Three Critical Mistakes That Can Damage Your Car Injury Accident Claim
When you or a loved one is injured in a car accident caused by a negligent driver, you can suffer injuries that require medical attention, hospitalization, surgery, rehabilitation, and long-term supportive care. Serious injuries that entail this type of care often lead to potentially ruinous medical bills. Although auto accident victims injured by the negligent conduct of another have a right to pursue a civil lawsuit for compensation, many people with legitimate claims receive less compensation than they should or nothing at all because they make mistakes that diminish the viability and value of their claim. Retaining an experienced auto accident attorney to guide you through the claims and/or litigation process constitutes the best way to learn about your rights and to avoid compromising the value of your claim. We have provided examples of three key errors to avoid when pursuing a car accident injury claim or lawsuit.
Intentionally or Inadvertently Admitting Fault: No matter who is at fault, car accident victims routinely experience some level of shock. When you are upset, it can be easy to say things that might make it more difficult to obtain the compensation you are entitled to under the law. An experienced insurance defense lawyer might attempt to misconstrue a simple statement like, “I’m sorry for this mess” into an admission of fault. Even if you think you were particularly (or totally) at fault, you should never make such an admission. Accident victims often incorrectly believe that they are at fault and make their path to a fair financial recovery harder by admitting fault. The best course is to exchange insurance and driver’s license information with the other driver while not saying anything that could be twisted to sound like you caused the collision.
Postponing Medical Attention: Even if you suffer a significant injury in an auto collision, you might not immediately realize how badly you are injured because of shock and the adrenaline flowing through your body. Because car accident injury victims often misjudge the severity of their injuries, they frequently delay seeking medical attention. Any delay in seeking medical care can lead to a worse prognosis. The other driver’s insurance company also might argue that you did not seek medical attention right away because you are faking an injury. The insurer could suggest that you went to the doctor after the fact to “manufacture a claim” in the hopes of winning the “litigation lottery.”
Handling Your Own Claim: While pursuing a personal injury claim without an attorney is perilous at best, many people choose to handle their own claim at least in the beginning. Unfortunately, the process is complicated by confusing legal standard; extensive procedural, evidentiary, and court rules; strict deadlines; and the expenses associated with building and presenting a compelling case. By the time victims realize they have bitten off more than they can chew, their lack of familiarity with the legal process, critical deadlines, and substantive legal standards often results in critical mistakes that severely damage their claim.
Personal injury attorneys who handle auto accident injury claims usually offer a free consultation. If you speak to a lawyer promptly after your car accident, the attorney can help you avoid these types of missteps.
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