Avoiding 10 Common Mistakes That Wreck Your Case
Many victims panic and make critical mistakes. Sometimes, these mistakes can be corrected and other times mistakes deprive victims of the compensation they deserve. This article is not a complete list of all possible mistakes to avoid. Such a list would be nearly impossible to compile. But, if you avoid the mistakes noted here, you will avoid major landmines in your case.
Mistake No. 1 - Failing To Preserve Evidence
We have often encountered victims who failed to preserve evidence from their incident. We suggest that in the event of an incedent you follow these steps to preserve important evidence:
- Call 911 to get appropriate assistance to the scene.
- Cooperate fully with law enforcement’s investigation.
- Get photographs of your vehicle.
- Call law enforcement to get a report, photographs, and a copy of the 911 recording as soon after the incident as possible.
- Document your injuries and treatment.
It is important that you take these steps to collect evidence. You cannot count on an insurance company to take these steps to protect you, and an attorney cannot help you properly without all of the necessary documentation.
Mistake No. 2 - Failing To Seek Appropriate Medical Treatment
You should seek any treatment you feel necessary to address your injuries or health conditions after the accident. Do not put off or avoid necessary treatment. If you do, your own conduct may be used against you in court. This will make it difficult to win your case.
Mistake No. 3 - Failing To Follow Doctor’s Orders
Most accident victims do not purposely disobey their doctor’s orders. However, we know there are certain demands in life that prevent some of us from following the doctor’s orders as faithfully as we should – work, kids’ sporting events, family functions, home repairs, car trouble, etc… But, if you are going to make an injury claim, it is critical that you follow these orders properly.
Mistake No. 4 - Trying To Hide Past Accidents And Injuries From Your Lawyer
Always be honest with your lawyer. It is nearly impossible to help a client unless he or she has all the facts. Insurance companies want to know and have the right to obtain any information about past accidents or injuries. Insurers often use this information to claim that you have a preexisting condition, have a psychological problem, or other issues that justify a low ball settlement offer.
If you have been in an accident or have been injured in the past, tell a lawyer up front. These issues can be dealt with in an effective and forthright manner, but only if your lawyer knows all the facts.
Mistake No. 5 - Signing Documents That Allow An Insurance Company To Get Unlimited Access To Your Records
Insurance companies often ask accident victims to sign a medical records authorization that is unlimited in both time and scope.
In other words, many victims allow an insurance company to get records from the injured person’s date of birth to the present time. Avoiding signing an unlimited authorization can prevent an insurance company from denying your claim for an illegitimate reason.
Mistake No. 6 – Misrepresenting Your Activity Level Or Limitations
Insurance companies may hire private investigators to conduct surveillance of those claiming to be injured. This is generally done to prove that the injured person is lying concerning their limitations or activity level. Is this legal? Yes.
We do not know of any law prohibiting such videotape surveillance, particularly if the private investigator is not intimidating or disruptive.
Our suggestion is to always be honest about your injuries, your level of activity, and every other fact associated with your claim.
Mistake No. 7 – Waiting Too Long or Not Knowing When To Hire An Attorney After A Car Accident
We are often contacted to help long after an accident has occurred. We are told by accident victims that they wished they had acted sooner before deadlines expired, witnesses moved away, and evidence disappeared. Wisconsin law requires that you file your case within a certain period of time after the injury. If you fail to file your claims within that time period, you may forever be barred from bringing your claims. This is known as the “statute of limitations.”
Waiting too long can be fatal to your case. You should contact a Wisconsin personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to avoid missing these and other important deadlines.
Mistake No. 8 – Giving A Statement To The Insurance Company
Claims adjusters for insurance companies often contact accident victims shortly after an incident for a recorded statement. This can be a very difficult time for a victim to give a statement because a victim may be in pain, on strong medication, contemplating surgery, or dealing with any number of issues that occur after a car wreck. Under those circumstances, it can be difficult to recall details and answer fully. If you give such a statement, it can be used against you later.
We suggest you consult with a Wisconsin personal injury lawyer before giving a statement to an insurance company after you have been involved in a car accident.
Mistake No. 9 – Posting Inappropriate Information On Social Media Sites
Sometimes, car accident victims post about the car accident – including photographs of the vehicle. Car accident victims may also post information about their social activities, family, and other personal information. In most cases, this information is discovered and used in some fashion against the victim in his or her case.
Mistake No. 10 – Failing to Communicate Properly With Your Employer
In serious cases, a victim may require time off of work. We suggest that you contact your employer immediately and make it aware of the situation. Follow the steps indicated by your employer to protect yourself. For example, depending upon the circumstances, it may be a good idea to share doctor’s orders and other details with your employer. Every situation is unique in this regard. The best way to know what to do in this situation is to consult with your Wisconsin personal injury lawyer before making any decisions.
The 10 Mistakes listed here are not all inclusive. However, if you avoid these mistakes, you will be well on your way to protecting yourself and your family from a bad result in your car accident case.