If you’ve been involved in an accident that’s left you injured, sick, or hurt, a personal injury claim may allow you to receive the care and compensation that you need to move on. But if you’re going to file a claim, there are some mistakes you don’t want to make.
Don’t Make These 6 Mistakes
It’s not often that you find yourself hurt as a result of someone else’s negligence, which is why so many people are ill prepared for handling personal injury incidents. In their haste and ignorance, most people end up making costly mistakes.
Here are a few you’ll want to avoid at all costs:
1. Not Getting Appropriate Medical Care
Victims of personal injury cases often don’t get appropriate medical care in a timely manner, which is problematic for a number of reasons.
First off, you need to get medical care in order to ensure your health and safety. Even if everything seems to be okay in the moment, you never know the full extent of an injury until you have a doctor check you out.
Secondly, getting immediate medical care also establishes evidence of your injury. It supplies you with legal documentation, expert opinions, and a clear paper trail that can be tied back to your situation.
2. Failing to Hire an Attorney
The second mistake people often make is not hiring a lawyer. In most cases, they either aren’t sure they have a case, or they think they can handle it on their own. Regardless, a failure to hire an attorney is a major mistake.
Almost every personal injury attorney offers free consultations, so there really isn’t much to lose if you want to find out more about your claim (or even if there’s a claim to be made). Find a good, reputable attorney and schedule a quick consultation. It’s one of the best ways you can use your time.
3. Not Accounting for All Costs
It’s important that you and your attorney account for all costs when looking into a personal injury claim. It’s easy to underestimate expenses, which is quite literally a costly mistake.
“While economic damages are visible and clearly have a dollar amount, your non-financial damages won’t be so easy to quantify,” the Henry C. Dailey Law Firm explains. “These damages include any suffering you’ve experienced, which will typically consist of emotional or mental responses to the trauma you’ve been through.”
4. Waiting Too Long
Personal injury cases are subject to a statute of limitations. The specific timeframe depends on the state and jurisdiction you’re in, but most range from two to three years. If you wait too long and the statute of limitations expires, you won’t have a case.
It’s important that you move quickly. While you don’t have to make a bunch of decisions right away, you do need to get expert legal guidance from the very beginning. This will help you stay on track and avoid making major mistakes.
5. Being Sloppy With Your Words
As you’ve likely discovered in your own personal life, words matter. Once you say something, it’s out there. In a personal injury case, this is truer than ever. If you get sloppy with your words and say too much, you could compromise your case. It’s best to remain quiet and let your attorney do the talking for you.
6. Not Weighing All Options
It’s easy to let pride and feelings get in the way. This often leads to poor decision making in terms of how the case progresses.
Make sure you aren’t so focused on getting a verdict in a trial that you ignore mediation as an option. As Nolo explains, “A personal injury trial can last a day, a week, or even longer. The length may be increased because, in many states, trials are held for only half a day instead of over a full day.” Mediation is typically much quicker and more efficient.
Look Past Today
One of the hardest things to do in any situation – let alone a physically and emotionally challenging incident that involves an injury – is to stay focused on the future, rather than the present or past. But if you want your personal injury claim to be successful, you need to have an eye on what’s happening in three months, six months, or five years from now. This forward-thinking approach will keep you grounded.