Avoid these Mistakes to Protect Your Injury Claim:
1. Don’t misstate information: Now, this point may seem obvious, but it is easy to overlook when you are under immediate pressure to give information about your injury claim. You may not have realized it at the time, but everything you have said about your injury claim will be scrutinized by those responsible for your injuries.
The information you provided to the police officer or the comments you made to your medical doctors, all these and more will be critically reviewed by insurance adjusters and defense lawyers. They will be looking for ways to discredit you. So, don’t misrepresent any fact regarding your injury claim — it will be used against you.
Likewise, don’t guess about important information you are not sure of. When you guess about things you are unsure of, and are later proved wrong, you may be perceived as someone who is trying to hide the truth from others. So, don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know,” when you don’t have all the facts.
2. Don’t exaggerate Your Injuries: Exaggeration may be commonplace in our society, but in a court of law it will be lethal to your case. It is considered dishonesty in court, and a jury will not hesitate to form a wrong opinion of you and your claim. So, don’t exaggerate about your injuries.
3. Don’t delay treatment: Many injury victims try to self-treat their injuries, only to later find out that their injuries were more serious than they thought. When you delay medical treatment, understand that the insurance adjuster and defense lawyer will argue that your injuries were not serious and that your current symptoms are not related to the collision. You can prevent this unfair result by seeking immediate medical attention and by following the advice of your medical doctors.
4. Don’t give a recorded statement: Recorded statements are “tools” of the insurance company — they are used to discredit you and will be used to deny your injury claim. The adjuster may sound nice on the phone, but their purpose is to gain personal information about you and try to trap you in a misstatement about the case. They want to get to you before you hire a lawyer. The adjuster knows that good lawyers don’t allow their clients to give recorded statements.
5. Don’t represent yourself or sign a medical release: The insurance adjuster wants to know all about you, especially your personal medical history. Giving the insurance adjuster free access to all your medical history will likely result in your medical conditions being shared with other insurance companies, and your claim minimized or even denied. So, talk with your lawyer before you consider signing a medical release.
These are the top 5 mistakes injury victims tend to make. One final word of caution about your injury claim: few of us would attempt to do things that are normally handled by “professionals” such as doctors, engineers, and the like.
Filing a personal injury claim involves complex legal issues — and any mistakes you make handling your own claim may result in the loss of your legal rights. The insurance company has a team of defense lawyers on their side, so perhaps you should speak with a lawyer before going any further with your claim.
If you would like more information, I have written three books for injury victims which I am pleased to provide as a resource at no cost to you. ~ Jeff
About the Author: Jeff Robinette is a West Virginia Personal Injury attorney based in Morgantown. Mr. Robinette has obtained National Board Certified Trial Attorney status, National Top 100, and is Super Lawyer rated.
Before launching the Robinette Legal Group, PLLC, Mr. Robinette was a partner in a major WV insurance defense law firm, an adjunct professor at WVU College of Law, and is a leading author on the rights of the injured in West Virginia.
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