What you’ll learn reading this article:
- Learn the seven most common mistakes injured people make after their accidents.
- People who suffer injury from an accident and hire a lawyer get 3.5 times more money than those who try to settle on their own.
You might think you have everything covered, right? Wrong!
Receiving a good settlement can be a complex process. Insurance companies don’t want to pay any more than they have to and the actions you take in preparing for a settlement can affect your health, your finances and your future.
Rather than trying to navigate the process alone, reach out to an Indianapolis personal injury lawyer who will fight to get you every penny you deserve. Avoid any risk to your personal injury claim by avoiding these common mistakes:
Mistake #1: Signing Anything
Working with insurance companies can be confusing. They might ask you to sign different documents, claiming they’re needed to keep your case going. This might or might not be true. How do you know? Then there are the adjusters, who will often email or mail forms they want you to sign right after the accident. You’re in no emotional shape to do this of course, but they seem to try to catch you when you’re most vulnerable. All that legal language? You may not be able to make heads or tails of what they’re really talking about.
Insurance companies might also ask for:
- A medical records release – The insurance company may use this to dig into your past medical history to try and prove any pain you have is cause by a pre-existing condition.
- Release from future claims – If you sign this, you’ll be barred from any future monetary recovery, even though with some injuries, symptoms can worsen over time.
- Liability documents – These discuss how the accident or how injury happened. Do not sign, and do not discuss. Respectfully refuse to sign and then consult an attorney immediately.
Best advice? Don’t sign anything without consulting a personal injury attorney.
Mistake #2: Minimizing Pain and Injuries
Some injuries are evident at the scene – a bite from a dog, a broken arm, cuts. Some of the worst accident injuries are those you don’t see. These include soft tissue injuries. These can often worsen over time or crop up again years later. Don’t forget, after an accident or injury, you’re full of adrenaline, and that will mask much of your initial pain.
You should always get medical care immediately after an accident, even if you feel fine. Don’t refuse that trip to the hospital, but if you have to, be sure to see a doctor the same day. This not only protects your health, it creates documentation of your injuries.
Be sure to always let your personal injury attorney know if you develop new symptoms or new conditions, undergo new treatment and any psychological issues you’re experiencing.
Mistake #3: Not Following Your Doctor’s Advice
Following an accident or injury, it’s very important to go to all doctor’s appointments, physical therapy appointments or other treatments. Not keeping up with your scheduled appointments will attract the attention of the insurance company. Their thought process is, “If they’re so badly injured, why aren’t they listening to their doctor?” If you don’t pay attention to your doctor, you’re not only risking your health, you’re risking the maximum settlement. The insurance company could devalue your claim or simply dismiss it.
Mistake #4: Recording Statements
Insurance adjusters love recorded statements. They’ll ask you questions about your accident. These may seem like business-as-usual and no cause for alarm but remember: Insurance companies are not there to help you. More than likely, they are trying to gather evidence that will mean a lower payout for you.
Don’t agree to a recorded statement unless your attorney is present or has told you it’s okay to do so.
While insurance companies advertise that they are “on your side,” they are actually powerful companies with expert adjusters and high-priced lawyers. Their job is to protect the insurance company and pay out as little as possible.
Mistake #5: Losing or Not Collecting Evidence
You know the obvious things, like getting insurance and personal contact information. But what else? An experienced attorney will tell you what to collect and they can get evidence you might not think about like skid marks on a road, traffic camera footage or security camera shots from a nearby home or business. Make sure your evidence doesn’t do a disappearing act. Some things, like skid marks, can go away quickly and some security footage is recorded over on a regular basis.
Mistake #6: Not Keeping Mute on Social Media
Modern times mean modern methods for collecting information. Insurance adjusters will trawl your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media accounts looking for posts, photos and videos that contradict your injury claims. Never share details and set your accounts to private until your case is settled to your satisfaction.
Mistake #7: Trying to Handle Your Claim on Your Own
Do you know that people who suffer injury from an accident and hire a lawyer get 3.5 times more money than those who try to settle on their own? You want to get the full amount of money you deserve, right? Right! Without the representation of an experienced personal injury lawyer, you’re in for a huge hassle and a lower payout.
Poynter & Bucheri Accident Recovery – Indianapolis Personal Injury Attorneys
If you or a loved one has been injured physically or mentally by a person, product or company, you need to know your legal rights. Our personal injury attorneys are experienced with cases like yours and can evaluate what your case may be worth. We will ensure that you are protected and compensated for your injuries and losses. Why pay up to 40% in attorney fees? Our fee is only 25%* and we fight to win your case or you pay no attorney fees at all. Don’t hesitate – one of our experienced attorneys can assist you right away. Call 1-800-265-9881 for a free case review.
|Hi, I’m Rich Bucheri from Poynter & Bucheri. And today I want to talk about phone calls that I get often, and that is why is the insurance company’s offer so low? So maybe you’ve been handling your case by yourself and thinking that “hey, I have a pretty good relationship with the insurance adjuster. They seem like they’re treating me pretty fairly, so I don’t want to get an attorney involved.” And then after a few months you haven’t heard anything from the insurance adjuster. And then when they finally do call, the offer that they’re making you is much less than when you anticipated.|
|So the first thing to consider is are all your damages being considered? Are you submitting all of your medical bills and related treatment? Have you submitted your documentation for your lost wages? A lot of times insurance companies only want to pay you what you paid out of pocket, as opposed to maybe what your health insurance paid or what Medicaid paid or what Medicare paid.|
|The other thing that insurance companies like to do to lower the amount of their offers is to claim that there are liability issues even in cases where it seems very straightforward as far as what happened. In cases where a person, for instance, runs a red light, they will still say that their client is only 80% at fault because you should have been keeping a lookout for people that were running a red light, and that’s clearly not a situation where you would think that you would be at fault if somebody else ran a red light and hit you.|
|And then finally, do you have any leverage? The leverage that attorneys have in negotiating with the insurance company is that we can file suit and while you’re certainly able to file suits on your own, it’s not recommended. And most people don’t know how that process works, nor should they. But when you have an attorney behind you, they have the leverage of having negotiated many, many cases with the same insurance company, sometimes even with the same adjusters, and the adjusters know the reputation of whether or not these attorneys are really going to fight for their clients or they’re just going to roll over.|
|So should you hire an attorney, a couple of considerations. Attorneys generally have experience negotiating. If you get the right attorney, they will have experience negotiating these types of cases. They’re going to be able to give you an honest evaluation of your case. There’s an evaluation of what the case is worth if you are trying to negotiate it versus if you have an attorney that’s going to be able to build your case the way it should be. Legal knowledge, legal knowledge that an attorney has, to be able to argue these liability issues.|
|And then also to look at the insurance policies to determine if there are other funds available through other various policies and lien reduction. Sometimes you’re going to have insurance that paid for some of the bills or you’re going to have a lien from a medical provider, and those amounts can be reduced so that you can get more money in your pocket, so that’s another advantage of hiring an attorney.|
|And then finally the attorney is going to help you build your case. From the very beginning of the case, we’re going to talk about the treatment and the importance of treatment and where to get treatment. Make sure that we have all the bills and the records, make sure that we are presenting it in a way that it can be related to the accident clearly, and we’re going to be able to gather evidence, photographs, whatever is necessary to make the most compelling case to the insurance company to maximize the amount that you can get in your pocket.|
|If you have any questions about any of this stuff, please feel free to call me. I’m easy to talk to and it’s not a hard sell or anything like that, but I’m happy to kind of walk you through the process and then tell you a little bit about what I can do for you if you’re interested. Thank you. And stay healthy.|