Life is a constant learning process. Whether learning to drive a car, making a first home purchase, or becoming a new parent, anything you have never done before offers its own set of challenges.
When facing something new and complicated, people sometimes feel confident in educating themselves and tackling the issue alone. In other instances, a person will decide that it is better to proceed with the help of a professional. But make no mistake – charging blindly forward in a personal injury case without a plan and without an appropriate knowledge level can result in disastrous mistakes.
In this article, we’ll discuss some of the mistakes that you should avoid to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve for your personal injuries.
1. Signing a document or speaking with an insurance adjuster without representation
Insurance companies handle personal injury claims every hour of every day. They always have well-trained adjusters and attorneys at their disposal who will attempt to use their experience to resolve a claim while paying as little as possible.
And they often act quickly. Insurance adjusters may call shortly after an accident, requesting permission to record an interview. It’s important to understand that statements made in these interviews may later harm your case, both on issues of liability and damages.
Unfortunately, the harmful statements are often inaccurate because they were made before a person had time to properly reflect and assess the accident and injuries. Other times, one might misunderstand a question and phrase a response with the wrong words.
Therefore, it’s best to have a lawyer help you through this process. And definitely don’t sign anything concerning your case until your attorney looks it over. You could literally be signing away your case.
2. Admitting fault to others
Believe it or not, people sometimes believe they caused an accident, even though the evidence proves they didn’t. That’s because a driver sometimes doesn’t see or comprehend everything that happens. For example, one driver may feel he pulled out in front of someone without realizing the other driver had run a red light at an excessive rate of speed.
And the other driver won’t always tell the truth. That’s why careful investigation of an accident is sometimes required to determine what really happened. Thus, never admit liability for an accident until your attorney has time to help you review all the evidence.
3. Failure to seek appropriate medical care
Oregonians are tough, and sometimes seek to prove it by downplaying the severity of injuries. But it’s essential that you get checked out following an accident to make sure injuries are identified.
It’s also important to follow medical advice and follow up on treatment as instructed. You only get one shot at recovering for injuries that a negligent person causes, and it’s only fair to make sure that you have documented them all.
Plus, if you ignore medical advice, the insurance lawyer can later argue that you weren’t really hurt and therefore should have a reduced recovery.
4. Failure to gather evidence
Unfortunately, the longer one waits to gather evidence, the harder it can become to prove a case. Skid marks fade and cars damaged in accidents can get junked or sold. Bad actors may even start discarding evidence that they know would be harmful to their case. Hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer who can help you gather evidence is a great first step.
5. Making legal mistakes
The law has many requirements that you must navigate if you try to represent yourself. For example, allowing a statute of limitations to run can bar your claim. Not understanding procedural rules or rules of evidence can prevent you from introducing important proof in your case. Not understanding how insurance coverages work can limit both the amount and your ability to recover. These are just a few common legal mistakes you could make by forgoing proper legal counsel.
6. Using social media
With the prevalence of social media in today’s society, it’s no surprise that these postings find their way into the courtroom. This information can be taken out of context and provide opposing parties with ammunition to use against you. Thus, it’s wise to limit social media usage when you have a court case.
7. Failure to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer
An experienced personal injury lawyer understands the law, understands how to investigate a complicated case, and knows how to deal with insurance companies. A lawyer can help you navigate complicated issues and avoid mistakes that can harm your case.
Call with Questions
If you’ve suffered personal injury and have questions, we’re here to answer them. The attorneys at Nelson MacNeil Rayfield have experience with automobile accidents, semi-truck accidents, slip and fall cases, medical malpractice, asbestos and mesothelioma litigation, products liability, wrongful death, nursing home negligence, and many other types of personal injury. We have long believed that the only way to make everyone safer in Oregon is to hold people accountable for their wrongful behavior. Give us a call today.