The scenarios described below are common mistakes made by victims or lawyers in personal injury lawsuits. Avoiding mistakes like these can improve your chances of receiving maximum compensation.
1. Not using experts. An expert witness can explain how the negligence of the defendant resulted in the plaintiff’s injuries.
2. Not having good proof. If you are in a car accident, take pictures. Complete a police report. Take pictures of your injuries. Once the scene is cleared or your injuries heal, it will be much more difficult to re-create it without evidence.
3. Not being honest with your doctor. Don’t try to game the system by making your injuries seem worse than they are. You will almost certainly be found out eventually.
4. Missing doctor’s appointments. A missed appointment will show in your medical records, which will be seen by the defendant and his or her insurance company. This could be used by the other side to show that you were not really injured or that you don’t really care. The same applies to stopping medical treatment or failing to take your medication.
5. Being careless with social media. Don’t post photos of the accident, exaggerate your injuries or say that you weren’t hurt in posts to your friends. Again, this will almost certainly hurt your case if discovered by an insurance company – and someone there will discover it.
6. Accepting a settlement offer from an insurance company without contacting an attorney. The insurance company will try to tell you that you don’t need a lawyer because it knows that it will probably have to pay more if you have legal representation.
7. Giving statements or signing documents without getting legal advice. Again, an insurance company will tell you that you don’t need to consult a lawyer before signing anything. It is almost certainly hoping that you will say that the accident was your fault or partially your fault. Similarly, don’t cash checks or sign releases before consulting an attorney.
8. Not getting witness statements as soon as possible. People’s memories fade.
9. Not consulting an attorney. Insurance companies have batteries of lawyers whose job it is to limit how much an insurance company pays out in benefits. Hiring your own attorney will level the playing field a little and improve your chances of getting maximum compensation.
At our Houston personal injury law firm, we have been helping clients with personal injury claims since 1951. You can rely on Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner to get it right from the beginning of your case.