6 Common Personal Injury Mistakes to Avoid, According to a Personal Injury Lawyer
According to numerous studies, making decisions when you’re dealing with acute or chronic pain can spell a recipe for disaster. As you try to move forward with your life, there are a lot of issues that must be handled, from paying bills to recovering financial compensation. It can get complicated, especially if you’re trying to go it alone.
If you’ve been injured in an accident due to someone else’s reckless behavior or negligence, there are several issues that can reduce the amount of compensation you may receive. Avoid making these six common mistakes:
Mistake 1: Waiting to See a Doctor
One of the most critical factors in determining what your personal injury case is worth will be the information provided by your doctor. Whether you’ve sustained a slip and fall injury or been involved in a car accident, it’s imperative that you see a doctor right away.
If you avoid seeing a doctor or wait for a longer period than absolutely necessary, the insurance company may conclude that your injury was not serious. Waiting to see a doctor also raises several red flags and may compromise your case.
For example, the insurance company may argue that you didn’t see a doctor immediately because you do not have a legitimate injury. The fact that you visited a doctor weeks or months later could cause the insurance company to conclude that you are trying to game the system and collect money when it’s not owed.
To avoid encountering this complication, it’s best to see a doctor as soon as possible if you have any pain or injury from your accident. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Mistake 2: Ignoring Your Doctor’s Orders
After seeking treatment for your injuries, your doctor will likely prescribe a treatment plan that could include follow-up appointments, medication, physical therapy, or other measures. We cannot emphasize enough how important it is to follow your doctor’s orders to the letter.
In any personal injury claim, the victim has a duty to mitigate (lessen) damages. This means that you are supposed to take reasonable actions to heal as quickly as possible and not sustain additional injuries. If you fail to follow your doctor’s advice, it could compromise your claim.
Mistake 3: Thinking You Have to Go to Court if You File a Personal Injury Claim
As you strive to return to a sense of normalcy and put the pieces of your life back together, the last thing you probably want to do is to deal with going to court. You might think that if you file a personal injury or wrongful death claim that you have to also file a lawsuit and testify.
The good news is that the majority of personal injury claims are settled without having to step foot in a courtroom. An attorney with experience in practice areas like personal injury will work to negotiate with the insurance company to achieve a fair settlement.
Mistake 4: Negotiating with an Insurance Company without Representation
Going up against an insurance company alone is challenging, to say the least. Insurance companies have an entire team of lawyers, negotiators, and business analysts whose sole job is to pay as little as possible to accident victims.
Though there’s never a guarantee that you’ll bank a giant settlement by working with an attorney, the Insurance Research Council reports that injury victims that secure legal representation receive compensation that is 3.5 times higher, on average.
Mistake 5: Accepting a Low Offer from an Insurance Company
It probably comes as no surprise that an insurance company’s mission is to maximize profits. Logically, the best way for them to make the most money is to figure out ways to pay accident victims as little as possible.
As a result, the first offer from an insurance company is likely to be lower than what you are entitled to. The insurance company may bank on the fact that you need the cash to pay medical bills or that you want the matter resolved as quickly as possible. By working with an attorney, you can have a skilled negotiator on your side who will evaluate the offer and help come up with a number that more accurately reflects the amount needed to compensate you for your injuries.
Mistake 6: Failing to Consult with an Attorney Because It’s Too “Expensive”
It’s a common myth that attorneys are expensive, but many people are surprised to learn that most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. This term means that, instead of paying a fixed hourly fee, the lawyer receives a percentage of the settlement that is awarded by the insurance company after the case settles.
This means you will pay zero upfront, out-of-pocket costs, and you’ll have an attorney who is on your side fighting for maximum compensation.
Keep in mind that policies for contingency fees vary based on the law firm, so make sure you understand the percentages and whether there are additional expenses before you sign on with a personal injury lawyer in Pittsburgh or anywhere else. However, the biggest takeaway to understand is that you typically don’t have to pay anything upfront.
Consult with an Attorney to Discuss Your Injury
At Hal Waldman and Associates, we have a long and successful track record of representing clients and families who have been injured in all types of circumstances, including wrongful death, medical malpractice, car injuries, and more.
We take a hands-on approach to each case, ensuring our clients feel well-taken care of and informed at every step in the process. Contact our team today at 412-850-3172 for a free consultation.