The Law Offices of Heath D. Harte, LLC, wants nothing more than to help you win a full recovery of your personal injury damages. In order to do so, however, you must avoid making any of the most common mistakes when filing a claim. We have provided the top 10 biggest mistakes in injury claims below. Feel free to review them right now before you contact any New York or Connecticut personal injury attorney to help you file a valid and successful claim for compensation.
Common Mistakes In Personal Injury Cases
- Not calling the police: If you do not call the police, there is no formal investigation of the accident. This applies especially to car accident claims. If the negligent party or driver denies liability later on, you may have a difficult time proving your case. By calling the police, an officer will interview all involved parties and witnesses, record their contact information, and write a ticket to the party at fault in car accident cases.
- Not getting witness contact information: Injury victims often fail to obtain the contact information of witnesses at the scene of the accident. If the witnesses choose to stay and speak to police, this is not a problem; however, witnesses often only stop long enough to make sure everyone is okay and then leave before the police arrive. The scene of the accident may be your only opportunity to get the contact information for any witnesses. Without this information, an insurance adjuster may deny liability and refuse to pay anything to you as an unrepresented injury claimant.
- Not fixing the property damage: Accepting and cashing a property damage check without first fixing the damages is another common mistake. The amount offered may end up being less than the amount it takes to fix the damage. Additionally, adjusters often send a check for less than the actual cost of the repairs and hope that you will decide not to repair the property. They can then argue that you were not really hurt and pay you little or nothing for your personal injury claim.
- Giving recorded statements without hiring an attorney: Allowing an adjuster to take a recorded statement without the protection and guidance of legal representation can result in serious problems. An adjuster can easily misconstrue your answers in a way that makes it appear as though you were not really hurt in the accident, or that you were partly or wholly liable for its cause. An adjustor’s job is to save the insurance company money and he or she will do anything he or she can to do so.
- Signing releases: Injured accident victims often sign releases for property damage, only to find out that it was actually a general release that settles any and all claims. After signing such a release, a personal injury claim is no longer possible. Do not sign anything without consulting an excellent injury lawyer.
- Trying to negotiate your claim without a lawyer: It may not be a requirement to be represented in a personal injury claim, but that does not make it any less necessary. Insurance adjusters often set the reserves (the value of the case) much lower when a victim is not represented. Verbal settlements are enforceable in Connecticut and New York, and self-represented injury claimants often “settle” their claims verbally on accident, without really intending to settle it. Hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer can prevent this.
- Not using Med Pay: Med Pay is health insurance coverage for anyone in your car who is hurt in a car accident, or for you if you were hurt while a passenger is someone else’s car. This insurance pays for your medical treatment with any doctor without co-pays or deductible. The amount of your coverage depends on how much you purchased in your policy.
- Not using health insurance: This is a mistake since many hospitals and doctors require payment soon after medical treatment is provided. If you do not pay it, the bill is often turned over to collections. Using health insurance, you will pay for your treatment as you go. This can greatly increase the total amount you will net out of your personal injury settlement. Good personal injury attorneys can often negotiate away or negotiate huge reductions in any health insurance subrogation claims.
- Not using uninsured motorist coverage: Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage and Underinsured Motorist (UIM) coverage protect individuals who are hit by motorists with little to no insurance of their own. Any remaining balance after the liable party’s insurance runs out will then be covered by your own insurance. Normally, your rates do not rise when you use UM or UIM coverage. You must have this coverage under your insurance policy, however, in order to obtain coverage for your damages.
- Not getting medical treatment: Just because you do not have health insurance does not mean that you shouldn’t get medical treatment. If you do not get treated, an insurance adjuster may argue that you were not really injured and deny you coverage. Good personal injury attorneys can get you to doctors who treat on a lien. They can also get you pain management and surgeries using medical funding companies. It is also important to avoid long gaps in treatment, once more to prevent adjusters from claiming that your injuries are nonexistent or less severe than they truly are.
Consult With A New York And Connecticut Injury Attorney Near You
The Law Offices of Heath D. Harte has decades of experience and will skillfully assist you in avoiding these common mistakes. We treat each client as part of the family and will support and guide you through each step of your injury claim. Call now to schedule your free consultation and speak with a lawyer. You only have two years to file a personal injury claim under the statute of limitations, so contact our firm right away!