If you have been involved in an accident, there are important steps you may need to take to protect your rights and interests. In addition, the following six biggest mistakes to avoid in injury cases may be helpful to you.
- Fail to Proactively Retain Legal Counsel
According to the American Bar Association, one of the biggest mistakes to avoid is failing to proactively retain legal counsel in a personal injury case. The reality is that a great deal is at stake when a person needs to file a claim with an insurance company, and many people fail to utilize legal counsel to help.
Time and time again, people without legal representation do not obtain the compensation to which they are entitled through the insurance claims settlement process. Too often, people without DC personal injury lawyer make mistakes during this process and end up being precluded from obtaining any compensation whatsoever.
- Give a Recorded Statement to an Insurance Company
Another common mistake to avoid is giving a recorded statement to an insurance company during the claims settlement process. It is naive to assume that insurance companies are interested in settling claims in a fair manner, as the primary goal of an insurance company is to make money. An insurance company can add to its profit margins by reducing the amount of money paid out in settlements. Therefore, a claims adjuster might try their best to poke holes in your claim, even if your claim is valid.
- Settle Prematurely with an Insurance Company
It is important to avoid making a premature or early settlement with an insurance company. This issue underscores the need to retain counsel even further, as a quick settlement will typically not be in your favor. Many insurance companies try to pressure the injured person to agree to a settlement that’s well below what is warranted or necessary.
- Fail to Properly Document an Accident
Failing to properly document an accident is another mistake to avoid. If it is possible to take video recordings, you should probably do so, as this form of evidence can be extremely helpful. In general, the video might include the accident scene itself, as well as any injuries sustained in the accident.
Additionally, it may be helpful to identify witnesses when documenting an accident scene. All essential contact information should be collected from each witness. Also, it may be beneficial to videotape statements of witnesses while they are at the accident scene.
- Fail to Take a Case Seriously
Many people fail to take a personal injury case seriously, which will likely have negative consequences. Some people assume that everything will work out in the end without much effort — but this is hardly ever the case. If you have been injured because of someone else’s negligence, your case may be serious and should be treated that way. The fact is that a person gets one shot at obtaining the compensation to which he or she is entitled.
- Fail to Follow Doctor’s Orders
A major mistake some people make in a personal injury case is failing to follow a doctor’s orders. Not only does a person jeopardize his or health by failing to follow a doctor’s orders, but he or she might lessen the potential compensation they could recover. In a personal injury case, an injured person has a legal obligation to mitigate damages. Failing to follow a doctor’s order is a failure to mitigate damages and injuries sustained in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Cohen & Cohen, P.C. for their insight into personal injury practice.