Chicago Injury Attorney Helping Victims Protect their Case
Before your case even begins, your actions play a heavy role in how successful your personal injury claim can be. It is important, then, to know the common mistakes made by plaintiffs long before their cases start, and what you can do now to avoid them.
No matter how serious your injuries are, or even if you have already consulted with a personal injury attorney, the more prepared you are for your case – and the conduct expected of you – the better the outcome will be.
Common Mistakes that Can Ruin Your Personal Injury Lawsuit
After your accident, it is natural to want compensation. After all, you didn’t cause the accident; therefore, why should you carry the burden of medical costs, lost wages, and other expenses?
However, there are ways in which you can inadvertently sabotage your lawsuit and lose funds you have a right to collect. While some of these mistakes are obvious, at other times you could commit one of these mistakes without realizing it. Therefore, understand the common mistakes that ruin a lawsuit and be sure to avoid them at all costs.
1. Lying at Any Time During Your Lawsuit
Dishonesty is the worst thing you can do during a lawsuit. There are facts you must relay as honestly as possible, because your character is called into question during every point of the suit. If at any time you lie or exaggerate, the defense might use that against you to damage your credibility.
Always tell the facts upfront. If you are not sure, never guess. Simply tell the attorney that you do not know. If you lie, your lie may eventually become exposed, and it could force your case to fall apart. Furthermore, your attorney may decide to leave the case if you lie about your injuries or any facts. Your attorneys are your advocate, but they can only fight for your rights to compensation when they know the truth. Do not lie to anyone during your case – this includes exaggerating symptoms to your physician or to the insurance company.
2. Talking to Outside Parties About Your Case
You should not speak to anyone about your case, especially insurance claims adjusters. Instead, you must only converse with your attorney.
Do not discuss the case with anyone; instead, refer them to your attorney for a conversation. You must not speak to any third party, including defense attorneys, jurors, investigators, and adjusters. If a person is not authorized to ask you questions by your attorney, you should not answer those questions until your attorney is present.
Furthermore, avoid talking about your case with friends and family members. You might give away important details, or even your case strategy. A well-meaning loved one might let details slip at the wrong moment, which could carry significant consequences for your case’s outcome.
3. Be Prepared for Surveillance
In high-value personal injury claims, it is common for the defense to place surveillance on victims. Their goal is to catch you lying about the extent of your injuries. That means they will follow you at home or to the doctor, and watch every move you make.
They want to catch you doing things that you stated you no longer could do. They also want to try to prove that you are lying – and that your compensation requests are invalid.
4. Using Social Media
Social media is something you should avoid at all costs during your personal injury case. Always be cautious if you do use social media, because anything you say is public record. Insurance companies will find pictures and status updates that they can try to use to show that you aren’t injured as you claim. A picture with a smile might be used against you, even if you were smiling through the pain.
Furthermore, posting details about the case is never good. Not only are you sharing details with the open world about a private matter, but if insurance companies can view your profile, they can use that information against you as well. Set your social media accounts to private during your case, and ask family and friends not to tag you or mention you in their posts.
5. Signing Documents Without Consulting With an Attorney
Before you have your initial consultation, insurance claims adjusters might take advantage of the opportunity and offer you a settlement. Conversely, they might ask if you would give a statement.
No matter what reasons they give you, never sign anything without speaking to an attorney. If you have retained an attorney, tell the party to request signatures from your lawyer. Any documents related to your injury, including those that seem innocent, can contain release clauses or even waivers within the small print.
6. Waiting Too Long to See an Attorney
Sadly, this is a very common issue. Sometimes, people are injured seriously but think that they will recover soon enough, so they feel that there is no reason to file a lawsuit. By the time they realize that they must file a lawsuit, the evidence has dwindled to nothing or the insurer will try to claim that the injuries were not serious. The statute of limitations might also expire, especially if you wait a year or more to file a claim.
It is best to consult with a personal injury attorney to ensure that you have enough time to file. In fact, consulting with an attorney immediately after an accident is best. An attorney, like those at Malman Law, meet with you free of charge and with no obligation. Therefore, there is no risk to explore your rights.
7. Ignoring Medical Advice After an Accident
After your accident, you will seek medical care. However, it is imperative that you follow all instructions given to you by your doctor. This includes attending follow-up appointments.
If you disagree with a physician’s suggested a course of treatment, you can seek a second opinion. However, never ignore suggestions or fail to attend your follow-up appointments. When you do not follow medical advice, the defense might use it against you to show that you are not as injured as you claim. Also, the longer you wait to seek medical treatment, the easier it is for the defense to knock down your claims that you have a serious injury.
8. Hiding a Previous Injury or Accident
If you have a previous injury that is aggravated by your current accident, do not hide that information. Your attorney must know this if he or she is going to represent your case to the best of his or her ability. You must immediately tell your attorney about previous injuries.
You can still collect compensation even if you have a previous injury. However, if you hide that previous injury, the defense will call your character into question and try to claim that you are only seeking compensation for an injury that occurred long before the accident.
9. Discarding Evidence
The evidence is critical in a personal injury case. You must save any evidence you can, and do not discard anything until you speak with an attorney about your case. Some items that you might not think of can be considered evidence, including prescription bottles, casts, and so forth. If you have surgeries or clear injuries, take photographs of them.
If you are ever unsure what might be evidence, ask your attorney. Save it until you have a consultation, and until you have confirmation to discard it.
10. Insurance Examinations
The insurance company has the right to request an independent medical examination (IME). For high-value settlements, they will request this; you are required to attend. You can, however, have your physician and attorney present for the examination. Your attorney can help you prepare for the examination so that you know what to expect.
11. Using Social Security Disability Benefits
Before filing a personal injury lawsuit, you might explore other options for making up for your lost wages. One way is to apply for Social Security Disability. However, it is best that you speak with an attorney before doing so, as these benefits can affect your claim. So, your attorney should make sure that receiving these benefits will not have an adverse reaction on your compensation.
12. Do Not Renew Licenses
During your free time away from work, you might catch up on paperwork. For example, you might renew your hunting or fishing license, even if you have no intention of using it right away.
Any renewals of hobby or professional licenses could be misconstrued as your falsifying the severity of your injuries. The defense might use your new hunting license to prove that you intended to go hunting, even though you were just renewing it so you didn’t have to reapply.
Bottom Line: Consult With a Personal Injury Attorney
There are numerous ways in which you can harm your case. The only way to protect yourself from doing so is to speak with a personal injury attorney and get the facts.
The attorneys at Malman Law are here to help. We are your advocates, and we work hard to ensure that you do not accidentally damage your case.
Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with our attorneys today or contact us online.