The aftermath of an injury sustained in an accident can be devastating and challenging to navigate. It is possible you’ll become immediately overwhelmed by the financial, physical, and emotional burdens associated with the incident, hindering your ability to think clearly and potentially leading to errors or further complications down the road. While you can and should seek monetary compensation if the accident wasn’t your fault, preparing to pursue a personal injury claim is complicated, and there are many pitfalls. Below are a few of the most common mistakes to avoid if you plan to file a personal injury claim.
NOT Hiring A Personal Injury Attorney
Oftentimes people misunderstand what it means and what is required of them when they represent themselves. Getting the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney will give you the best chance at reaching a full and fair settlement for the cost of your injuries. Even with the support of a personal injury attorney, the process of seeking compensation from insurance companies can be mentally and emotionally exhausting. Going through it alone, however, increases the risk of making errors that could hinder you from receiving the full extent of compensation for your accident and injuries.
Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, meaning there are no upfront or out-of-pocket costs, so the price of legal assistance is actually more affordable than most realize.
Denying Or Delaying Medical Care
When you’re injured, seeking medical attention from a licensed professional immediately is essential. Even if you look and feel fine, there are several injuries that are invisible to the eye at first but that can and should be diagnosed by a doctor as soon as possible. For example, a traumatic brain injury, or internal bleeding, is something you won’t immediately notice after an accident or even a few days later. It is important that you get evaluated for injuries not only for your physical health and well-being but also for evidence if you are to file a personal injury claim. Without seeing a doctor, you’ll have no documentation of the injuries you sustained. Ample documentation could be the key to winning your case. If you don’t have it, or wait too long to get it, an insurance company could claim that something else was the cause of your injuries and argue that they are not responsible for covering the costs.
Waiting Too Long To File A Claim
For most accident injuries, there is a statute of limitations on the allotted amount of time that you have to file a personal injury claim. Florida Statutes § 95.11(3)(a) states that you have four years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury claim. Waiting any longer will prevent you from being able to pursue a lawsuit against the at-fault party.
While it is understandable to be overwhelmed right after an accident occurs, and it is likely you’ll be dealing with injuries that make it difficult to focus on anything else, it’s important you begin the filing process as soon as the dust settles and you’ve sought medical attention. (That’s, again, where having an attorney can be helpful, as they can take care of the legalities while you rest and recover!)
Leaving The Scene Of The Accident
Experiencing an accident can evoke strong emotions. It’s likely that your initial reaction might be to distance yourself from the scene because you are scared or want to move on with your day. Nevertheless, whether you’re pursuing a personal injury claim or not, it is imperative that you refrain from leaving the accident site without first calling 911 and undergoing a medical evaluation.
You should also contact the police so that an official police report on the accident is established. Even if the at-fault party admits to the accident, is remorseful, or asks to cover your damages without getting insurance and police involved, your chances of pursuing financial restitution will be tarnished without an official report. A lack of a police report will also make it easier for the at-fault party’s insurance company to deny your claims. Always contact the police and request a copy of the report for your own records!
Failing To Collect & Maintain Proper Documentation
Another mistake that people often make is not keeping track of things like the police report. Having insufficient records of your medical documentation, expenses, and other relevant details could be the downfall of your personal injury claim. It is essential that you gather and keep any accident-related documents in a safe place, as they can serve as important evidence for your claims!
Settling With The First Offer You Get
Unfortunately, most insurance companies’ biggest concern is saving themselves money. Therefore they’ll do anything that they can to deny or devalue your injury claims. While the at-fault party’s insurance company or sometimes even your own should cover the cost of your injuries, it doesn’t mean they’re going to do so happily. When they’re unable to deny your claims, they’ll “compensate” by offering you a settlement that is well below the value of your injuries. This is because they’re aware of the financial strain an accident can have on you, so their hope is that if you’re desperate enough for cash you’ll take a lowball offer.
This is another reason why it is important to work with a personal injury attorney so you don’t have to settle. With a skilled attorney on your side, these insurance companies will take you more seriously. Your attorney can negotiate for the best deal on your behalf so that you can get the settlement you deserve!
What Ted Machi & Associates, P.C. Can Do For You
Your financial well-being is of utmost importance to us! Our small firm size is a strength, not a weakness. Here your personal injury case will be directly overseen by seasoned attorneys with 20+ years of combined experience, who have been acknowledged for their education and exceptional abilities. You can rest assured that your legal matters will not be entrusted to paralegals or inexperienced lawyers.
Our lead attorney, Ted Machi, has been practicing law in North Texas for 25+ years. He cares for all of his clients and works for the best outcome on behalf of each one. His knowledge of personal injury law can give you an advantage as no case is too complex or too simple for Ted Machi & Associates, P.C. Call today to schedule a free consultation!