When you become injured through someone else’s negligence, you often have the right to seek compensation through a personal injury claim. Unfortunately, it is far too easy to make mistakes during the process. Knowing these common mistakes can help you avoid them if you decide to pursue a personal injury case.
Not Filing a Report
Filing an official report is part of the process virtually any time you experience an accident where an injury occurs. In many cases, such as a car accident, this will be a police report. However, it may also be a work injury or facility report if your injury occurs in certain circumstances. No matter what type of paperwork it is, you should complete it and submit a copy to the required party.
The accident report you file contains vital information captured immediately after the injury occurred before you have time to forget any of the details. It is also a good way to establish who else was in the area, so you have a written list of witnesses should that be necessary later on.
In addition to filing one, you also want to ensure you retain a copy of the report. This may be needed to establish your claim if you choose to pursue legal action against the responsible party.
Delaying Medical Treatment
There is a common expression that nothing was hurt in an accident but your pride. The embarrassment that is natural in certain situations may cause you to skip getting checked out by a doctor, which could be a big mistake.
Shock is another common reason to skip immediate medical attention. Your body sends signals to reduce pain immediately after a traumatic experience. These can mask sometimes serious injuries that require care.
There are other reasons you may use to skip medical attention after an accident. Maybe you are in a hurry and need to get to work on time or pick up your kids from school. You could be without insurance and don’t want to incur the additional expense of an urgent care visit. Maybe you really feel fine and don’t realize that many types of injuries don’t show symptoms for a day or two.
Whatever the reasons you have for skipping a trip to the doctor, put them aside. Getting evaluated establishes a connection between your injuries and whatever caused them, something you will need to show to your insurance company when filing a claim. You will also need this information if you decide to pursue a legal case.
Providing a Statement
Giving a statement to the police after an accident is common. However, you want to be very careful who you speak to after an injury, especially if the request is for a recorded statement. Insurance companies and their attorneys may attempt to get you to say something that undermines your claim by twisting your words or confusing you with complex terminology.
It is usually a good idea to refer all questions about your accident and injury to your attorney. The law office can answer most questions on your behalf. If you must provide a statement, do so with your attorney present so you have someone to explain questions so you understand them.
Posting Information on Social Media
Research shows that nearly three-quarters of Americans use social media, so it’s no surprise that you may want to post there. However, that can quickly backfire on you. Limit discussions about your injury to your attorney and law office staff to avoid giving insurance companies, attorneys, or the people responsible for your injuries information they might be able to use against you. If possible, it’s a good idea to also ask friends and family to refrain from posting about your injuries and other activities.
Accepting the First Settlement Offered
Insurance companies are often eager to settle injury cases and move on. They also have a vested financial interest in paying out as little as possible on each claim. Many times, these factors contribute to unrealistically low first settlement offers. The amount may seem attractive when you are facing growing medical bills and lost wages due to your injuries. However, accepting it often leaves you unable to meet future costs of care or compensate for reduced earnings.
It is generally unwise to accept an initial settlement offer from the insurance company. Of course, there are exceptions to this, and the first offer may be the best one you will get. Having an attorney on your side is an excellent way to evaluate any offers and make a decision based on the facts available.
Letting the Statue of Limitations to Pass
Every state has a statute of limitations for filing personal injury cases. This is the time limit you have from when the injury occurred or, in some situations, when you became aware of it, to when you file a legal claim. Failure to take action before this time can leave you with very limited options for seeking compensation.
In New York, the statute of limitations for many types of personal injury cases is generally three years. However, it can vary depending on the nature of your accident or injury. For example, wrongful death claims have a two-year limit, and medical practice cases should begin within two years and six months. Some injuries, such as those to your reputation, have even shorter time limits.
It is very easy to become confused about when to have paperwork turned in. Your attorney will ensure that everything is filed and recorded before the statute of limitations is up. She can also follow up to ensure any corrections or requested information is provided in a timely manner.
Not Contacting an Attorney
The sooner you hire an attorney the better off you will be. This is true even if you decide against filing a lawsuit since attorneys can also help you deal with your insurance provider if needed. Your attorney will investigate the claim to establish responsibility for your injuries and then work to hold those parties to account.
Sadly, not hiring an injury lawyer may be the single biggest mistake someone contemplating a personal injury case can make. As you have already read, having an attorney in your corner helps you avoid many of the other common mistakes, such as getting trapped into making a statement by the insurance company or other attorneys or accepting an unfair settlement.
When shopping for a personal injury lawyer, ask about firm specializations, office locations, and prior experience. It’s also a good idea to find out about attorney compensation at the start. At Cellino Law, we’ll schedule a free consultation for an attorney to review your case and discuss your options. If you decide to move forward, you will never pay an upfront fee. In fact, you’ll only pay if we win your case or negotiate a favorable settlement on your behalf.
Skip these Personal Injury Case Mistakes
When you hire an experienced attorney with Cellino Law, you get years of experience litigating personal injury and accident cases on your side. We’ll help you avoid the most common mistakes people make while handling an injury case. Our offices throughout the state make it convenient to find experienced representation no matter where you live. Schedule a free case review today by calling (888) 888-8888 or contact us online to find the office closest to you.
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- Cellino Law and more specifically my attorney, Gregory V. Pajak, Managing Attorney, and as a whole the Cellino Law Firm and its organization. This is by far one of the most professional law firms and attorney I have ever engaged with and retained in my 35 years. The level of professionalism goes beyond words, the care and constant engagement with me as the client was touching. I was never ever just treated as simply a CASE with potentially a significant dollar number attached to my file. I was engaged regularly, Tracey (Ass’t) and Greg always made sure to remain constant, as well as consistent in overseeing that my case was handled properly and that it did matter in many ways - ensuring that the end result(s) would be fair and reasonable to my case/injury. The regular follow-up calls were very satisfying, knowing that you’re involved in your case matters significantly AND always. One of my main items to recognize Cellino Law and Gregory is that whenever I called, I was able to get through to speak directly to my Lawyer and he would answer any if not all of my questions in a very professional and genuinely caring manner. I always felt cared for and protected legally and more importantly, I was made feel as a human being that was being cared for and always keeping me abreast of all matters connected to the case. There was never a point I felt let down, on the contrary -the level of service was “STELLAR”. Greg is the consummate professional, a ‘role model’, if you will, for what other attorneys should strive to become when dealing with their clients.
- This letter is to thank Ms. Diane D’Andrea, assistant to Mr. George Gridelli, Attny for all the hard work, dedication, and attentiveness she showed during the representation of my case. She was always cheerful and ready to help in whatever way she could. All messages left for Mr. Gridelli were always relayed and Mr. Gridelli always promptly returned our calls. She was a very competent assistant. Cellino Law has proven to be a model of what legal representation should be. Throughout the 6 ½ years of this case, I have heard many horror stories from people with “bad lawyer stories.” We consider ourselves to be very lucky to have chosen Cellino Law and will always recommend you to those looking for good, honest representation with a personal touch.
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Kerrijo & Jerry