If you’re ever injured in an accident that’s not your fault, you need to be sure that the insurance companies give you the compensation you deserve.
Along with any physical damages, there’s a chance you’ll need additional compensation to cover your medical expenses and any other costs associated with the accident.
Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to get the compensation you deserve.
The liability claims process doesn’t always go smoothly.
Victims often find themselves frustrated by a lack of response from the insurance company in charge.
Or in some severe cases, the insurance companies just refuse to treat victims fairly at all.
This leaves many unsure of what to do next.
This is when it becomes absolutely necessary to hire a lawyer to help you with your claim.
Many people injured by other peoples negligence mistakenly think they don’t have immediate access to qualified help and therefore risk making decisions that could jeopardize their rights.
In the article below, we will discuss several common mistakes to avoid when filing your personal lawsuit.
Avoiding these mistakes will allow you to start your claim with an edge and improve your likelihood of maximizing your potential compensation value.
Thinking You Can’t Afford A Lawyer
Many lawyers charge their fees are up-front, but personal injury lawyers charge a contingency fee.
A contingency fee means your lawyer will take your case with no payment upfront.
They only collect a fee if they obtain a settlement in your case.
So, you have nothing to lose by hiring a lawyer because they will only take a small percentage of your overall settlement.
And, by using a lawyer, your settlement will typically be much higher than what the insurance company will offer without one.
Sometimes people injured in accidents will try to handle their personal injury claim by themselves and end up filing independently.
Before you try to do this, you need to keep in mind that the insurance companies and their lawyers know insurance law much better than the average citizen.
They handle lawsuits daily.
If you want to get the compensation you deserve for your personal injury claim, you need the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer.
Your lawyer will understand the tricks and advocate for your interests throughout the process.
Accepting What Your Lawyer Says Without Question
Asking questions about your personal injury claim is key to staying informed and involved in the settlement process.
Remember, you chose your lawyer and hired him to help you with your injury claim.
As such, you have the right and the obligation to question anything they do regarding your claim.
If you ever feel like your current lawyer is not handling your claim properly, you can always look for a new lawyer.
Giving The Insurance Company An Official Statement
The insurance company will try to secure a recorded statement from you quickly after an accident.
They do this to see if it can be used as testimony against you so they can deny your personal injury claim later on.
However, immediately following your accident, you are more likely to confuse essential details that could determine who is at fault.
The meaning of your words can be twisted.
Never give any statement to an insurance company without first speaking with a lawyer.
Thinking You Have To Go To Court
Most personal injury claims can settle outside of court.
Once your personal injury lawyer reviews the initial settlement offer and negotiates for fair compensation, they can typically be settled without going to court.
Your lawyer will do everything in their power to avoid court, to avoid taking up valuable time and resources.
Still, a good lawyer will not avoid a trial when they know it will get you the compensation you are entitled to.
Not Seeking Medical Attention
Some victims may think they don’t need to see a doctor after an accident unless there are apparent injuries.
However, countless car accident injuries are not immediately apparent.
If you don’t seek medical attention, and you start to notice injuries that are not included in your accident claim, you won’t be able to seek compensation for them.
It is always in your best interest to seek medical attention quickly after an accident.
Waiting Too Long To File
The statute of limitations in Georgia allows for two years from the date of the accident for a claim to be filed.
But if you are recovering from catastrophic injuries, many of those months are spent in hospitals and rehab.
They aren’t spent taking care of the necessary paperwork to start your injury claim.
That’s why you need to talk to a personal injury attorney right away so they can get your claim started before it is too late.
Accepting The First Offer From The Insurance Company
Your insurance company needs to settle as soon as possible to reduce their costs.
The first offer the insurance company gives you is rarely, if ever, the best offer they can provide.
The insurance representatives may also ask you to sign a release preventing you from seeking any further compensation after accepting their initial offer.
Without the help of an attorney, you could be forfeiting your right to a fair settlement.
Thinking You’ve Already Waited Too Long
The two-year timeframe to file does move quickly but never give up because you think you’ve waited too long to file.
Every personal injury lawyer worth your time will offer free consultations to review your case.
They can tell you for sure whether or not you waited too long.
Also, some types of injuries, like surgical errors, may not be discovered for years after the actual surgery.
The statute of limitations will work differently for that type of claim.
Not Filing A Claim Because You Think You’re At-Fault
Georgia is a fault-based state with comparative negligence laws at the 50 percent bar rule.
This means that more than one party in an accident can be found partially at fault.
If one party is found to be at least 50 percent at fault, they can’t recover damages.
But even if found partially at fault for an accident, you can recover part of a settlement, as long as your fault isn’t over 49 percent.
Discussing Pre-Existing Conditions
Disclosing pre-existing medical conditions to insurance adjusters will allow them to use them against you to offer you less than you deserve.
Having an attorney representing your interests is always the best option to prevent any actions that might affect your settlement.