If you’re filing a personal injury lawsuit, you’ve got a lot on your plate. You’re probably dealing with medical treatments, therapy, lost wages from work, various expenses, attorney appointments, and more.
You don’t have time for mistakes made during your personal injury case. As you navigate the difficulties of your case, here are the biggest mistakes you must avoid.
1. Feeling Guilty
A personal injury lawsuit is not a personal attack on the at-fault party, nor is it a way to get rich quickly. It’s simply a way to take care of your needs, and you shouldn’t feel guilty about that.
“A serious car accident can disrupt your life and leave you overwhelmed and struggling to get back on your feet,” says an article from a law firm in Tennessee. “You may be a considerate person who has never thought about suing someone else, but you should not be burdened paying medical bills from a car accident injury that was caused by someone else’s negligence.”
Don’t be tempted to falsify evidence or alter your testimony to support your case. More often than not, the truth will come out. Lying puts you at risk for losing your case and being charged with perjury.
Share all relevant information with your attorney. He or she will present the facts in the best way possible. You don’t need to lie to win your case.
3. Talking About Your Case
Sharing too much information is one of the fastest ways to get yourself in trouble. Don’t share any information with the at-fault party.
You shouldn’t share information with the public either. This means no interviews, published statements, or media contacts. This includes posting about it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
“Social media posts can sabotage your injury claim” says Brett Snider, Esq. of FindLaw. “How? Generally by revealing that you are less injured than you claim to be. But revealing confidential information regarding settlement negotiations or details about an actual, confidential settlement could invalidate the settlement.”
4. Missing the Statute of Limitations
Too many victims believe they can procrastinate filing their case. However, there’s a statute of limitations for personal injury filings, which means that you have to file your case within a certain time period.
The statute of limitations varies by state, but it’s usually 2-4 years. Once that time has passed, you can no longer file your case. Look up the statute for your state to avoid missing the deadline!
5. Ignoring Doctor’s Orders
You’re trying to convince the judge that you were injured because of someone else, and your doctor will document that injury. Missing doctor’s appointments, failing to follow orders, and not taking medical treatment seriously may signal that your case is not worthy of consideration.
6. Trying to Do It Alone
Many personal injury victims try to file a lawsuit on their own. It’s not required that they use an attorney, and they want to avoid the fee after the settlement is over. However, this is one of the biggest mistakes you can make.
“Have you performed an appendectomy on yourself lately?” asks an article from AutoAccident.com. “If performing a moderately complicated medical procedure on yourself doesn't sound appealing, then handling a moderately complicated personal injury claim shouldn't either.”
Your attorney has experience in these matters, and based on data from previous cases, you’ll get between 300 and 1000 percent more from a winning settlement when you hire an attorney. That’s a good reason to bite the bullet!
7. Failing to Preserve Evidence
You might have ample witnesses who saw the accident wasn’t your fault, but over time, memories fade, and evidence can vanish. If you haven’t preserved the evidence right after the accident, you risk losing it all together.
Photos, police reports, medical documents, witness statements, etc. can cement your case. Get the names and contact information of any witnesses in case you need their help later.
8. Settling Early with the Insurance Company
If you’re suing the insurance company, they might pressure you to settle early, maybe even before you’ve undergone treatment for your injuries. However, you don’t know how much it’s going to cost to fully restore your injuries, so settling could mean you’re short on cash in the end.
Once you’ve settled, there’s nothing your attorney can do to increase your compensation. It’s always better to consult an attorney first and get your personal injury compensation on the right track.