Most individuals who file a personal injury lawsuit have legitimate injuries. They suffer daily from pain, medical costs and even loss of income. Unfortunately, an injured person automatically becomes the subject for scrutiny – whether from defense attorneys or insurance claims adjusters. The other side will often hire investigators looking for any way they can to lower a person’s settlement – or find ways to have the case dismissed entirely.
If you have filed a personal injury claim, it is imperative that you know what you could do to harm your settlement chances. Most of the mistakes plaintiffs make are unknown and they are usually innocent. To avoid making these same mistakes, listen to any advice your attorney may present to you – especially in regards to your behavior.
Never Have a Settlement Amount in Mind or Take the First Offer
One of the biggest mistakes accident victims make is taking the first offer they are given – whether their attorney recommends it or not. While you may feel as though you are financially desperate, insurance companies never put their best foot forward – meaning the first offer is not the best offer or the highest settlement you could get from that company. Let your attorney calculate a fair settlement and when one presents itself, your attorney should review the settlement before allowing you to accept.
Not Having Key Evidence at Settlement Negotiations
One of the easiest ways for an insurance company or defense attorney to lower your settlement is lack of evidence. Insurance adjusters will try to accept or deny liability for your claim based on the police report, witness statements, photographs and your medical records. The more evidence you gather, the stronger your case is – and the higher your settlement could potentially become. Gather as much evidence as you can, and do not throw any evidence away. This evidence can include statements from the other driver, medical bills and records, tests, prescription bottles, etc. All of these items only further prove your claim.
Making a Statement to Insurance Companies
Before you have had the chance to review your options or even speak to an attorney, an insurance claims adjuster is likely to get in touch and try to get an official statement from you. The objective of this quick statement request is to:
- Get you to make statements that can lower their liability.
- Obtain admissions about the accident – and place the fault on you.
- Minimize the legitimacy of any injury claims you have.
Not Hiring an Attorney
Insurance companies may seem as though they are on your side, but they are only looking for ways to reduce the cost of your accident and associated injuries. While they may tell you that you do not need an attorney, you should always hire an attorney. An attorney looks out for your best interest and often leads to a higher settlement amount.
After an accident, do not speak with any insurance company; instead, contact the attorneys at Schwartzapfel® Lawyers P.C. We offer free consultations and can assist you with your injury claim. Call us at 1-877-737-4806 or fill out an online contact form with your questions.