When you get injured in an accident, the last thing you want to deal with is the personal injury claim process. In order to file a valid and successful claim, there are a series of steps that need to be taken. It’s important you understand the common mistakes individuals make when filing a personal injury claim so you have the ability and knowledge to make the right decisions.
When sorting out your personal injury claim, keep in mind these five mistakes to avoid.
Not contacting the police
If you’re in a car accident, the first thing you should do after checking yourself and others for injuries is contact the police. It puts a formal investigation into place and saves you a lot of trouble in the long run. If you decide to file a personal injury claim later, you will need the officer’s investigation results to prove who’s at fault and any other important details.
If an officer was not contacted and, therefore, did not issue a citation, you’ll have a difficult time making a case against the other driver. You can make it easier on yourself and let professionals handle the legal matters.
Not seeing a doctor following the accident
No matter how severe or seemingly minor your injuries are, make sure to seek a full medical evaluation as soon as you can after the accident occurs. Some injuries, particularly those sustained by car accidents, can have delayed symptoms which may not surface until days or even weeks later.
Seeing a doctor will not only allow you to identify all injuries you have sustained, but it will also be crucial in allowing you to prove that your injuries were a result of the accident and not some other cause.
Giving recorded statements without legal counsel
If you give a statement to an claims adjuster without the guidance of an attorney, serious problems could arise. You may make statements that imply you weren’t injured that bad or admit to being the cause of the accident. Either way, it’s crucial to first talk with an attorney and sort everything out before handing information over to a claims adjuster.
Claims adjusters are trained to ask questions that will lead you to answer in a way that may undermine the value of your case. Never speak to a claims adjuster without first talking with a trusted attorney.
Waiting too long to file a claim
Personal injury claims are subject to a statute of limitations, or a legal timeframe dictating how long injured parties have to file the claim.
Each state has a different statute of limitations that everyone must adhere to, so it’s best to talk with your personal injury attorney to have a better understanding of when it’s best to file. If this time limit expires, you could lose your ability to file altogether.
Failing to hire a personal injury lawyer
If you or someone you know is attempting to handle their own personal injury claim, it’s time to seek professional help. Individuals who think they’re capable of doing the process alone often find themselves being taken advantage of by their insurance company, and/or they end up recovering far less than they would have with the assistance of an attorney.
It’s important to feel secure during the personal injury claim process. You need a personal injury lawyer on your side who can handle negotiations on your behalf and ensure your rights are 100% protected.
Going through the legal process may not be fun, but it can be easier when you’re aware of the mistakes to avoid. When filing a personal injury claim, the team at Ladas and Hoopes would be happy to talk with you through more best practices and tips to follow. If you find yourself needing help with your personal injury claim, call us at 231-744-6218.
Kenneth Hoopes is an attorney with Ladas and Hoopes Law Offices. He has been practicing in Muskegon for over 20 years, specializing in personal injury, Social Security disability, and other areas of law. His commitment to justice has led to several positive outcomes for his clients throughout West Michigan. When he’s not in the office or in court, Ken enjoys spending time with his wife and their two daughters.