5 Things That Can Cause You to Lose Compensation in a Personal Injury Case
The success of a personal injury law case depends on several factors. No matter how you look at a personal injury case, the proceedings can be a long and drawn-out affair. It is possible to win these cases and get compensation, however, there are some key mistakes that can reduce the total amount of damages you are awarded.
In order to help you prepare a successful personal injury lawsuit, we have gathered a list of five things that you should avoid. This list includes: waiting, organizing your case alone, accepting the first insurance offer, testifying alone, and ignoring documentation.
1. Avoid Waiting
One of the first things you should do after being in an accident is to seek medical attention. Don’t wait! When you visit your doctor after an accident, you will create records that show you were hurt and prove that an accident took place.
If you wait and don’t seek medical attention, insurance companies can use loopholes to avoid paying damages. Specifically, they can use a lapse of care stipulation to claim that your injuries were not serious enough to warrant payment of damages.
Additionally, if you avoid seeking medical care until a different condition shows up and you find more problems related to your accident, insurance companies can avoid paying for coverage. There are certain time windows where insurance companies will cover health issues, but as a rule of thumb, seek medical attention as soon as you can.
Have these records with you, as well as any police reports and any other evidence you’ve gathered when you meet with a personal injury lawyer to prepare your case. Which brings us to our next point.
2. Avoid Organizing Your Case Alone
Personal injury law is complicated, intimidating, and detail-oriented. Not only that but preparing a successful lawsuit for personal injury cases is extremely time-consuming, especially during dangerous drug lawsuits.
A personal injury attorney knows the ins and outs of the law. Our attorneys at Galligan Law have years of experience helping injured persons the compensation they need after an accident.
No matter what kind of injury you’ve experienced, our lawyers are ready to help you. When you meet with them, bring all of the evidence you’ve gathered and together we will help you plan your case.
We know the tricks and traps that insurance companies use to avoid paying up, and we will fight for you until you win.
3. Avoid Accepting the First Insurance Offer
Because personal injury law cases can be so stressful, it can be tempting to accept the first payment offer from the other party’s insurance. Our advice? Don’t do it.
In personal injury cases, especially with car accident cases, insurance companies will try to make an offer upfront to avoid a higher payout. Usually, these up-front settlements come with an agreement that you won’t sue the company or guilty party.
Our advice is to wait, gather your evidence, and work with a professional to prepare a personal injury claim. A claim doesn’t necessarily mean you will face the other party in court, but it is a more effective way to get the coverage you need.
4. Avoid Testifying Alone
As we have mentioned, if you try to tackle a personal injury claim alone, it becomes much harder. An important part of preparing a claim is finding witnesses to testify on your behalf.
If you were involved in an accident and are in a stable condition, talk to people on the scene. Get reports, contact information, and agreements that these people will support your case.
Witness statements are key pieces of information that can make or break a case. Some witnesses may even provide evidence that you were unaware of. However, if you lack witnesses, your case will appear weaker and you will most likely lose compensation.
5. Avoid Ignoring Documentation
As you may have noticed, evidence of damages is essential to your case. If you don’t record evidence as it comes, the total amount of compensation paid to you will be reduced.
The question then becomes, “what should I document?”
We’ve touched on a few points of evidence that will be helpful, such as medical records, police reports, and witness accounts. However, there are many more records that can provide evidence for your claim such as the following.
If you’ve been hurt and can’t work, there will be information that shows it. Time off and leave of absence requests for injury and recovery are excellent documents to include in your claim.
You can also use letters from your employer, pay stubs, W-2 forms, and tax returns to prove lost wages.
Because accidents can leave you with physical and psychological damages, you may need extended treatment and therapy to recover completely. Save any medical bills that you have to pay after an accident.
Keep in mind that each of these bills must be directly related to your injuries that came from the accident. In fact, it is essential that these expenses were necessary to help you recover. Defense lawyers will attack the necessity of medical treatment if it is not expressed.
As you work with your insurance company, save any messages you exchange. Keep timestamps on the messages if possible. Screenshots can also help you keep your insurance company accountable.
The same advice applies to the defending party’s insurance company. Insurance adjusters will use every loophole and out possible to reduce the amount of coverage you receive.
As the saying goes, pictures are worth a thousand words. And it’s true in personal injury law too. If you can, take pictures at the scene of the accident. For car accidents, you may not see all of the damage immediately, but picture evidence can be used later for damage evaluation.
If you take pictures on your phone or mobile device, each picture should have metadata which can help prove the time and location of the accident.
Depending on the accident, the fire department may be involved instead of, or along with, the police. After the incident is dealt with, there should be records that you can access to support your case.
If you had a slip and fall accident at a store or another accident, store employees are responsible for filling out incident reports. In general, businesses are required to fill out incident reports for their records. You can request a copy for your records as well.
In terms of car and trucking accidents, this may not be the first accident the at-fault driver was involved in. Driving records can be a strong support for your personal injury claim.
Finally, make sure you document your account of the accident as accurately as possible. Include as many details as possible, even pulling from supporting evidence. A written narrative, especially if your claim goes to court, can win powerful support for your case.
Working with a Personal Injury Lawyer
Now you know the main mistakes to avoid, tackling a personal injury claim or lawsuit can still be intimidating. We encourage you to meet with one of our expert attorneys in a FREE consultation for legal advice and to evaluate your case.
Our lawyers have decades of experience dealing with all types of personal injury law including:
- Wrongful death
- Medical malpractice
- Car accidents
- Trucking accidents
- Defective products
- Dangerous Drugs
- Nursing Home Negligence
- Dog bites
If you or a family member need a personal injury lawyer in Des Moines, Iowa, contact Galligan Law today.