A personal injury is something that people try to avoid, so it makes sense that we wouldn’t take a lot of time to learn about what to do when one happens.
This leads to the unfortunate circumstance of people not knowing what to do when an accident happens.
A lot of assumptions are made in the moment, and even long after an accident occurs.
The following is a list of common assumptions people make after an accident and why they may not always be right. Also provided are some quick tips to keep in mind if you are involved in an accident.
Mistake 1: A police report is enough
After being in an accident you will likely be shaken and not thinking clearly.
It’s natural to assume that it isn’t your job to document the accident and that the police will get all of the information they need when they get to the scene.
The problem is that the police are not the first people on the scene. The people involved in the accident and key witnesses are. This includes you as well as other parties involved.
By the time the police arrive, you may have moved your vehicles to a safer location to stop blocking traffic. Key witnesses may have left the area. In the case of an event such as a slip and fall, obstacles may have been moved so others don’t meet the same fate as you.
Whatever the case, it is important to take down as many details about the accident as you can, as soon as you can. This may include taking photos and collecting contact information from people who witnessed the incident.
These details along with the police report will paint a fuller picture of what really happened.
Mistake 2: You have to accept the at-fault party’s insurance’s offer
When you are the victim in an accident, it’s fairly common that the at-fault party’s insurance company will come at you fast with a settlement check.
Since their client is at-fault, it is the job of the insurance company to get matters resolved as quickly as they can and to pay out the minimum possible amount to help protect their bottom line.
As soon as you cash the check and sign the papers you waive your rights to pursue any further compensation in the future.
Having just been injured you likely want a quick resolution to the situation so you can try to get your life back to as normal as soon as you possibly can. This initial offer may seem tempting.
Avoid this temptation.
If you are not at fault, it is important to speak with a personal injury attorney about your accident. It is likely that the offer you got is low and will not properly compensate you for what you’ve had to endure.
Mistake 3: You can sue no matter when the accident happened
Dealing with the repercussions of a bad accident can take a lot of your time.
Your mind is often occupied with physical therapy, finding ways to pay your medical bills, dealing with insurance companies, and in general “re-normalizing” your life.
It can be easy for time to slip away.
If you are thinking about filing a lawsuit, it may be pushed to the back of your mind as more pressing matters come up.
Whatever the case, make no mistake, you do not have unlimited time to file your claim.
Accident claims have what is called a statute of limitations, or a time limit for how long after the accident you will be able to seek compensation.
Always be sure to seek help with your claim as soon as you are able. An attorney can help you be sure you are making the right choices as the victim so you don’tlose your right to compensation.
Mistake 4: Personal injuries are all physical
The most obvious types of injuries that occur in an accident are often physical injuries. But that doesn’t mean that the accident victim has not suffered other types of personal injuries as well.
For instance, you may be out of work because of your injury and are therefore incurring lost wages.
Your way of life may be affected by pain and suffering, or the accident may cause mental and emotional injuries such as PTSD.
Your relationship with your spouse may be affected and you may not be able to care for each other as you once did..
None of these things are taken into account when an insurance company offers to simply pay your medical bills. Yet you may deserve fair compensation for all of them under the law.
Just because the injury isn’t physical, doesn’t mean it isn’t there.
Mistake 5: Hiring a lawyer is too expensive
Lawyers on TV are brash and cut-throat, only looking out for themselves and their careers. Put this mental picture of lawyers behind you. Don’t let stereotypes keep you from seeking the compensation you deserve.
Many personal injury attorneys, including those at VanDerGinst Law, work on a contingency fee basis. That means you don’t pay a fee unless they win your case for you.
Consultations are often free as well, so there really is no excuse not to talk to a lawyer about your accident.
Trying to negotiate with the insurance companies yourself or accepting the first offer they make may seem like the best way to get the most out of your settlement, but a good lawyer can get you up to 3.5 times what you would have received by going it alone.
Even with a lawyer’s contingency fee, you are still likely to see a higher settlement because you are working with someone who knows the law, knows insurance companies, and knows how to get you what you deserve.
Learn More About Whether Or Not You Need a Personal Injury Lawyer
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Not only that, but you don’t have to spend time chasing down evidence, witnesses, and medical records. We take care of everything while fronting all costs to obtain these items. We can even open your case over the phone or online.
The law is tough and being injured is tougher. We’ll make it easier for you.
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The information contained on this website is presented by VanDerGinst Law P.C. It is not intended nor should it be construed as professional legal advice. The information is general in nature about the Firm, the scope of services we offer, and our community outreach, it is not legal advice. Please contact us by phone, email, mail, or via this website for inquiries. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please contact a personal injury attorney for a consultation regarding your situation. This website is not intended to solicit clients outside the State of Iowa and/or the State of Illinois.