It's frightening to be injured in an accident where someone else may be legally responsible. In the chaos that ensues following an accident, you'll likely find yourself bombarded by phone calls, paperwork and a legal process that you're largely unfamiliar with. This may lead you to make mistakes that could put your personal injury claim in jeopardy.
If you've been injured in an accident, it's best to educate yourself about the process and be advised of your legal rights before taking action. Review these four common mistakes to get a better understanding of what you should avoid when filing your personal injury claim.
1. Waiting to Seek Medical Attention
When you're injured in an accident, it's crucial that you seek medical attention right away in order to get the maximum compensation that you deserve. Following an accident, you may feel that you are fine and that things are going to be okay. Instead of seeking medical attention, some clients end up waiting because they don't want to deal with the hassle of waiting to see a doctor.
It's important to know that the time between the accident and when you seek medical attention is a crucial data point for insurance companies. Waiting even a few days to a week before first visiting a doctor could be used against you, resulting in your personal injury damages being reduced by thousands of dollars.
2. Failing to Document Important Details
When you're injured in an accident there's often much more involved than simply visiting a doctor. You may experience emotional distress, lost wages and other suffering. That's why it's critical to begin documenting important details immediately following the accident.
You'll want to document your injuries with photographs and medical bills, keep track of hours that you've missed at work and request copies of medical bills and paperwork for medication your doctor prescribes for your injuries. Detailed documentation plays an essential role in supporting your claim of the physical and financial suffering you've endured due to your injury.
3. Providing Statements to Insurance Companies
Following an accident, you may receive phone calls from the insurance company or their claims adjustment agent requesting a written or recorded statement from you. This conversation may seem harmless, but you could be walking into a legal trap. Even though you intend to provide a truthful statement regarding the accident, you should know that the insurance adjuster is not on your side and does not have your best interest in mind.
Like any other business, insurance companies are concerned with protecting revenue, which means finding ways to limit your claim. Prior to filing a personal injury claim, you are not required to provide recorded or written statements to the insurance company. Before speaking with anyone from the insurance company, contact a personal injury lawyer for a consultation.
4. Waiting Too Long to File a Claim
In some circumstances, clients wait too long after they're injured to file a claim. Like all civil cases, personal injury claims have a statute of limitations - a time limit for filing a claim. In Tennessee, the statute of limitations for personal injury is one year-meaning you must file your claim within one year of the date the injury occurred. If you fail to do so, you forfeit your right to file a civil suit.
There are various reasons that injured individuals wait to file a claim, such as mistakenly believing you are not as injured as you actually are or not seeking the advice of a personal injury attorney in time. If you're injured, you don't have to wait to file a claim.
Filing a personal injury claim can be a difficult process when you're unfamiliar with legal proceedings. Fortunately, your attorney can help guide you away from making mistakes and help you reach a fair resolution. Contact the Law Offices of Jeffrey A. Garrety, P.C. to schedule a consultation with an experienced attorney.