If you have been injured in an accident and are seeking compensation through
the personal injury claims process, more than just the facts of the case
may come into play. Your personal conduct, from what you do in court to
what you say online, can have the potential to damage your claim. Many
people are surprised to learn that even a seemingly innocent remark on
social media may be used against them in the courtroom.
Remember, the insurance company that you are seeking damages from is a
business and at the end of the day, they take profits into consideration.
As such, an insurance company (and their attorneys) may leave no rock
unturned in the search for details that may reduce the overall value of
your claim. Below, our blog takes a look at some of the most common mistakes
people make and how you can avoid them.
Five common personal injury mistakes include:
Saying too much: The time directly after an accident can often be tremendously confusing.
Between property damage, personal injuries, and dealing with law enforcement,
it can be easy to accidentally say the wrong thing. For example, a driver’s
gut reaction after a crash may be to say “I’m sorry”
either out of empathy or kindness. However, an apologetic phrase of any
kind may be argued by the opposing counsel as evidence of guilt. It is
critical to avoid saying more than is needed at every step in the process.
Taking an early settlement: Damages from an accident can often stretch budgets thin. Between medical
bills and missed work, it can be tempting to accept a seemingly fair offer
from the insurance company. However, you should not accept or discuss
a settlement without first meeting with both your doctor and your attorney.
On one hand, not all symptoms or injuries will be immediately apparent.
Accepting a settlement before you know the extent of your damages can
leave you to pay for substantial medical bills out of your own pocket.
Additionally, Insurance adjusters often propose offers with the knowledge
that negotiations are likely. By accepting an early settlement, you may
leave money on the table. Your attorney can deal with an insurance company
on your behalf to ensure that you are treated fairly.
Misrepresenting the accident: Providing false information to the insurance company or law enforcement
can land you in legal trouble. If it is found that you knowingly misrepresented
any part of an accident or your injuries, your credibility can be irrevocably
damaged. Unfortunately, misrepresentation can also be done accidentally
and this is another reason why it is important to limit what you say.
For example, if after an accident you exit your vehicle and indicate that
you are fine, an attorney may later call into question the severity of
your injuries and the accuracy of your testimony. You may have meant that
you did not have any broken bones, or maybe you were not aware of the
injuries you had. Either way, your opponents may misconstrue your statement
and use it against you in court.
Not visiting the doctor: It is not uncommon for accident victims to put off a visit to the doctor.
Sometimes, injuries may not be immediately apparent and individuals do
not realize that they actually need medical care. Other times, the stress
involved with going to the hospital can be enough to keep people away.
The truth is that no matter how severe you believe an accident to be,
it is vital to seek medical attention as soon as possible. There are many
reasons for this. Firstly, only a doctor can accurately diagnose your
injuries and recommend a course of treatment. Medical reports can also
be invaluable in substantiating the degree to which an accident has affected
you. Additionally, avoiding the doctor may be used as evidence that your
injuries are not as serious as you claim.
Social media: Online platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have come to affect nearly
every area of our lives… including personal injury claims. This
can come as a surprise as many people would like to assume that the legal
sphere is wholly separate from social media websites. The trouble is that
almost all the information posted online is publically available and can
be openly viewed by the insurance company, the police, and the opposing
attorney. If you have claimed that an injury is keeping you from work
but post a picture of yourself at the park, the nature of your injuries
may be called into question. While you are involved in the claims process
or in a lawsuit, it can be best to stay off social media altogether.
Injured Through No Fault of Your Own? Call (845) 340-4878
While following the advice above can be a great start in protecting your
claim, you should not attempt to navigate the legal process without the
help of an experienced attorney. At Mainetti, Mainetti & O'Connor,
P.C., we possess more than a century of legal experience and can help
you to seek every penny that you deserve. Our
Kingston personal injury attorneys have been honored by several prestigious legal organizations such as
Super Lawyers® and we have recovered millions of dollars for clients in past victories.
If you have questions about your claim, do not hesitate to contact our
firm and get the answers you need.
Schedule a free consultation with our attorneys and learn about your legal options.