8 Mistakes to Avoid When Pursuing a Personal Injury Case
Accidents happen all the time but no matter what type of accident has occurred, avoiding these common mistakes can help make your personal injury case stronger.
1) Failing to report the accident to police
Filing a police report provides a key piece of evidence in a personal injury case. It provides an official record detailing important information on the accident such as the parties involved and eye witness statements. It may also indicate a potential cause for the accident. Providing an objective, third party record of the accident can lend merit to your case and help at a later date if the responsible party denies allegations of fault. Failing to file a police report could cause substantial harm to your personal injury case.
2) Failing to document the accident
Accidents are overwhelming and stressful, especially if you are the injured party. Failing to document the accident and any injuries could be detrimental to your case. Document as much detail as possible while it’s fresh, do not wait. Document your conversations with insurance providers, medical personnel, and repair shops, keep track of lost wages, effects on your quality of life, take photos and note witness contact information, all of which can provide persuasive evidence in supporting your case.
3) Failing to seek medical attention
It’s not uncommon to feel fine right after an accident because of the adrenaline. You may also think your injuries aren’t that serious and will heal with time. However, failing to see a doctor immediately after an accident could not only be detrimental to your health but also to your case. A doctor can provide a third-party, unbiased assessment of your injuries and help link your injuries to the specific accident. If you do not seek medical attention right away, the insurance company could claim that your injuries weren’t serious enough to warrant a doctor’s attention or you may have difficulty in tying your injuries to the accident. The longer you wait to see a doctor, the more difficult it becomes to get full compensation.
4) Failing to continue medical treatment
If you fail to continue medical treatment, especially against a doctor’s recommendation, an insurance company could claim that your injuries are not serious and therefore require little or no compensation. By continuing treatment, you are, first and foremost, protecting your health, and secondarily, protecting your ability to collect compensation for your injuries.
5) Failing to represent the injury truthfully
Exaggerating and/or lying about the severity of an injury or underestimating the severity of your injury can hinder your ability to obtain compensation. That’s also why it’s important to seek medical treatment so there aren’t discrepancies regarding the nature and severity of injuries.
6) Failing to file a case right away
The statute of limitations is a set period of time in which you must take legal action in order to pursue monetary damages. If you wait too long you will be barred from taking any legal action. Different states have different statues of limitations that you must file a case within. In Iowa and Illinois, the general statute of limitations to file personal injury cases is two years. However, a delay in collecting information, seeing an attorney, and filing a claim can hurt the validity or value of your claim. Importantly, some claims against governments (cities, counties, states, etc.) or their employees may have a shorter statute of limitations. Always consult an attorney if you have been injured by the acts of others as soon as possible in order to preserve all of your rights.
7) Failing to keep details private
A common mistake many people make is to share details about the accident with friends, family, the other side’s insurance company, and on social media. Verbally telling friends and family about an accident is fine but remember that they could be called in to court to testify about what you said and how it may differ from other statements you made. Any verbal, electronic or documented account of your accident, injury, or recovery could be admissible so it’s important that you either don’t share it or that you are very careful to ensure that what you say and write about your accident and injury is carefully worded, accurate, and consistent with all other accounts and documents. An attorney contacted early can help you make certain the information you give about your situation is consistent and accurate.
8) Failing to seek legal advice
When it comes to handling your personal injury case, dealing with insurance companies, the other side’s attorneys, and other legal matters without an experienced personal injury attorney can make it hard to win your case and get you the compensation you deserve. Personal injury cases are complex and time consuming. An experienced personal injury attorney will investigate your case, gather evidence, and negotiate with the insurance company all while you recover.
VanDerGinst Law is an experienced law firm that focuses on all types personal injury cases. We have knowledgeable and experienced attorneys who can help guide you through the complexities of your case and help you obtain the financial compensation you deserve. The consultation is always free and there are no attorney fees unless we win your case. We’d be honored to help.
If you suffered an injury in Iowa or Illinois, contact VanDerGinst Law P.C. at 800-960-8529 to request a free consultation.
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 State of Illinois.