Acting as counselors, good personal injury lawyers regularly discuss with their client’s settlement offers received from the insurance company alongside the risks of taking their case to trial. It is one part of the normal course of things you deal with when going through the injury claim process.
One of the things we talk about are the things that can be described as mistakes injured people make after the injury incident. The things people do that negatively impact their claim can make for a long list. By avoiding them an injured person avoids having a lower than expected offer from the insurance company or smaller than expected award from the jury.
One of the leading reasons ecovery in a personal injury claim is less than a fair amount under the circumstances is the ordinary person who has been injured doesn’t have a full understanding of how the liability system works or how insurance companies act. The truth is your behavior can and will be used against you whether in the settlement or lawsuit process.
Mistakes That Cause Problems During the Injury Claim Process And Cost People Money
Below is a list of mistakes people have made o that I have seen in nearly 30 years of helping injured people. I advise you to avoid these problems. No question that some thing on the list are more significant than others but all of them can hurt. Certainly the list could include other mistakes but it also out lines the problems pretty well.
People cause themselves problems, and reduce the value of their claims when they:
1. Lie, exaggerate, make false statements or misrepresent anything at any time in the claim process.
2. Put off needed treatment when symptoms are evident;
3. Make the decision to not get police involved or don’t call 911;
4. Fail to file “walk-in” report when police do not investigate the collision;
5. Refuse treatment, tell the first responder they are “OK” or “fIne” or refuse emergency care and transport, particularly when they are nervous, confused or disoriented;
6. Fail to get needed medical attention;
7. Fail to record the scene with pictures and videos;
8. Fail to get witness’ names and contact data;
9. Don’t take pictures of visible physical injuries;
10. Change the scene before the police arrive (ie move the car);
13. Not reporting all your problems or minimizing them to the company, (i.e. saying things like “I’m fine” or I’m not hurt”);
14. Providing an inaccurate prior injury or collision history to their own attorney;
15. Fail to give the doctor an accurate medical, and complete accident and injury history;
16. Forgetting to get in for, or not attending recommended medical treatment and follow-up;
17. Miss any doctor’s appointments or other treatment appointments without reason, particularly without calling to cancel;
18. Not getting a doctor’s note to miss work (even if the note is not mandated by an employer);
19. Don’t get the driver’s name, insurance company and vehicle information from the person who caused the collision;
20. Forget to keep a record of time of missed work off work including the dates;
21 Don’t report symptoms and issues—all of them small or large- to the health care provider until after a long delay;
22. Don’t get follow-up care for their symptoms just because a doctor “discharged” them;
23. Fail to follow instructions or take medication per instructions;
24. Give inaccurate information to their doctor:
- Saying they feel 100% or completely recovered or 100% when there are still problems;
- About past medical history issues;
- About aggravation or exacerbation of a pre-existing condition;
25. Expect to recover lost earnings from “under the table” work or after filing tax returns with misrepresentations;
26. Ignore requests for information from the attorney’s office as the claims proceeds;
27. Fail to review the written answers prepared in conjunction with the attorneys office in the lawsuit in litigation (Interrogatories and Requests For Production or Admission) and ensure there are no errors (100% accuracy is needed);
28. Get in an argument with a lawyer working for the other side during in deposition, in arbitration, or at trial;
29. Have our deposition or trial testimony be the first time some prior injury or incident comes out;
30. Get additional medical treatment, or see a new health care provider without informing counsel;
31. Fail to manage co-pays and deductibles on medical bill and having a bill go into collections;
32. Not have a referral from a “traditional” western medicine doctor for a course of “non-traditional/complimentary/alternative” treatment (Chiropractic, Acupunture etc.);
33. Forget to explain to treating heath care providers the practical limitations caused by an injury.
Certainly there are other issues that cause problems. These are just some of the important ones I’ve seen.
If you are evaluating an insurance company’s settlement offer and it seems low, or a jury award is smaller than you thought, this list might help give you insight into the reason why. Any of these errors can cause the amount you recover on your claim to be reduced. Maybe only by a little, but sometimes by a large amount. I would always advise you to talk with an experienced injury attorney whether that’s me one of my partners or another quality lawyer. You need to be sure you get the fact the insurance company and its representatives are not your friends.
Text us, email us or call us if you have need answer to any question about a personal injury claim in Idaho. An initial consultation and case review with us is always free. And if we take your case, we will do the work on a contingency fee basis. If we don’t help you recover money, you do not have to pay us.