William Harding, Christina El-Azzi
Top 5 mistakes that could hurt your personal injury claim
By William Harding, Ontario personal injury lawyer and Christina El-Azzi, summer student
If you have suffered a serious injury through the negligence of others and are pursuing litigation, there are some important factors to keep in mind in order to ensure that your rights are protected and that you receive all the compensation to which you are entitled. The following are the most common, and costly, mistakes in personal injury claims:
- Not Seeking Medical Attention.
After an accident, you are responsible for proving your injuries. Medical reports are vital in personal injury claims as they outline and document your injuries, their severity, and the likelihood of your full recovery.
It is important to see your doctor immediately after sustaining your injuries. Otherwise, insurance companies may rely on the fact that you waited to seek medical attention because your injuries were pre-existing, minor or caused by something else.
It is unlikely that you will be compensated for injuries that are not outlined in a medical report. Make it a priority to see your doctor as soon as possible and mention all of your symptoms and injuries. In speaking to your physician, it is important to be completely open and honest about all of your injuries.
- Being Dishonest About Your Injuries
Your personal injury claim centers on credibility. Lying or exaggerating your injuries can have nefarious effects on your case and, consequently, on your compensation.
Insurance Companies have their best interest and bottom line in mind. They frequently obtain access to your medical records in order to verify your condition, hire private investigators to confirm the legitimacy of your injuries, and request surveillance to see whether or not you might be exaggerating or lying about the severity of your injuries.
Dishonest can be very detrimental to your case. You should always be honest with your doctor and your lawyer about all of your injuries – both past and present.
- Divulging Details on Social Media
Everything that you post on social media leaves an online footprint. It is imperative that you use social media responsibly, especially when you are part of an ongoing lawsuit. Sensitive information related to your claim should not be posted online – even if you have your privacy settings turned on.
Insurance companies will meticulously comb through your social media looking for any information to hurt your case: updates, blog posts, pictures and comments. Even if you do not think that the information that you are posting is hurtful to your case, it is in your best interest to refrain from sharing any case-related information online.
- Failing to Keep Records
To support your case, you will need valid documentation for every part of your claim. It is vital to thoroughly document and keep records with regards to the accident and your damages.
At The Scene
At the scene of the incident, take pictures of your location from all angles. You should also thoroughly photograph, and preserve, any of your personal property that has been damaged.
Take note of the sequence of events which led to your injuries, as well as weather conditions, the lighting at the time of incident, and your initial symptoms and injuries.
You should also take down the name and contact information of any potential witnesses. Follow up with them as soon as you can. You should request that they provide you a written statement of what they saw.
After The Accident
It is important for your claim that you save your receipts every time that you incur a cost which is related to your accident. This can include out-of-pocket medical expenses, travel expenses, and the cost of replacing damaged property.
- Waiting Too Long to Seek Legal Advice
Insurance claims can be complicated and you may not always be aware of your rights. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you navigate this, sometimes overwhelming, process. Furthermore, it is important to be aware of the applicable limitation periods that exist, something that a lawyer will have knowledge of.
Do not fight the battle alone and run the risk of compromising your rights or your compensation. If you or someone you know has been seriously injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, contact the team at McLeish Orlando LLP for more information and a free consultation.