Common Mistakes That Personal Injury Lawyer Clients Make

For those individuals who have never before been involved in a law case, it can be easy for them to do certain things that put their chance of winning into serious jeopardy. So that you can avoid making these yourself, we have listed them below in full detail.

Being concerned that going to court will involve a jury

Where a claim against personal injury goes to court, it will always be in front of a judge and never in front of a jury, so it is not a scary process and not something that you should be concerned about at all. However, the chances of this type of claim going to court is actually very slim, with only about 1 percent of them doing so. When they do go to court, it is only for the really big cases where there are huge sums of money at stake.  

Thinking that your lawyer has your case front of mind at all times

You may think or wish that your case is the only one that your lawyer is dealing with, but this is just not true, unfortunately. Most personal injury lawyers have somewhere around 200 different clients that they are dealing with all at the same time. Even some paralegals who are not yet qualified can have as many as 500 claims that they are dealing with. Each of these can be very complex and time-consuming so it is unreasonable to expect that they are always thinking about your particular case. For this reason it is important to engage with your lawyer frequently, gently nudging them,especially if they have seemed to have forgotten about your case. If you become aware that your lawyer has too many cases to deal with that it detrimentally impacts on your own, you should switch to a different lawyer, such as one from Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, P.C.

Not asking questions that may sound stupid

Because lots of personal injury lawyers advertise the process of making a claim as being an easy one, you may feel that you sound stupid if you ask querstions about any part of it that you do not understand. It is important that you do not think this way – if you have never made a claim before then it is perfectly reasonable for you to have questions about what is involved in the process. So whenever a question comes into your head, ask it. There is very little in law that is black and white, so no question is a stupid question.

Thinking that a compensation claim is straightforward

It is never the case that any sort of claim that is brought against another person or organization is easy – any Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys will tell you that for free. Although some cases seem to go more smoothly than others, they all do have their own complexities. If the claim that you are making is against either your current or former employer, this is never an easy thing to do. In these such cases, there is always the possibility of it going to court, which comes with a whole host of different issues itself. 

Not keeping important evidence

If you have been involved in any sort of accident or mishap, it is important to gather up as much available evidence as possible. It can help by thinking or the scene of the accident as being similar to that of a murder. With a camera, take plenty of videos and photographs in order to preserve the evidence. In addition to writing everything down, it is also beneficial to speak with any witnesses to the incident and get their view on the events. Being highly forensic is the only way of truly being able to prove that it was the negligence of someone else that caused the accident in the first place. Not having enough or any good quality evidence in your favor, will impact on the success of your claim, which is why gathering as much as possible is so important.

Settling before getting medical evidence

It is common practice amongst insurance companies to respond to the claims made by defendants by offering a small amount of money straight away in the hope that the claimant accepts it and the case goes away. This is because early on there is likely to be little or no medical evidence available – something that makes attributing a value to your claim practically impossible for any lawyer. Although on the odd occasion it may be worth your while accepting an initial offer, you should view it with a certain level of skepticism.

Relying on just a medical report

Just like any other witness, a medical witness can also be wrong in the information that they are stating, regardless of how much of an expert they claim to be. This is why you should also get the advice of a consultant rather than just a general medical practitioner with no area of expertise.  

Thinking all lawyers are the same 

Whenever someone is involved in a car accident, for instance, it is their insurance company that typically appoints the lawyer on their behalf. In doing so you are not able to question the credentials of said lawyer and so maybe appointed one that is below par. There is no other situation where something like this would happen- it is a pretty backward way of doing things really. Instead of simply accepting whatever lawyer that is appointed to you, you should instead do some research and find a good one that matches your needs. Some questions to consider when searching for a lawyer yourself include are they located close to where you live, are you easily able to meet with them, do you trust them as a person, are they qualified to handle your case, how many other clients do they have, what happens to the money if I win my claim, and do they provide any legal advice free of charge. It is your case after all so you should have the final say on who is representing you.

