Even the most prudent people can have accidents and get injured. Safe drivers could swerve or skid due to the behavior of other road users. Sensible workers can get hurt while diligently carrying out their daily duties. Anyone can accidentally slip, trip, or fall on wet floors or uneven surfaces that haven’t been properly signposted. And if you do get injured, you’ll need to file a personal injury claim.
While you might assume that the claims process is quick and easy, it rarely turns out that way. In fact, there are all sorts of challenges to overcome. Evidence is a key element in personal injury lawsuits, for example, and it needs to be collected with care. You also need the right lawyer to support your case. This guide will highlight some common mistakes and how to avoid making them.
Assuming You Can Handle the Case Alone
Personal injury cases might sound simple. You got hurt. It wasn’t your fault. And you’re facing bills and a whole host of problems, like lost income and serious medical expenses. Logically, those responsible for your injury should pay up, and you should get the financial help you need. Since it seems so straightforward, you might believe that you can tackle it single-handed.
That can be a huge mistake. In reality, personal injury cases are rarely simple. Insurance companies don’t like paying out large sums if they can avoid it. Plus, the people who you believe to be responsible for your injury could simply deny any guilt or even shift the blame onto you. This can cause all sorts of complications, which is why it’s always best to have a legal professional on your side.
Hiring the Wrong Lawyer
So, it’s clear that you need a lawyer. But that doesn’t mean you should simply rush out and hire the first firm you find. There are many personal injury lawyers out there. They can have completely different levels of experience and expertise, and some will have far more impressive track records than the rest. Picking the wrong one could prove fatal to your case, as they might struggle to help you get the money and justice you’re entitled to.
It’s therefore crucial to take your time and search for the best possible legal partner to team up with. Ideally, you should focus on firms that have proven experience of handling cases that are similar to yours. Look for those with years of experience and plenty of successful cases, and make the most of free consultations to ask questions and learn all about them, which leads to the next point.
A Lack of Research
Yes, your lawyer will be able to take care of the hard work behind-the-scenes and complicated legal admin needed for your case. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that you should simply sit back and wait to hear from them. The more you know about your case and how personal injury claims work in general, the better-prepared you’ll be to deal with the situation as it progresses and evolves.
Look online and you’ll find a veritable goldmine of resources to inform and educate you on personal injuries. You can find answers to all the big questions and statistics on subjects like average settlement amounts, and so on. Educating yourself on the subject won’t just prepare you for what lies ahead. It can also help you feel more confident and relaxed, providing a nice boost to your mental health.
Not Following Doctor’s Orders
After your injury, the first thing to do is go to the hospital or visit your doctor. They’ll assess you, find out what’s wrong, and make the necessary recommendations. It’s crucial to follow the doctor’s orders. For example, if they recommend that you abstain from work or exercise for a while to help your body recover, make sure you do so.
Some people make the costly mistake of disobeying or ignoring some or all of their doctor’s advice. That can be catastrophic for a personal injury claim. For example, if you start exercising when the doctor said you shouldn’t, and the opposing side finds out about it, they could use that against you in court to demonstrate that your injury isn’t as serious as you claim.
Sharing Details of Your Case
It’s normal that you might want to talk to friends, family, or colleagues about what happened to you. You might want to share the story of the accident, explain your injuries, or discuss details of your legal case. However, a legal professional will always urge you to keep discussion of the case to a minimum and generally not talk about it at all.
Why? Well, once again, if the opposing side finds out something you’ve said that doesn’t quite match what your lawyer is saying, they could use that against you. They could poke holes in your argument and make you look unreliable in front of a judge, which may harm your chances of success. This is especially true for online social media posts, which can be screenshotted, saved, and used as evidence against you.
Maybe you’ve watched a lot of legal TV shows. Perhaps you’ve got friends who have gone through personal injury settlements. If so, you might have a tendency to make assumptions. You may assume that the case will go to court, for instance, or that it will result in a certain amount of money, or that you’re sure to win, no matter what.
However, things don’t always go the way you might expect, and in reality, cases don’t always work the same way as they do on TV. So, instead of heading into your lawsuit with assumptions or preconceptions, try to keep an open mind and learn from the process as it happens. Ask questions of your lawyer if you have doubts and carry out research of your own to find out more.
Avoid These Common Errors
Mistakes like these can prove costly. Hire the wrong lawyer, and you could lose your case. Post the wrong thing on social media, and you might miss out on a big settlement sum.
In order to avoid any of those unnecessary risks, make sure you approach your case with care and caution. Take the time you need to find the right attorney, never rush into decisions, try to keep quiet about the case as much as you can, and, whenever in doubt, speak with your legal partner to learn more.