Navigating the legal landscape after sustaining a personal injury can be overwhelming. The actions taken—or not taken—can significantly impact the outcome of a personal injury case. While every case is unique, there are common mistakes that can compromise the strength of your claim.
One of the biggest mistakes is neglecting to seek immediate medical attention. Even if the injury appears minor, a medical evaluation is crucial for establishing a medical record that correlates with the incident. Failing to do so can undermine the credibility of your case and make it difficult to prove the severity of your injuries.
Insurance companies often offer a settlement soon after the accident. As tempting as it may be to accept the initial offer, it’s usually not in your best interest. These offers are generally low and may not cover all medical expenses or other damages. Always consult with a personal injury attorney before accepting any settlements.
Another common mistake is agreeing to provide a recorded statement to the insurance company without legal representation. These statements can be used against you later; the insurer may use inconsistencies between past and future statements to undermine your claim and minimize your payout. Before speaking with an insurance representative, always speak to your lawyer about the appropriate course of action.
It can be tempting to update your social media accounts with details about your injury and ongoing case. Unfortunately, this seemingly innocent act can have dire consequences. Insurance adjusters and opposing lawyers frequently scour social media for evidence that can discredit or devalue your claim.
What may appear as a harmless photo or status update can be interpreted as proof that your injuries are not as serious as stated, or even that you bear some responsibility for the incident. As a rule, avoid posting anything online about your lawsuit or injuries.
Time is of the essence in personal injury cases. In California, victims have two years from the date of their injury to file a lawsuit; if they file after the deadline passes, the court will most likely dismiss the case and prevent them from recovering compensation.
While two years may seem like a long time, it can pass very quickly. To protect your right to recovery, always consult with a lawyer as soon as you can to make sure that you meet the required deadlines.
Once you have received treatment for your injury, it’s essential to follow your doctor’s treatment plan. If you fail to adhere to your healthcare provider’s recommendations, the opposing counsel may argue that your actions aggravated the injury or that the injury was not as severe as you claimed. Complying with medical instructions not only aids your recovery but also strengthens your case.
Attempting to handle a personal injury case without the assistance of an attorney can be a serious misstep. A lawyer understands the nuances of personal injury law, can negotiate effectively with insurance companies, and will advocate to protect your rights and best interests. Their expertise can be the difference between a favorable outcome and a lost case.
If you believe that you qualify for legal action, contact a San Francisco personal injury attorney as soon as possible to discuss your path forward.