Accidents are unpredictable and beyond our control. What is in our hands is the ability to ensure that another person does not get injured owing to our negligence. Being a victim of personal injury can be not only physically painful, but even mentally and emotionally devastating. In such a scenario, a victim must fight for his/her rights.
The victim must claim compensation for the loss he/she has incurred. The most common types of personal injury claims include road traffic accidents, tripping and falling, assault claims, workplace accidents, accidents at home, professional malpractice, harm caused by a defective product and intentional wrongs.
When it comes to personal injury claims, it is important for you to bear in mind that filing a civil lawsuit and pursuing a financial compensation is a very crucial step. It needs you to take care of all the minute details. By not doing so, you can run into a number of pitfalls, and this can significantly hurt your chances of recovering a fitting compensation.
Here are the seven mistakes you should avoid when filing a personal injury lawsuit.
1. Misrepresenting the Injury
One of the biggest mistakes to commit when filing a personal injury claim would be misrepresenting your injury.
You cannot exaggerate the severity of your injury to avail a higher compensation. Neither should you underestimate your injuries on the basis of your assumptions. This will only lead to discrepancies later and may come in the way of your claim recovery.
The best step to take would be to consult a medical expert and get an opinion from him/her about your injury. Only he/she can provide you with a clear picture regarding the severity of your injury.
2. Taking Too Much Time to File the Claim
A personal injury lawsuit needs to be filed within a certain time limit. This is known as the “statute of limitations.” It clearly states that the period of time for filing the lawsuit begins when the plaintiff is injured or discovers the injury.
The time limit is established by the state law and the jury. Moreover, it depends on two major factors:
- Type of injury
- The state you live in
You need to be aware of the deadline and file the claim accordingly.
3. Not Filing a Police Report
When it comes to filing claims, the police report plays a crucial role. There are two reasons to file it.
First and foremost, a police report acts like an official record of important information that constitutes all the details regarding the incident and the contact details of the concerned parties.
More importantly, if a lawsuit arises, then the police report is a major piece of evidence, which can be raised in the court.
Hence, calling the police after the accident is a must. This will put the formal investigation in place. In a scenario where the negligent party denies liability, it can get very difficult for you to prove the case in the absence of a police report.
4. Not Seeking Legal Advice
In order to protect your interests, seeking legal advice is an important step.
Don’t take the risk of not taking legal advice, assuming you will be able to handle the matter all by yourself. This can cause more damage to your case. Dealing with insurance companies without legal aid can be difficult and in many cases, outright impossible. It is very likely that insurance companies might not take you seriously if you are not being represented by a legal professional. Moreover, your claim could be denied, delayed or settled for a much lower amount than you actually deserve.
It is, therefore, of utmost importance to be represented by a reputable lawyer, one who can fight for your rights and against the wrong that has been done to you. An experienced personal injury lawyer can be a priceless asset. You should not underestimate his/her potential and his/her ability to help you obtain a just outcome.
There are a lot of ways to find an experienced personal injury lawyer. If you or your close ones have been the victims of a personal injury, then you need to seek legal advice from a reputable and skilled lawyer.
Searching online can help you greatly. For instance, if you are a resident of Chicago, you can search online for injury attorney Chicago. This will provide you with several relevant results. Once you are done with shortlisting a few lawyers, you can check their reputation through online rating. Moreover, you can also ask for recommendations from your friends, colleagues or relatives.
5. Not Making the Needed Documentation
A personal injury does not come with just physical pain, but there is emotional stress that a victim has to go through too. This makes it very easy to forget the exact details of the accident. It is, therefore, very important to record every single detail of the accident while it is still fresh in your mind.
Make sure to have records of the following:
- Every conversation with the insurance company representatives
- Doctor visits, prescribed medication and medical bills
- Nature of your injuries along with photographs
- Lost wages
- Contact details of the witnesses and parties involved in the accident
By documenting every bit of the accident, you will be able to prove the physical and financial suffering that you have undergone.
6. Not Seeking Medical Help
Seeking legal advice is essential when filing a personal injury claim. But a much more important step is to see a doctor right away after the injury. Failure to do so can be held against you later by the defense.
The defense may argue that your injuries may not have been severe enough to warrant a visit to the doctor, and hence, do not deserve to be compensated for. It is also likely that the insurance company may argue that failure to see a doctor immediately after the accident indicates that your injury might have been a result of an unrelated event either before or after the accident.
It is, therefore, highly advisable to avail medical treatment right away. The longer you wait for it, the more complex your case can get.
Further, you should see to it that you cooperate with the doctors and the physical therapists you see. Documenting your suffering is important, so work with your doctors by explaining the accident in detail, as well as any pain you may still be experiencing. This can help you get a letter from the doctor that connects your injuries to the accident, and thereby support your case.
When you are injured due to another person’s negligence, the last thing you want to do is make mistakes that may negatively impact your chances of receiving compensation. Do not let the situation overwhelm or confuse you, because that may result into you taking steps without careful thinking.
The physical pain and emotional turmoil is difficult to cope with when dealing with an unwitting and underserving personal injury. But by avoiding the above mentioned mistakes, you will be well on your way to availing a personal injury claim successfully. This will, at least, help you deal with the financial burden during such a trying time.