When you’ve suffered an injury due to the negligence of another party, pursuing a personal injury claim can be key to securing compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. This compensation is vital in helping you get back on track after an unexpected injury.
However, many claimants unintentionally sabotage their claims by making common mistakes. To maximize your chances of receiving the compensation you deserve, it’s essential to be aware of these pitfalls and work with an Alabama personal injury lawyer to protect your rights.
1. Admitting Fault at the Scene or to Insurance Adjusters
Admitting fault at the scene of an accident often means prematurely accepting blame for the incident. Many individuals, in the heat of the moment, might say things like “I’m so sorry, it was my fault,” or “I didn’t see you there.” Though seemingly innocent, these statements can have lasting implications for insurance claims.
- Why it’s a mistake. Even if you believe you may have had a role in the incident, prematurely admitting fault can impact the outcome of your claim. It can reduce your compensation or even result in a denied claim.
2. Not Gathering Evidence at the Scene
At the scene of an accident, amidst the initial shock and concern for well-being, it’s common for individuals to overlook the importance of gathering evidence. Simple actions, like taking a quick photo or jotting down a witness’s contact details, can become crucial in later legal or insurance proceedings.
- Why it’s a mistake. Evidence from the accident scene can play a vital role in establishing fault and demonstrating the extent of damages. Failing to gather this evidence can weaken your claim and make it more challenging to prove your case.
- What to do. If you are physically able and it’s safe to do so, take photos or videos of the accident scene, damages, injuries, and any contributing factors like road conditions or signage. Also, gather contact details of witnesses and any official reports like the police report.
3. Failing or Refusing to Seek Medical Attention Immediately
Many people often brush off the immediate need for medical attention after an accident, especially if they don’t see or feel any apparent injuries. This delay, however, can inadvertently signal to insurance companies that the injuries aren’t severe, even if symptoms emerge later on.
- Why it’s a mistake. Delaying medical treatment can give insurance companies and defense attorneys the impression that your injuries are not serious.
- What to do. Always get checked by a medical professional right after an accident, even if you feel fine. Some injuries, like whiplash, may not manifest symptoms immediately. This ensures you receive treatment and document all related conditions, connecting them to your accident.
4. Handling the Claim on Your Own
Many people believe they can navigate insurance claims and legal proceedings without assistance, thinking it might save them time or money. However, the legal system can be intimidating and easy to misinterpret.
- Why it’s a mistake. You might overlook essential aspects of your case without proper knowledge, such as filing deadlines or necessary documents for your claim.
- What to do. Seek the help of a seasoned personal injury attorney who can provide guidance, advocacy, and experience. They can protect your rights and ensure you file a well-documented claim for fair compensation.
5. Providing a Statement without Legal Counsel
It’s tempting to cooperate and quickly provide statements after an incident, believing it might expedite the process. However, without the guidance of legal expertise, your words can be misconstrued and used against you.
- Why it’s a mistake. Insurance companies might attempt to twist your words or interpret your statement to benefit them, potentially reducing or denying your claim.
- What to do. Consult with an attorney before giving any statements. They will guide you on what to say and avoid and communicate with insurance adjusters on your behalf.
6. Posting About the Accident on Social Media
It’s instinctual for many to share life events on social media platforms, seeking support or updating friends. However, a simple post-accident tweet or an Instagram photo, like a snapshot of you at a party, can be misinterpreted and used against your claim.
- Why it’s a mistake. Your posts can be evidence against you. A photo of you partying or exercising after the accident, for example, could be misconstrued as proof that you’re not suffering.
- What to do. Stay off social media or be cautious about your posts. If in doubt, consult your attorney.
7. Accepting the First Settlement Offer
When faced with the aftermath of an accident, it might feel easier to accept the first settlement offer and move on. However, these initial offers often don’t reflect the true value of your claim and the extent of your damages.
- Why it’s a mistake. Initial offers are usually much lower than you might be entitled to, as insurance companies aim to settle claims quickly and inexpensively.
- What to do: Consult with your attorney before accepting any offer. They can help negotiate a fairer settlement on your behalf after you’ve reached maximum medical improvement (MME), which indicates you have healed as much as expected.
Protect Your Rights with The Vance Law Firm Injury Lawyers
Avoiding common mistakes after a personal injury accident can help you get a fair payout for your injuries. At The Vance Law Firm Injury Lawyers, we empower victims to stand up for their rights and offer skilled legal support to protect their interests.
If you or someone you care about is a victim of a personal injury, contact Alabama personal injury lawyers. We can speak with you in a free, confidential consultation about your case and help you take the right steps toward compensation.