After a car accident, it is natural to be confused, scared, and even angry. While you are feeling a whole host of emotions, you need to do your best to avoid these common mistakes that can dramatically reduce your settlement – or make it impossible to seek compensation at all.
What Mistakes Are the Most Common in Louisville Accident Cases?
Despite the stress you are under at the time of your incident, you have important steps to take so that you can protect your right to compensation. Whether you are starting the process initially or you are amidst settlement negotiations, be sure to avoid these end-game mistakes that could cost you big in the end.
Underestimating Your Injuries
Misjudging your injuries makes it difficult to collect compensation later. You might try to make it seem like you are not hurt out of pride, or continue trying to work even though your physician has told you repeatedly that you cannot work.
Never underestimate your injuries or try to power through the pain and suffering. While you might have your pride, these actions give insurance companies enough grounds to challenge your injury claims. Furthermore, your working despite your doctor’s recommendations gives insurance companies a valid argument that your lengthy recovery was your own doing – because you failed to follow medical advice.
Neglecting Medical Care or Failing to Follow Treatments
Failing to seek medical care after an accident is not recommended. The longer you wait to receive a diagnosis or treatment, the harder it is to prove your case. Even if you seek immediate medical care, it is your job to follow physician’s orders, continue treatments, and attend follow-up appointments.
If you neglect your medical care, a judge is unlikely to award you future medical costs or even cover some of the past medical expenses. After all, your current pain and suffering could be the result of your delaying treatment – and not the accident itself.
Being Untruthful About Your Injuries
Being dishonest or even exaggerating your injuries is detrimental to your injury case. You should never lie to insurance claims adjusters, your attorney, or the insurance company’s attorney. Providing false information, omitting facts, or exaggerating those facts could result in your case being dismissed by the court.
This is true because – whether you realize it or not – a significant factor in your settlement value is your likability, credibility, and trustworthiness. A plain and simple truth is – if the jury or judge does not trust you, they are less likely to award you the settlement you deserve (or any settlement at all).
Talking about Your Case During Settlement Negotiations
Do not discuss the details of your case with anyone except your attorney. Insurance claims adjusters and attorneys might try to contact you and discuss the case, but anything you say to them – no matter how innocent you think it is – could be used to lower your settlement.
Even if insurance claims adjusters act like they are on your side, they are working for a business. As with any company, their primary objective is to limit their losses and protect profits. Therefore, they are doing their best to minimize how much they pay you for your injuries. Think of it this way. The less they pay you, the happier their boss is with the job they are doing.
Settling Too Early
Before your settlement talks have had time to advance, and maybe even before you have a chance to consult with an attorney, you might hear from an insurance claims adjuster. The claims adjuster will ask you a few questions and might offer a settlement. At the time, the settlement might seem more than fair – and you are typically caught off guard by the high dollar amount being dangled in front of you.
While you might think the settlement being offered is high, never accept a settlement too early or without speaking to an attorney. In most cases, the adjuster knows you have not calculated future costs or even the value of your pain and suffering – which can offer considerably more in compensation.
Not Using an Attorney
You are the DIY type, which means you never hire a plumber when your sink is clogged, you cut your own grass, and you repair your own vehicle. With the availability of information online, you think that you could easily DIY your way through negotiations with an insurance company and an injury lawsuit.
But do not kid yourself.
Becoming a lawyer requires years of training for a reason. An attorney understands the law, knows what tactics are used by insurance companies to lower your compensation, knows the rules of evidence, court procedures, and knows how to value your injuries. Moreso, they know how to “persuade” an insurance adjuster or attorney that they won’t win in court, so it is in their best interest to settle now. They can do all of this while you recover from your injury.
And amazingly – there is no cost to you to hire an attorney to do all of this for you. Instead, most injury attorneys work on a contingency basis. This means that you don’t pay a dime unless, and until your attorney receives compensation for you.
Not Keeping a Record of Your Financial Losses
One of the most critical steps to take is to document everything. That includes keeping receipts for out-of-pocket costs, keeping medical records, and having a file of any insurance claims paid for your injury.
The more documentation you have for your financial losses, the easier it will be to negotiate compensation for those damages. You cannot estimate your financial losses in an injury case. Instead, economic losses come directly from the financial losses you can prove.
Overvaluing Your Injury Case
An objective person must evaluate your injury case. You are in pain, you cannot work, and you have suffered. You are emotionally and physically tied to the pain and suffering surrounding your accident and its aftermath. This make it nearly impossible for you to objectively value your own injuries. Therefore, it is easy to either:
- ask for too much and reject fair offers from insurance companies, or
- just want to “get it over with” and accept a lowball offer that will not be enough money over the long haul.
That is why it is imperative you hire an injury attorney. An attorney can evaluate your case more efficiently and ensure you receive a fair settlement without negotiating based on emotions.
Hire an Accident Attorney in Louisville Today
If you or a loved one was seriously injured in an automobile accident, contact a trusted Louisville attorney ready to fight for your right to fair compensation.
Attorney Seth Gladstein at the Gladstein Law Firm, PLLC understands what you are going through. You are suffering from severe injuries, have compounding costs, and you want to make sure you get a settlement for it.
Let our advocates handle your injury claim so that you can focus on recovering from your injuries. Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today at 502-791-9000 or request more information online.