What Harmful Mistakes Should I Avoid In My Case?
Making a mistake in your legal case can cost you thousands of dollars. Even worse, you may not realize you are making a mistake until it’s too late. Here are some common mistakes that can possibly do irreparable damage to your claim:
1) Talking to an Insurance Adjuster
As an honest and injured person, you may see no harm in talking to an adjuster, After all, you have nothing to hide. What’s the harm in providing information, right? Besides, if your car was seriously damaged in the accident then you may be very eager to speak to an adjuster thinking that the sooner you speak to an them, the sooner they can help facilitate getting your car repaired or providing a rental car.
Remember this: your seemingly casual conversation with the insurance adjustor is anything but casual. Insurance companies are serious businesses, and insurance adjusters are professional, skilled questioners who will save that recording for later use. More likely than not, the adjuster was fishing for information to use against you later. The harm comes when things are taken out of context and blown out of proportion.
Remember, you are not under any obligation to provide a recorded statement to the at-fault party's insurance company.
2) Signing a Document
Signing a document without understanding can be another major mistake you can make after an accident. Of course, people who have been in accidents are usually very distressed. Their everyday lives have been disrupted, therefore, they may wish that the entire ordeal was over and done already. Several injured people want to cooperate with the at-fault insurance company because they don’t want to make anything a big deal. They also believe that the insurance company has their best interest.
3) Not Seeing a Doctor
Sometimes, an injured person will delay seeing a doctor, believing that a few days of rest will take care of the problem. While this may be true, the insurance company will use this as an opportunity to undermine your case if the injury gets worse. The company will claim that the person was not seriously injured because they took so long to get treatment. In addition to this problem, you may not be able to use no fault benefits if you don't go to the doctor within 14 days. Delay in a personal injury claim can cost you money. Avoid the risk and go to the doctor.
Common Mistakes in Workers Compensation Cases
1) Failing to Notify Your Employer of the Accident
Whatever you do, remember this: if you do not notify your employer of the accident within 30 days, then the Workers’ Comp insurance company can deny the case entirely. The best way to ensure that official notice has been made is to have your employer submit a First Report of Injury or Illness report.
2) Seeking a Second Medical Opinion/Doctor
Sometimes an injured employee is dissatisfied with their medical care and asks for a different doctor or a second opinion. Asking for a second opinion can have very serious legal implications and actually worsen your medical and legal stance, especially if the new doctor has the same state of mind.
Another mistake occurs when the insurance company sends you to a get a second opinion that you did NOT ask for. They could be trying to obtain an opinion beneficial to themselves which has the unusual name of an "independent medical examination" (unusual because there is nothing "independent" about it). Normally they cannot obtain an independent medical evaluation unless there is some type of controversy about your care.
Anytime you are in a situation that involves a second opinion from another doctor, you should consult with a skilled lawyer.
3) Settling Your Case on a Lump Sum Basis
The biggest mistake can be made when an adjuster offers to settle your case on a lump sum basis. Usually, you will have no idea if the amount offered to you is fair and reasonable under the circumstances. If you accept a specific dollar amount for settlement, it can take over 60 days before you receive it.
This can cause a problem if you put off doctor’s appointments while you wait for the money to pay for those doctor’s appointments. Also, the insurance company might stop paying your wage loss on the basis that it is "included" in your settlement. Suddenly you are in a situation where you need medical treatment, have no money coming in, and a settlement process that is dragging on.
Can I Settle My Case Without an Attorney?
There are several cases that do not require hiring an attorney. As much as attorneys like to think we are indispensable, there are many situations that people frequently handle without ever contacting one. Such as:
- Property damage.
- Rental car issues.
- Payment of bills.
As a general rule, if you are not injured and there is a police report finding the other driver responsible for a motor vehicle accident, it is not always necessary to have an attorney. Similarly, in slip and fall cases where injuries can be minor, having an attorney may be unnecessary as well.
However, sometimes the assistance of an attorney is necessary to understanding the complex legal realm. For instance, you must have a solid understanding of the settlement process in order to make an informed decision about your injury case. An experienced injury attorney can help you know the in's, out's, pro's and con's of the injury system. There are the people who just want a settlement and they don't care how they get it; however, these people usually end up with a smaller settlement than those who take the time to learn how to achieve a larger one.