The process of filing a personal injury claim is rarely as simple as filing a statement of what happened, how you feel, and how much you expect to recover in damages.
People often enter cases with serious misconceptions, and these issues can cause claims to be lost altogether or resolved under less favorable terms. Here are several things that lost cases often had in common, and considerations to help you avoid making the same mistake.
The personal injury claim process is, at its core, bureaucratic. It involves filing documents with the parties believed to be responsible for the injuries. It involves working with the court to see that everything is presented in accordance with the law and before the expected deadlines. It often leads to back and forth negotiations.
At any step in this process, a non-professional may be asked to sign documents that they do not fully understand. Said documents may include waiving rights to future claims, admissions of irregularities, or acknowledgments of particular procedures. If you do not have an attorney, it can be difficult to determine whether a particular document should be signed.
In addition, injury attorneys are experienced in operating the system. This fact in itself can deter insurance companies or responsible parties from trying to push your luck. It can also inspire greater court confidence in the claims you are asserting.
Very few injury claims are viewed as single-party fault. In general terms, some division of responsibility will be determined. If that division of liability reaches the point where the claimant is found to be more liable than the defendant, no damages will be awarded.
Even if a defendant is more liable, the difference between 60 percent liability and 75 percent liability represents a notable increase in total compensation.
It’s easy to think of an injury claim as an opportunity to win big or take down those who deserve it. This mindset can turn out to be a big mistake when approaching the claims process.
Fraudulent behavior can lead to widespread claim dismissal, counterclaims, and possibly criminal charges against claimants. Even the simple choice to say that a back injury is worse on the pain scale than it actually can lead to an adverse outcome.
Thanks to the ubiquitous smartphone, there are now cameras everywhere. While it can be fun to document your life on social media, you should also worry about the possibility that your or your friends’ feeds will be used as evidence against your claim.
No one wants to be the person who threw out their case because they just had to sneak in a big summer trip before their settlement was finalized. Even one of the many posts on Twitter noting how good you feel may be presented as evidence that your pain and suffering are not real.
Lack of documentation
It is always wise to be as thorough as possible when documenting everything that follows an incident that leaves you hurt. One of the first steps is to contact the police and file a report. This allows you to develop an official record of the incident. Similarly, the courts and insurance companies regard the police as credible sources of information.
It is also a good idea to start documenting your experiences. Keeping a diary for each day after the incident will allow you to present a more complete picture of how your injuries could have altered your life. The inability to get out of bed unaided several times a week, for example, can create a strong narrative that could enhance the expectation of compensation.
Speculations and mistakes
At some point, the insurance company will likely put you in touch with a claims adjuster. Those who miss injury cases can get too talkative in these interactions. It is not your place as a complainant to speculate why something happened or what someone’s motivations were. If you feel, for example, that you have grounds to seek compensation for malice, it is best to ask your attorney about hiring an investigator rather than telling those statements to an appraiser.
When in doubt, speak only what you know. Better yet, decline to comment until you can have an attorney present to advise you. Better to delay the process by a great deal of caution than to risk making mistakes by saying the wrong thing at the wrong time without an attorney present to explain things to you.
As issues such as fraud are discussed in the world of injury claims, an issue that is often overlooked is the tendency of people to minimize problems. There are many reasons to minimize an injury. Some people don’t want their toughness questioned. Others do not want to stir things up with defendants who may be neighbors or business owners they frequent. This can cause an insurance company to reduce a claim or deny it entirely.
It is always unwise to minimize your claim. If you are experiencing severe wasting that can prevent you from leading a full life, you deserve adequate compensation.
To be prepared
If you’ve been injured in an accident, you likely have questions about the process of moving forward in a personal injury case. Don’t make the mistake of going it alone and risking your potential to recover damages.
An experienced Las Vegas personal injury attorney can help you better prepare for the complex considerations of filing a personal injury case. Don’t risk losing your case because of a technicality, or one of the reasons above. Call to schedule your free consultation today.