When it comes to personal injury claims, the adversarial legal process can be derailed permanently in a number of ways. The slightest mistake on your part can lead to your case being dismissed, forcing you to pay for the damages out of your own pocket. This is why it’s important to understand the process, before you need to file a personal injury claim.
Don’t Sign Anything
While most people know this, it can be different when you have a high-pressure insurance adjuster in your face. They can make it seem like you don’t have a choice or that your situation will worsen in time. The truth of the matter is that, once you sign a settlement or an admission of even partial fault, you’ve sabotaged your own case. Signing a settlement means you’re stuck with whatever was offered, even if your medical bills amount to more. Signing an admission of fault shifts the blame from the defendant, so you’ll likely be awarded less, if your case isn’t entirely dismissed.
Don’t Try to Settle Your Own Case
You’ve heard the phrase before. The quote, “he who represents himself has a fool for a client,” is attributed to Abraham Lincoln and it’s as true today as it was when he said it. Unless you happen to be a partner at a personal injury law firm Owings Mills MD, you’re better off hiring an experienced attorney to represent you. Only a proper legal advocate will know the laws and your rights well enough to negotiate on your behalf.
Don’t Skip Out on Medical Treatment
Regardless of whether it was a slip and fall, auto accident, or some other type of incident, don’t neglect to get medical treatment. First of all, the law requires you to do everything within your power to minimize the severity of your injuries. Secondly, you can’t say for certain what injuries you may have. Back injuries and head trauma, for instance, take time to fully develop, so you may not experience symptoms right away. Getting a full medical exam can identify all of your injuries.
Do Not Agree to Make a Phone Statement
The insurance company for the defendant will call you relatively quickly, perhaps while you’re still in the hospital. They will pressure you into making a recorded statement over the phone. This is a bad idea. Anything you say over the phone will be recorded and documented, even if you don’t intend it as a part of your official statement. Additionally, in a weakened, injured state, you may misspeak, say things you don’t mean, or say something that can be taken out of context. It’s better to make your statement in person, after you’ve had time to think about what you want to say.
Being involved in an accident is a frightening experience, especially when it wasn’t your fault. In cases where the accident resulted in serious injuries or costly property damages, it may be in your best interests to hire an experienced attorney. That’s the best way you ensure you receive proper compensation for your damages.