Mistake No. 1: Giving a recorded statement.
If there is one thing I would like to see stopped is people giving recorded statements to the other driver’s insurance company. Many times, people give these statements before they even have the chance to contact an attorney. The insurance companies are shifty this way. The adjuster will call you within a day or two after the accident and tell you they are working on your claim. They then tell you that before they can evaluate your case, they must get your “recorded statement.” They even go so far as to say that the recorded statement is required. Not knowing any better, you decide to give one without the benefit of legal counsel. Now you have just played into one of the oldest tricks in the book. Your statement is now recorded and the insurance adjuster is prepared to use the statement against you in defense of your claim. Never give a recorded statement. And despite what the adjuster says, it is not required. Always politely refuse to give a recorded statement and contact an attorney.
Mistake No. 2: Giving auto insurance information to the hospital or doctors.If you are involved in a car accident, the hospital or doctors may ask for your auto insurance information. In fact, they will tell you that it is required. Don’t fall for it. When you do so, you are basically giving them the “key to the vault.” What they will do is put the claim in with the auto insurance which leaves that much less that you can collect for yourself on your injury claim. Never give out the auto insurance information. This goes for the other driver’s information as well. Instead, just give them your health insurance. The reason they want your auto insurance is because they will collect more money on their bill rather than be forced to accept the lower amounts from your health insurance. If they tell you your health insurance will not cover car accidents, tell them they are wrong and you will take that up with your health carrier if the claim is denied. If you do not have health insurance, just tell them to bill you directly and you will handle the auto insurance claims yourself. Stand your ground and never give out the auto insurance information to the hospitals or doctors.
Mistake No. 3: Posting online about your accident or injuries.
In every personal injury lawsuit, the insurance lawyer almost always ask to any Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or other online post made by the Plaintiff. This means that you may have to turn over these posts in your car accident case. Avoiding this is very simple. Don’t post anything online about your accident or your injuries. not even emails or texts to friends online. Just keep that information between you and your car accident lawyer.
Mistake No. 4: Signing a Release or Settling Your Case Too Soon.I had a client come into my office one day looking to hire an attorney. She was involved in a fairly serious car accident right here in Dallas and sustained personal injuries. However, she had signed a release early on in the case because she was worried about getting the emergency room bill paid. After she signed the release, she continued having problems and was currently under the treatment of a back specialist. Unfortunately, this can happen to anyone who doesn’t know their rights or their options. Had this lady come to me earlier, I could have got her set up with a doctor and been able t get a far larger settlement on her car accident case since her injuries turned out to be fairly serious. Although I wanted to help her, there was nothing I could do since she had already signed a release of all her personal injury claims. That is why I tell everyone to consult with an attorney before signing anything or even accepting a check from the insurance company.
Mistake No. 5: Waiting Too Long to Hire an Attorney.
More and more often I get calls from potential clients wait until the statute of limitations is closely approaching before seeking an attorney. Although I have taken some of these case, they have all turned out to be complete disasters. That is why most attorneys will not take a case if it within six months of the deadline. That is because a suit has to be filed without the lawyer really knowing the complete history of the case. And then I find out everything that went wrong when the client was handling it themselves. Even if the the client comes to me with plenty of time before the time limit, I still have to deal with those problems.What people need to understand is that handling a personal injury case is a complicated process that leads to a final result. The earlier you get the proper help, then the better chances of getting a good result. For example, if you are diagnosed with a deadly disease, do you wait until the last minute to see a doctor? It’s the same thing with hiring a lawyer. If you are injured, whether it be in a car accident or some other incident, why wait until the last minute to hire an attorney?
Mistake No. 6: Handling the Claim on Your Own.
I cannot stress this issue enough. Handling a case on your own sets you up for so many problems. You must understand that insurance companies are licensed and trained to handle claims. They know your rights. They also know that you do not know your rights. This give the adjuster the opportunity to say or do whatever they want without you knowing whether they are right or wrong. If you try to handle the case by yourself, you may do so much damage to your claim that, by the time your decide you need an attorney, no personal injury attorney will take your case. Another problem you have is the lack of any bargaining position. I once had a person ask me what his claim was worth. He also stated that he didn’t want to hire a lawyer and just wanted to know what amount he should settle for. I responded, “If you are not going to hire a lawyer, then what difference does it make what your claim is worth. Since you do not have the ability to enforce your legal rights, then your claim is worth whatever the adjuster says it’s worth.”