#5: Not Getting A Medical Evaluation Within 14 Days Of Your Accident

It’s normal to want to minimize injuries and hope the aches and pains from an accident will go away with time. Daily obligations like going to work and taking care of family drive mental and physical toughness. Unfortunately, when it comes to a personal injury case this mindset can significantly reduce the value of your personal injury case. Insurance companies know more serious injuries can take weeks, months, or even years before symptoms surface.  Yet they use laws that limit their financial obligations and claim that early treatment equates to being truly injured to reduce the amount of money they pay you.  If you feel there’s a chance you’ve been injured in any way after an accident you should immediately be evaluated by a medical professional (medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy, dentist, physician’s assistant, or certified nurse practitioner) WITHIN 14 DAYS FROM THE DAY OF YOUR ACCIDENT. If you wait to see a doctor outside of this 14-day window you will lose your right to be reimbursed for medical expenses through your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance policy. Insurance companies will also try to convince a jury that if you were truly injured, you would have seen a doctor immediately.

#4: Assuming You Don’t Have A Personal Injury Claim

There are many reasons people may assume they don’t have a personal injury claim even if they’re hurt. These assumptions are commonly based on whether or not someone is insured, the type of injury, and who is at fault for the injury. Maybe you were in a car accident and the police officer informed you that the driver who hit you is uninsured. Perhaps you stepped in a pothole in a parking lot and think it’s your fault for not seeing the hole. Don’t assume anything if you’ve been hurt in an accident. Take advantage of the free consultation services offered by most personal injury lawyers. An experienced personal injury lawyer will know if you’re covered under insurance policies you didn’t know existed.

#3: Minimizing Your Injuries Or Pretending You’re Not Hurt

Insurance companies use many factors to calculate how much money they’re willing to pay for your personal injury case.  One of the biggest factors is your documented injuries and their medical treatment.  Your injuries must be documented in detail by a medical professional and are sometimes described by your friends and families. If you minimize your pain, if you don’t disclose all the places on your body that hurt are sore or feel different since the accident, and if you aren’t compliant and consistent with the medical treatment of your injuries your insurance company will place a lower value on your claim. You’re not doing anyone any favors by suffering in silence or under-treating your injuries.

#2: Being Reluctant To Demand What Is Owed To You

Why is there a social stigma about having a personal injury lawsuit? The reasons we often we hear are not wanting insurance premiums to go up, not being perceived as bringing a frivolous lawsuit, and believing insurance companies will “do the right thing” without filing a claim. A liability insurance policy is an agreement between you and your insurance company.  You agree to pay them every month just in case you (or someone else) gets hurt in an accident sometime in the future. In exchange for payment, the insurance company agrees to be on the hook for damages/expenses resulting from the accident. They have calculated their risk in entering this agreement with you and base your monthly premiums based on factors that affect their risk.  If you are in a higher risk category, your monthly premium will be higher than someone who is lower risk. If you’ve been in an accident it’s likely your insurance companies will make you an offer to settle immediately after the accident, hoping you will accept before you speak to a lawyer.  This is because they’re still lowering their financial risk.  Insurance companies know that paying out a settlement quickly frees them of their liability to pay for more serious injuries that often surface weeks, months or even years after an accident. You pay your insurance company to help you when you need it most. There’s nothing wrong with holding them to their end of the agreement. Being afraid to demand all the money that is legally and contractually owed to you significantly lowers the value of your personal injury case and only hurts you.

#1: Speaking To Any Insurance Adjustor Before Consulting A Qualified Personal Injury Lawyer

Does this mean you shouldn’t talk to your insurance company before talking to a lawyer? Once a claim is filed you are required to cooperate with your insurance company.  However you can, and should, use a lawyer to communicate with any insurance company representative involved in a claim. As we mentioned yesterday in our #2 Top Mistake, despite your contractual agreement, your insurance company will look for ways to limit their obligation to pay for damages. It’s nothing personal against you; insurance companies are for-profit (sometimes publically traded) corporations that strive to increase profits. Your recorded telephone statement with an insurance adjustor is the start of the insurance company’s case against you. This is a tough pill to swallow, especially when talking about your own insurance company who you’ve been diligently paying month after month to cover you for such injuries. Also, regardless of what some insurance company representatives may tell you (including your insurance agent), you should never accept any money from an insurance company after an accident without getting advice from a lawyer. By accepting full or partial payment you may be signing away your insurance company’s liability for your injuries. Protect yourself and speak to a qualified personal injury lawyer immediately after you’ve been in an accident. They’ll help you communicate with the insurance companies and make sure you get what you’re entitled to from all available insurance. Like our Facebook page to get information on other legal topics that you ought to know.

For more information about the Law Offices of Reese Harvey or to schedule a free consultation call 561.691.4511.

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