A personal injury is any kind of physical, mental, or emotional damage sustained from an accident through no fault of your own. This could be due to road traffic accidents, work accidents, tripping accidents, assault claims, product liability claims, and medical negligence claims.
If you have suffered a personal injury and are seeking litigation, there are some very important factors involved and steps you must take in order to ensure your rights are protected and your compensation is maximized. Although over 90% of personal injury cases reach a settlement before trial, 60% of all trials in Ontario alone are personal injury cases. Because courts do not wish to overbook, some trials don’t occur until three or four years after the incident. And there will be investigations, negotiations, and arbitration to endure beforehand.
Personal injury lawsuits can be complicated to navigate, but our team at Pace Law is here to help. It is important to be aware of how you conduct yourself after a personal injury. We understand that feelings of shock, pain, panic, and disorientation occur, but how you react can be a determining factor in the success or failure of your injury lawsuit. In order to prevent any further stress during these procedures, here are the top 10 mistakes to avoid that could potentially hurt your personal injury case.
Failure to obtain a police report
You may not think it is imperative to involve the police in your accident, but having an official police record can be vital your case. The police will be able to photograph the scene of the accident and interview any witnesses. Their report serves as evidence that both you were not at fault when the accident occurred and that the other party is guilty of negligence. Failure to obtain a police report could put their weird over yours, distorting the truth and manipulating your rights to compensation. Even if an ambulance is unnecessary when 911 is called, request that a police offer responds so that a written report can be documented.
Failure to seek medical attention
Obtaining medical documentation is essential to your injury claim. Even if you feel that your injury is minor, just like the police report, it will serve as official documentation of your condition. The effects of some injuries are not always visible or don’t manifest until a few days later, and by then it might be too late. Insurance companies might argue that the injury was not that serious, pre-existing, and they might even suggest you are just trying to exaggerate and exploit your injury to take advantage of the benefits. Failure to seek medical attention immediately will hurt your chances of full compensation.
Incomplete disclosure with your doctor
Always be sure to be open and honest with your doctor once you receive medical attention following an injury. This includes any symptoms, pains, cuts, bruises, or side effects, and even any emotional or psychological duress. Don’t attempt to conceal any previous injury or pre-existing conditions. Doing so will impact the quality of your case and the medical assistance you receive. Failure to engage full disclosure with your doctor or providing false information could result in validating the claims of the insurance companies that don’t want to pay you damages and invalidating the claims from your doctor. And then the burden of responsibility for the accident will be on you.
Failure to seek legal advice immediately
A lawyer will help to evaluate the validity of your injury claim, fight for your rights to compensation, and prevent insurance companies from harassing you or attempting to deny you your rights. A professional expert can also help you navigate the complex legal process. Sometimes it’s difficult to remember every little detail of the accident, but the little details could be the deciding factors of your case. An expert lawyer will ask the right questions and uncover those details. The Ontario Limitations Act gives you two years to file a claim, but your best option is to seek legal advise as soon as possible. Failure to seek legal advice immediately could bear a significant weight on the outcome of your case.
Speaking with the insurance company without your lawyer
Because insurance companies don’t want to pay full compensation, they will continuously call you to try and dissuade you from seeking legal advice. This is their attempt to settle out of court for substantially less than what you deserve in damages. Never give a statement, sign a document, or provide a recorded statement without the consultation of a lawyer. Speaking with the insurance company without legal counsel will certainly reduce the value of or even eliminate your claim altogether.
Sharing sensitive information on social media
Treat your injury claim as if it were an ongoing legal proceeding. In other words, it is sensitive information that should not be made available for public consumption. Insurance companies will search your social media for pictures, status updates, tweets, and blog entries that might help to invalidate your claim. It can also be used as evidence against you should the case go to court. Refrain from sharing any information related to your case. Your best bet is to refrain from any kind of social media usage until your case is resolved.
Neglecting medical appointments and advice
Missing a doctor’s appointment or failing to follow their advice is a serious liability to your case. Because medical records can be accessed by insurance companies and juries as evidence, missed appointments and prematurely ending medical treatments such as prescribed medications and physical therapy could show evidence that your injury was not that serious, or that you have already recovered. Your full compensation depends on your commitment to regular visits and your doctor’s advice.
Exaggerating or lying about the injury
Insurance companies will hire private investigators to check into your condition, to see whether or not you might be exaggerating or lying about the severity of your injury. They will do surveillance, subpoena medical records, and inquire about you in any way that might help their case. Be honest with your doctor, as well as your lawyer. Should your case ever go to trial, perjury is a sure-fire way to kill it.
Failure to obtain uninsured/under-insured motorist coverage
If your injury was the result of a car accident where the other party was at fault, it is possible they might not have insurance of their own. In this case, you would be covered by your own insurance. There are approximately 1,200 uninsured vehicles and 400,000 uninsured motorists in Ontario. But if you don’t have coverage in the event of this situation, your medical expenses could skyrocket, not to mention vehicle/property damage expenses. Cover yourself with UM/UIM insurance.
Using a repair shop recommended by the insurance company
If you have sustained vehicle/property damage as a result of a car accident, don’t settle for using the repair shop recommended by the insurance company. Their goal is to save money, so the damage estimate and replacement value of your car is in jeopardy of being shortchanged. You have the right to seek as many estimates as you like, as well as take your vehicle to any repair shop you trust the most.
Avoid these mistakes. We do not want you to have to suffer physically, emotionally, or financially. You may be entitled to compensation of medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. Consult an experienced personal injury lawyer at Pace Law to find out what your options are.