attorney
Not even the best attorney can help you if he doesn’t know the truth. You need to maintain honest, open conversation with your personal injury attorney. Lawyers like those at the Coye Law Firm will tell you that lying about some aspects of the crash can throw your whole case into doubt. Don’t exaggerate your injuries or downplay your role in the accident. Misleading your attorney, an insurer or the courts is never a good idea.
Posting about the accident on social media
Even if your Facebook and Twitter accounts are set to private, don’t forget people can screenshot your posts and share them. Posting about your feelings of guilt after a car accident or apologizing for the crash can make it seem like you were at fault. This may mean reduced compensation or no compensation at all.
Not going to the doctor or not taking their advice
You can’t get damages if you can’t prove your injuries. If you opt not to see a doctor right away, it will be hard to prove your injuries were caused by the accident. Insurance companies and defense attorneys will suggest you are faking your injuries or that you got them elsewhere. You can also put your case in jeopardy if you don’t follow the doctor’s advice. You are free to get a second opinion if you don’t like one doctor’s recommendations but you must agree to a treatment plan. Otherwise, you may be accused of aggravating your injuries.
Not properly recording or retaining evidence
You should take photos of the accident scene if possible as well as your injuries if they are visible. You also need to keep x-rays, test results, medical bills and reports, copies of prescriptions, and pill bottles. Retain anything that can show how much you spent on treatment and rehabilitation.
Taking too long to file your claim
There is a statute of limitations for personal injury claims. You need to file your claim on time if you want to be heard. The courts will certainly throw out a late claim even if you had an otherwise legitimate case.
Signing away your legal rights
Insurance adjusters may approach you promising a swift settlement if you sign a document. Don’t sign anything without speaking to your car accident attorney. These agreements usually ask you to agree not to seek further compensation. This can spell trouble if you later discover that your injuries are serious. You would have to pay the bill yourself and you can’t take further action against the at-fault party.
Bringing your injuries into question
If you go out partying while you claim to be injured and unable to work, you can kiss your case goodbye. The same applies if you are seen lifting heavy objects or doing other strenuous activities. Insurance adjusters will be doing surveillance to see if you are really injured.
You should be compensated for your car accident injuries. However, you must make sure you don’t do anything that would jeopardize your case.