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Avoid These 7 Mistakes in Your Personal Injury Case

February 26, 2024 | By W. Kent Winingham

After experiencing an injury, you have a lot on your plate. You may have physical pain, emotional distress, and a calendar full of doctor’s appointments. If you decide to file a claim for damages, you’ll also need to gather evidence, speak with your attorney, and appear in court.

Despite this effort, many personal injury victims have their cases dismissed or receive less money than they deserve because they—or their attorney—committed one of the following seven mistakes commonly made in personal injury claims.

1 – Waiting to Seek Medical Care

After an accident, many people wait to seek medical care. Sometimes, they don’t feel like they are in much pain, or they want to take a wait-and-see approach. In other cases, they may seek immediate treatment at the emergency room but fail to get follow-up treatment or see the recommended specialists.

Failing to seek medical attention right away can weaken your case. A judge or jury may think you have less severe injuries than you really do if you do not seek medical attention immediately after being injured. It may also take longer to get the proper diagnosis, which can cause ripple effects in your treatment and your settlement. To ensure the best settlement possible—and your best treatment results—seek medical care immediately and follow all your doctor’s advice.

2 – Failing to Document or Maintain Evidence

Suppose you’ve been injured in a car accident or slip and fall. You must present as much evidence as possible that another party was at fault. Photographic evidence of property damage, physical injury, or hazardous conditions can go a long way to proving your case in court. If you cannot take pictures immediately, do so as soon as possible, or have a loved one take them for you. Failing to document this critical evidence is a significant mistake when pursuing a personal injury lawsuit.

A related mistake people sometimes make is not maintaining evidence properly. For example, someone may not realize the importance of their hospital discharge paperwork, so they lose track of it or even deliberately throw it away. Keep track of everything you may need for your case. Your attorney can help you determine what evidence is essential.

3 – Failing to Follow Medical Advice

Suppose you went to the hospital after your accident. The emergency room doctor wrote you some prescriptions, ordered additional tests, and advised you to follow up with a specialist. You may have started feeling better afterward or just kept putting off treatment. Regardless, not following your doctor’s medical advice is one of the biggest mistakes people make in personal injury cases.

When you fail to follow your doctor’s advice, you risk worsening your injury and demonstrating to the court that you are not taking your injuries seriously. As a result, a judge or jury may doubt the severity of your injury or your claim’s truthfulness. So, always follow your doctor’s medical advice when pursuing a personal injury case.

4 – Waiting Too Long to File a Claim

Another mistake we see with personal injury cases is waiting too long to file a claim. The days and weeks after an accident are stressful, but finding time to contact an attorney as soon as possible is essential. You have a limited amount of time to file a personal injury. This limit is called a statute of limitations. In Indiana, you typically have two years after an injury to file a claim. However, this may vary in some instances, so contact an attorney as soon as possible to ensure your case is heard.

5 – Posting About Your Accident on Social Media

After an injury, you may want to update your social media account to let your friends and family know you’re okay. Unfortunately, anything you post online is considered public, and the defendant can use your words against you. For example, if you write that you were in an accident but reassure your followers that you are okay, the opposing attorneys may take this as evidence that your injury was less severe than you allege.

To illustrate how social media can impact your personal injury claim, consider the following. You were in a car accident in May. You had many injuries, and you followed all your doctor’s instructions, underwent surgery, and attended months of rehab. However, you didn’t want to miss your niece’s graduation party, your sister’s birthday, or your best friend’s wedding during this time. You attended several events that summer, although you did your best to take it easy, stay off your feet, and leave early. Unfortunately, the defense attorney found your photos from the summer and presented them to the jury. While you were working hard to rehabilitate your injuries, the defense tells a different story. Using your own photos, they showed the jury that you were happy, smiling, and attending numerous parties in the months after your accident. You hardly looked injured at all!

Your photos don’t tell the whole story–but juries can find them very compelling. Therefore, it’s best to avoid or limit social media use until your case is resolved.

6 – Accepting a Settlement Without Contacting an Attorney

Sometimes, a business or insurance company representative may offer you a settlement immediately after your injury. For example, an at-fault driver’s insurance company may provide you with a settlement offer after a car accident. Insurance companies aim to settle claims quickly and for the smallest amount possible. Suppose you accept a settlement before consulting an attorney. In that case, you may forfeit your ability to recover more money you may need to restore your life after an injury.

7 – Providing a Recorded Statement Without Consulting a Personal Injury Attorney

Sometimes, a defense attorney or insurance company will ask you to record a statement after an accident. The defendant can use this statement against you in court, so contacting an attorney is essential. When you agree to make this statement without an attorney, the defense attorney may try to manipulate your statement or expose weaknesses in your version of events. Your personal injury lawyer can help you prepare beforehand or may even determine that you do not need to agree to make the statement in the first place.

Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer at WKW Today

It’s too easy to make these common mistakes while picking up the pieces after an accident. After all, you may be healing from an injury, filling out endless forms, and spending hours on the phone with insurance representatives. You may feel overwhelmed and want to move on from your accident quickly. However, you may forfeit your best settlement if you make the wrong move.

The best way to protect yourself is by contacting an attorney as soon as possible. The attorneys at WKW can help ensure these common mistakes do not derail your personal injury case. Contact WKW now for a free consultation.

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