Published in Personal Injury by Chris Eskew on July 27, 2017.
If you were seriously injured in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence or a dangerous product, you may be entitled to significant financial recovery.
But, to protect your right to financial compensation, there are some important and all-too-common mistakes you need to avoid.
The insurance companies do not make it easy for injury victims to recover just compensation; and, if you make mistakes during your case, you will be making it easier for the insurance companies to deny your claim.
To protect your legal rights and preserve your chances of securing a maximum financial recovery, here is a list of 10 mistakes to avoid after suffering physical injuries in an accident in Indiana.
Common Mistakes to Avoid After an Accident in Indiana
1. Failing to Seek Prompt Medical Advice
After any type of serious traumatic accident, it is important to seek a medical diagnosis and appropriate treatment as soon as possible.
If you fail to seek prompt medical advice, not only could you jeopardize your health, but you could also jeopardize your claim for financial recovery.
Delaying treatment could give the insurance company an excuse to try to avoid liability; and, if you fail to seek medical attention altogether, you may not have the evidence you need to pursue a claim for compensation.
2. Failing to Collect Information at the Scene of the Accident
Unless you are physically unable to do so as a result of your injuries, you should try to collect evidence before leaving the scene of the accident.
- Photographs that you take with your phone;
- Name, contact, and insurance information of anyone else involved in the accident;
- Names and contact information of any witnesses; and
- Any personal items (such as your clothing or jewelry) damaged in the accident.
In addition, as soon as possible, you should write down everything you remember about what happened.
What direction were you traveling? How was the weather? What events led up to and followed the accident? What other details stand out that may be worth remembering?
3. Failing to Seek Legal Representation
If you suffered injuries in a traumatic accident, it is important that you seek legal representation.
If you fail to seek legal representation, you will not know what your case is worth, and you will not be able to make an informed decision about settling with the insurance companies.
You also will not have a full understanding of your legal rights, and you will not be prepared to go to trial if the insurance companies refuse to settle for just compensation.
4. Failing to Follow Your Doctor’s Advice
Once you see a doctor, it is important that you follow your doctor’s advice – or seek a second opinion if you are concerned about your treatment plan or diagnosis.
If you fail to follow your doctor’s advice (by returning to work when you should be resting, for example), this could be detrimental to your health and possibility your personal injury claim as well.
If the insurance companies see that you are aggravating your injuries or prolonging your own recovery, they may argue that you deserve less than full compensation.
5. Attempting to Negotiate with the Insurance Companies
When you file an accident claim with an insurance company, the insurance company’s priority is to settle your claim for as little as possible.
If you try to negotiate on your own – without understanding the law, without the benefit of evidence collected from a thorough investigation, and without knowing what constitutes a fair settlement in your case – you simply will not be able to effectively assert your rights.
Negotiating effectively with the insurance companies requires thorough knowledge of the law and significant experience in personal injury litigation, and it is a task that should be left to your attorney.
6. Not Understanding the True Impact of Your Injuries
- need ongoing medical treatment and therapy for years to come;
- you may be unable to work or need to pursue a different occupation;
- you may suffer from chronic pain; and
- you may incur a variety of other financial and non-financial losses.
These are all eligible for compensation under Indiana law. In order to understand what your case is worth, you first need to understand the full extent of your injury-related losses.
7. Assuming You Were at Fault
Far too often, accident victims fail to take legal action because they assume that they must have been to blame for their own injuries. Before you make any assumptions about your rights, it is critical that you speak with an experienced attorney.
Not only does establishing fault require a thorough assessment of the facts in light of the relevant law; but, in Indiana, even if you were partially at fault you may still be entitled to a partial financial recovery.
8. Discussing Your Case on Social Media
When pursuing financial compensation after an accident, it is important not to discuss the case with anyone but your attorney.
This means avoiding the topic with your neighbors and co-workers, and not posting anything about the accident on social media.
9. Settling Too Soon.
Whether or not you hire an attorney (and, once again, it is strongly recommended that you do), you need to avoid settling your case too soon.
The insurance companies will use a variety of tactics to try to get you to settle for less than you deserve, but you need to make informed decisions with a long-term perspective in order to secure the best result for yourself and your family.
10. Not Pursuing All Available Sources of Financial Compensation
Finally, when seeking compensation for accident-related injuries, often there will be more than one source of compensation available.
For example, in a car accident, while a negligent driver may be the most obvious cause of the accident, his or her insurance might not cover the full extent of your financial and non-financial harm.
Was a defective vehicle component partially to blame as well? Was the other driver working at the time of the accident? In many cases, accident victims will have more than one source of compensation available.
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If you were injured in an accident in the Indianapolis area, we encourage you to contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation.