All too well, we know that mistakes can happen and can result in personal injury. However, did you know that mistakes can also hurt or prematurely end your personal injury claim? When an accident occurs and an injury is sustained a result, the clock begins ticking for you to recover compensation from the party responsible for your injuries—and time is of the essence for a number of reasons.
If you have been injured in an accident because of someone’s negligence, you may feel frustrated and overwhelmed with the prospect of dealing with doctors, insurance companies and attorneys. To help you during this vulnerable time, we have outlined five of the most critical mistakes you can make that will hurt your personal injury claim—and how best to prevent these issues from ruining your chances at recovering legal compensation.
Delaying Medical Treatment
In general, a personal injury claim begins at the moment that an injury is sustained as a result of an accident. The first thing you should do after an accident is to assess the status of yourself and anyone else involved in the accident. If you find yourself in need of medical attention (no matter how urgently), it is crucial to seek medical treatment and have your doctor document all injuries sustained as a result of the accident.
Once medical treatment has begun, it is also important to follow your doctor’s orders during the recovery process. Keep a detailed record of all medical expenses and any procedures performed in an effort to cure or alleviate the pain caused by your injuries, as you may be eligible for compensation for the costs incurred once a personal injury claim is filed.
Filing After the Statute of Limitations
Georgia’s statute of limitations only allows for two years from the date of the injury for a personal injury claim to be filed. When you or a loved one are recovering from catastrophic injuries, many months can be spent in hospitals and rehab, meaning that filing a claim may take a back seat during this time.
It is imperative to file a claim as soon as possible in order to ensure that you have the best chance at recovering compensation from the responsible party. To avoid missing your window to file, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer and have them help you start filing your claim before it is too late.
Giving an Inaccurate Medical History
Similar to documenting any injuries sustained as a direct result of the accident, it is also important to disclose any pre-existing conditions or disabilities that may have been aggravated. Failing to do so means that the defendant may attempt to use this information against you in court—potentially costing you the chance to recover compensation from the party responsible for your injuries.
Be honest when reporting your injuries after an accident, and be sure to include any other elements of your medical history that may be pertinent to your claim.
Accepting the Initial Offer
The other driver (or their insurance company) may attempt to offer you an immediate settlement to avoid drawing out your claim and potentially going to court. While this may seem like an easy enough option for those looking to avoid a potential court case, many insurance companies will attempt to lowball you the cost of your pain and suffering—and may not take all damages (such as property damage or wrongful death) into account.
Never accept the initial offer from an insurance company, and avoid giving a statement to the police without the presence of an experienced personal injury attorney. Doing so can forfeit your chances at receiving a favorable settlement, and may not account for any long-term damages sustained as a result of the accident.
Attempting to Represent Yourself
You should always retain an attorney before attempting to speak to the defendant’s insurance company, and always be prepared to stand your ground to defend your rights as an injured person. Suffering an injury due to the actions of another can be a life-altering experience. Between changes in work ability, costly medical expenses and the undue pain and suffering you may have to endure, seeking justice against the responsible party may seem like a daunting endeavor for those who cannot represent themselves.
With the help of an experienced personal injury attorney, however, you may find that recovering the compensation you deserve is easier than you think.
Greathouse Trial Law will stand with you—and for you—during this time to ensure that you are not unfairly held responsible for any injury you have sustained due to the negligent action of another party. If you or a loved one has been injured and wishes to know more about filing a claim, contact us today to schedule a free consultation.