In 2020, about 1 in 6 Americans suffered from a nonfatal injury that could have been prevented. That’s over 55 million people. In California, you can file a personal injury claim as long as your injury came about due to someone else’s negligence. However, there are some personal injury claim mistakes you need to know about and avoid to file a successful lawsuit. Keep reading to learn more.
1. Not Getting Treatment for Your Injury
Medical attention is necessary after any type of personal injury accident, even if you do not believe you are badly injured. Don’t wait until your symptoms get worse. See a doctor immediately.
Make sure to keep all information regarding your medical history, symptoms, treatments, and bills. Your doctor will record all of this information, and your attorney can use these records as personal injury claim documents to strengthen your case.
Why is getting medical treatment so critical in the personal injury claim filing process? Because it proves that your injury caused pain and suffering. However, if you never sought treatment, it may appear that you were not injured and that the personal injury claim is not legitimate.
Also, doctors typically testify during personal injury trials. If you wait to receive medical care, the doctor may have a hard time making a direct connection between the accident and your injury.
2. Skipping Medical Follow-Ups
It is not enough alone to seek treatment directly following your accident. You also need to attend any follow-up appointments or treatments with your doctor.
The reason for this is that insurance companies or a jury (if the case goes to trial) may believe your injury was not as bad as you are claiming it to be.
Missing appointments can also make your doctor doubt the seriousness of your injury. Again, if he or she has to testify on your behalf, the doctor may bring up your unexplained absences or, worse, outright refuse to testify.
You should attend all follow-up appointments, even if you start to feel better. This will improve your chances of recovering the damages that you are owed.
3. Missing the Claim Filing Deadline
In California, statutes of limitations enforce deadlines by which you must file a lawsuit. Personal injury cases have a statute of limitations of two years. You must file a lawsuit within two years from the date of the accident that caused your injury.
In rare cases, judges will extend the statute of limitations. But this only happens if you do not discover the accident-related injury until a later date. Then, you must file within one year of the date you discovered your injury.
4. Speaking to an Insurance Company
You should report the accident to your car insurance company. However, avoid making any statements about fault when speaking with your insurer. Stay brief and only state the facts about what happened. If your insurance company wants more information, tell them to contact your lawyer.
In addition, you may also get a call from the other driver’s insurance company. Never speak to the other driver’s insurance company after an accident. They can (and will) use anything you say against you in court.
5. Accepting a Low Settlement Offer
Filing personal injury lawsuits can help you recover damages for your pain and suffering. But that is not the only type of compensation you can receive from a personal injury suit.
You can also receive reimbursement for lost wages, property damage to your vehicle, loss of earning capacity if you can no longer work, and more.
Yet, when your injuries are significant, the other driver’s insurance company may try to present a lowball settlement. Settling means you can never file a future claim if the settlement ends up not covering all of your damages.
This is why it is critical to know exactly what your injury is worth. That way, you will get the compensation that you deserve.
6. Not Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney
Why do most people accept low settlement offers from insurance companies? This has to do with not knowing any better because they were not under the proper guidance of an experienced attorney.
A personal injury attorney can give you expert advice on when to settle and when not to. Additionally, personal injury lawyers know how to fight for the different types of compensation available to car crash victims.
With an attorney’s help, you can get compensated for your current injury and any future damages that may arise from the car accident.
7. Thinking You Can’t Afford Representation
One of the top reasons many Californians don’t call an attorney after a car accident is that they believe they can not afford representation. That may be true in some legal fields, but personal injury lawyers are different.
Regardless of the types of personal injuries a person receives, his or her lawyer should never ask for upfront payment. Instead, some personal injury attorneys work off of contingency fees.
A contingency fee means that the lawyer’s compensation is contingent on the outcome of your case. If your attorney does not win your personal injury lawsuit, you don’t pay anything. If you do win, your lawyer will accept payment in the form of a percentage of your settlement.
Don’t Make These Personal Injury Claim Mistakes
A seasoned attorney can help you navigate the ins and outs of the complex personal injury lawsuit process.
Are you searching for an attorney to help with your personal injury case? Belmont Accident Lawyers work with clients in the Long Beach and Los Angeles County area. Call us today to schedule a free consultation.