If you’re involved in an accident, it can significantly impact your way of life. Even a minor injury can knock your confidence for months after the physical injury has healed. Plus, it can leave you unable to work and struggling to afford mounting medical bills.
If the accident wasn’t your fault, you might be able to file a personal injury claim for compensation. But personal injury cases are rarely straightforward. Insurance companies are usually unwilling to give a fair settlement easily. Most of the time, they will offer you a smaller payment to close the case quickly.
While the average settlement for a personal injury claim is $52,900, it’s challenging to ensure that you receive fair compensation. Along the way, some easy mistakes can leave you with a less than fair settlement. To help you get the most from your injury claim, we’ve put together the top four common personal injury mistakes so you can avoid them.
Personal Injury Mistake #1 — Not Seeking Medical Treatment
Often people involved in seemingly minor accidents will not seek medical attention. After an accident, the first step you take should be to see a medical professional for your health. Not all injuries are immediately apparent, and some do not present physical symptoms, so getting checked over is crucial.
But it’s also vital to get medical attention immediately if you plan on claiming compensation. Waiting to see a doctor after an accident until your injuries or symptoms get worse can damage your compensation claim. If you wait, the other party (and insurance companies) can claim that your injuries were not a result of the accident. If their arguments are successful, you may receive less compensation or none at all.
Personal Injury Mistake #2 — Failing to Collect Evidence
Following an accident and medical treatment, one of the biggest mistakes is to assume that the police or insurance companies will collect evidence of your injury. Once you are well enough, you should gather evidence to support your claim.
It may not always be possible, but take photos and videos of the accident’s aftermath if you can. If it’s a road traffic accident, you should take pictures of any vehicles involved and hazards. Having this evidence can help your claim and ensure a fair settlement.
In cases where collecting evidence is not an option, there are other ways to support your claim. One of the best ways is to ensure that any injuries are documented by medical records and a doctor’s statement. It’s also worth writing an account of the accident and how you feel. You should do this soon after the accident so that your recounting of the event is reliable.
Personal Injury Mistake #3 — Speaking to Insurance Companies
At some point after your accident, the other party’s insurance company will reach out to you asking questions. Often, insurance companies will try to get you on-side by claiming that they’re trying to help you, but usually, they will be looking to find out the smallest amount of compensation you’re willing to accept.
One of the easiest mistakes to make is to speak openly with an insurance company. Generally, it’s best to avoid speaking to them whatsoever. But, if you talk to them, be very careful about what you reveal. The company will be looking for any inaccuracies or holes in your story that they can use to lower a settlement or to argue against compensation entirely.
Personal Injury Mistake #4 — Avoiding Legal Help
Many people that are in an accident will choose to pursue a personal injury claim independently. This is usually because they want to avoid paying attorney fees and ensure they receive more of the settlement.
But this can be counterintuitive. Most personal injury firms will work on a no-win-no-fee contingency, which means you’ll only pay for your legal help if you win your case. Alongside that, you’re likely to get a higher settlement with professional lawyers. Personal injury lawyers have years of experience handling cases just like yours and will know precisely how to deal with insurance companies. Plus, your settlement is likely to be higher with an attorney, so you’ll receive more compensation even after legal fees.
Alongside ensuring a fair settlement, personal injury lawyers can make your recovery far more comfortable too. Dealing with insurance companies can be daunting and stressful on your own. But with an attorney by your side, they’ll take care of everything. They can even negotiate for your medical bills to be delayed, collect evidence on your behalf, and get expert testimony to support your case.