The law is an extremely complicated system. It is very easy to unknowingly make mistakes when you are representing yourself and sadly, one fatal mistake could possibly ruin your personal injury claim.
Some common, detrimental mistakes people make with their personal injury claims:
1) Waiting Too Long to Go to the Doctor
Waiting too long to go to the doctor can be irreversibly damaging to your case. Insurance companies will use your delay against you, claiming that your injury "must not have been that painful" if you waited so long to seek medical care, or claim that something else happened during the two weeks delay that caused your injuries.
Furthermore, if you do not receive medical care within 14 days after an accident, then you may not be able to use your personal injury protection benefits from your insurance.
2) Not Calling the Police
After an accident on the road, you should call 911 and request a police officer. The accident report that a police officer writes is a crucial starting point for personal injury claims since it usually includes information about...
- The drivers involved.
- The driver's insurance information.
- The types of vehicles involved.
- Who the witnesses were.
- The name of the police officer who reported to the scene.
- All other pertinent information from the scene of the accident.
- A police officer may also issue a traffic citation to the at-fault driver.
3) Giving a Recorded Statement to the Other Driver's Insurance Company
Insurance companies may take advantage of the chaos that ensues after an accident and attempt to have a confused, injured person give a recorded statement. The problem with giving recorded statements to the other driver's insurance company is that you may mistakenly say something that the insurance company could use against you.
Understand that you are not obligated to give a statement. If the other driver's insurance company and calling you and asking for a statement, you should contact a lawyer immediately.
4) Signing Forms, Such as a Release or Authorization
The other driver's insurance company may contact you and request your signature on a release or authorization. You should never sign anything without consulting your lawyer.