Stating your injuries and providing the expenses you accrued due to the injuries is not enough in a personal injury claim. There’s a lot more involved if you want to receive full, fair, and just compensation. So, mistake number one is underestimating the claim process. But there are more mistakes you could potentially make that can jeopardize your personal injury case. Here, we outline five important ones in the hope that knowledge is indeed power for your personal injury case.
Mistake No. 1: Not Adhering Completely to Your Medical Care Plan
When you are injured in an accident, your first action should be seeking medical attention. This act alone links the injury to the accident. If you sustained substantial injuries — and even then, if the injuries are relatively minor — you will be provided with a care plan or treatment plan. This plan and any other “doctor orders” you are given should be strictly heeded. When you fail to follow the plan, take prescribed medicine, followup with your doctor, among other things, an insurance company can use this as a defense or as a means to reduce its payout to you. The theory is: by not following the orders of the medical professionals, you contributed to your injury. Contributing to your injury is factored into compensation in California and most other states. Your compensation will be reduced accordingly if a judge or jury agrees.
Mistake No. 2: Not Providing an Accurate Medical History
When you file a personal injury claim, the insurance company will request authorization from you to obtain your medical history. You need to be careful here. You want to provide an accurate medical history, but you do not need to provide your full medical history. Be clear with respect to the dates you allow authorization. Your experienced attorney will advise you on this matter. It can be crucial because an insurance company will review your medical history with a literal fine tooth comb. Their intention is to identify anything it can use against you to lower the value of your compensation.
Mistake No. 3: Not Filing a Claim within the Allotted Time Period per the Statute of Limitations
In California, for most personal injury claims, you have two (2) years to file a claim. If it is one day after the two-year mark, then the court will dismiss the case. These are arbitrary deadlines with little wiggle room unless your case fits within a well-defined exception. For instance, in some personal injury cases, you may not have been aware of the harm done to you, so it is not until you discover (or should have reasonably discovered) the harm at which time the statute of limitations begins — as opposed to the date the harm actually was inflicted.
Mistake No. 4: Not Declining the First Settlement Offer
Auto insurers and other insurance companies know that directly after the accident you are most vulnerable. They use this vulnerability — indeed prey upon it — to offer you a settlement deal. They know you are in want of money. They know you fear you won’t get a better offer. They know you just want the whole matter over. As such, the first settlement offer will almost always be well-below what the auto insurance actually should pay out to you in order for the compensation to be fair and just.
Mistake No. 5: Not Providing a Strong Legal Analysis of the Case
As mentioned at the beginning of this blog, a claim is more than providing the details of what happened, the details of your injury, and the costs of the injury. It requires thorough, persuasive legal analysis identifying why the other party is at fault (and not you). Without strong legal analysis, your case may be weakened with holes that the insurance company can easily fill with its own legal analysis and assumptions. They can use this as a means to reduce the compensation owed to you, and in some cases, insurance companies may altogether deny your claim. Without a strong legal analysis from the beginning, you may have to fight an uphill battle. And when you have suffered considerable injuries, this additional battle is stress you don’t need.
It is always in your best interests — whether you were in a car accident, motorcycle accident, pedestrian accident, slip and fall accident, or any other kind of accident — to obtain personal injury legal representation in Newport Beach CA that focuses on clients and puts their interests first. At Ledger Law Firm, we care and we perform. We are not afraid of insurance companies and their tactics. We go full force knowing that people’s lives on at stake. Contact us today to learn more about our personal injury, wrongful death, and mass tort practices.