After you’ve been injured in a car accident, slip and fall, or other type of personal injury, filing a personal injury claim requires certain steps. Making a misstep in the form of these common mistakes can cost you your compensation.
As the plaintiff, you have the burden of proving that the other party was negligent and caused your injuries, resulting in the damages you’ve experienced. Unfortunately, many accident victims have lost out on obtaining financial recovery due to making some major mistakes.
Not Seeking Prompt Medical Attention
If you are truly injured, it stands to reason that you’ll get medical care. This is common in car accidents where victims shrug off medical treatment because they feel fine. Days or weeks later, it becomes apparent that they have a traumatic brain injury or internal bleeding.
It’s important to get the medical care you need, even if you think you’re OK. If the doctors discover something is wrong, they’ll be able to treat it, and you’ll also have the documentation you need to prove your claim.
Taking Too Long to File Your Claim
In Missouri, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim is five years, which may seem like a lot of time. However, waiting too long may mean that you can’t find the evidence to prove your claim. In five years, witnesses may have moved away or forgotten the details of what they saw. Surveillance footage will be long gone, and you won’t have any way to prove the other party was at fault.
Accepting the First Settlement Offer
Even though many personal injury cases are settled without needing to go to the courtroom, the first settlement you’re offered may not be adequate. Personal injury victims often make a huge mistake when they are offered payment soon after the accident.
Most people don’t have the legal background to understand that their compensation should include more than medical bills and property damage. You may have missed weeks of work due to your injuries. You may not be able to work again, limiting your earning potential. Plus, your injuries may be so extensive that you will require a lifetime of medical care. Accepting the first offer without having a lawyer calculate all your damages is a massive mistake.
Providing a Recorded Statement
In a car accident, you will need to speak to your insurance company to comply with your policy. Some people don’t realize they have no obligation to speak with the other party’s insurer. Often, they give a recorded statement that they can use against them to negate their claim.
Telling All on Social Media
Social media may be a great way to keep in touch with friends and family, but it can be a serious detriment to your case. The worst thing you can do is post about your personal injury while your case is open. The defendant’s attorney will be looking for any evidence to turn the tables on you.
Posting a smiling photo with your friends could lead them to conclude that you’re not as injured as you say you are. If you feel the need to share what happened to you, speak with your attorney, where everything you say will be kept confidential.
Thinking You Can Do It Yourself
Just because you can seek financial compensation for your losses without an attorney doesn’t mean it’s a smart move. When people represent themselves, they’re not saving money. In fact, they may be losing out on fair compensation when they do.
Don’t hesitate to contact a St. Louis, Missouri personal injury lawyer to discuss the particulars of your case.