 

Not understanding that not all lawyers are equally experienced and skilled

It is a simple fact that not all lawyers are the same. A property lawyer will not be able to help you with a personal injury claim and vice versa, a personal injury lawyer would not be able to assist you in purchasing a house. This is why it is important to find out if the lawyer has previous experience and expertise in dealing with personal injury claims like yours. Where a claim is very important to you, do not leave it to a novice lawyer to represent you.

 

Settling too early

You should never settle straight away and instead, should only do so once you have made a full mental and physical recovery. Where you have sustained injuries that are permanent, ensure that you have had full medical sign-off. If you accept a payment whilst you are still injured (which you are likely to be straight after an accident) then these may persist and even get worse way after you have settled and been paid up. Where this is the case, it is likely that you have settled for a lesser amount than what you should have. Once this has happened there is no chance to go back and get any more money.

 

Thinking that you are able to proceed without a lawyer

Insurance companies often try and settle directly with claimants in the hope of not getting any lawyers involved. They tell you that all they do is complicate the process and that you will get a higher settlement amount as there will be no need to pay the expensive legal fees. However, this is simply not true and is in fact a tactic that insurance companies use in order to end up paying less money out. If you choose to proceed with your claim without the help of a lawyer then do not expect to be successful and win, as the insurance companies will employ their own highly experienced lawyers to fight against your case. 

 

Not keeping track of monetary losses incurred

Each and every time that you or a relative or a friend incurs some sort of financial loss as a result of your accident, you should keep the receipt / invoice or at very least make a note of it. See making a personal injury claim as being very similar to any other type of insurance claim. The costs noted should even include smaller amounts for things such as having to park at the hospital or having to purchase take-away meals because you are physically unable to cook meals for yourself because of the injuries experienced. These things can all add up over time and actually equal quite a substantial amount of money. Any decent lawyer will be able to provide you with advice on what can and what cannot be claimed. 

 

Not fully declaring all medical injuries / symptoms

It is vitally important that when sent by your lawyer to see a medical expert to assess your condition that you tell them about the full extent of all of your injuries and / or symptoms. This is because they cannot be changed further down the line. In any and all personal injury claims, the medical reports have a great deal of weighting towards the final outcome of the case. They state what injuries have been incurred as a result of the incident and how long it will take you to recover from them. Because you cannot always guarantee that a medical expert will ask you the right type of questions in order to glean all of the required information from you, you should not feel afraid to freely offer up some information yourself. For instance, if the medical expert fails to ask you something that you think has some importance, then you should tell them. If you win your case, you will not be compensated for any injuries that are not mentioned within the medical report.

 

Not fully declaring psychological / mental injuries

It may be the case that as a result of your accident that you now find yourself struggling to get to sleep, drinking more alcohol, being more forgetful, being easily irritated, or having depression. These things can actually be worse than the physical injuries experienced yet are not visible to most people and so can be easily missed. For this reason, you should divulge all of these things to your lawyer, as well as mention them to any medical expert that you see. You should not feel afraid to openly talk about any mental health issues that you may be experiencing as a result of your accident as it is perfectly normal.

By doing all of the above things correctly, you are doing everything that you possibly can to ensure that you get the best possible outcome from your personal injury claim. The key to all of the above is building up a good, strong relationship with your lawyer from the very start so that you feel comfortable telling them all of the facts of your particular case and asking them the relevant questions. This is why before hiring a lawyer, you should always meet with them to get their take on your case, and more importantly, to see if they are someone who you could work with. Rember, they should have extensive experience in the particular area of law that your claim is involved in and that they have the capacity, both financial and human, to be able to handle your case full – this includes if it goes to court; although this is pretty rare for personal injury claims unless there is lots of money at stake.  

Go into the process with an open mind and do not leave anything on the table – the more ammo that you provide your lawyer with, the better job they can do in representing you and getting you what you deserve.

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