Even if you deserve compensation, making a mistake in your personal injury case could prevent you from getting justice. Below are 10 costly mistakes you should avoid when filing a personal injury claim in San Diego, California.
Mistake 1: Neglecting to ask questions. There are no stupid questions! Many areas of the law are so confusing or nuanced that attorneys often disagree. Questions can help your attorney uncover important details about your case and can help you better understand relevant laws so that you can know what’s essential to your claim.
Mistake 2: Assuming your claim will be easy. It’s true, some claims are relatively straightforward. However, many personal injury claims tend to be complicated – and not just because they require careful navigation of California’s laws on insurance, negligence, and compensation awards. Understanding and proving degrees of fault and the value of both your economic and non-economic damages is highly complex. Don’t assume you can get the compensation you deserve without legal help.
Mistake 3: Losing or disposing of important evidence. Key evidence for a car accident claim can look like photos from the scene of the accident, notes about weather and road conditions at the time of the accident, and contact info and statements from witnesses.
Mistake 4: Making a claim or attempting to evaluate your claim’s worth without medical evidence. You cannot accurately understand or even estimate your claim’s worth without a medical professional (or several) explaining the severity and scope of your injuries. Imagine trying to guess how much money you should claim without knowing how many months or years your recovery will take, or what the full cost of related procedures will be.
Mistake 5: Making your claim based only on a General Practitioner’s report. Unfortunately, many car accident injuries are misdiagnosed by a GP. Ask to be referred to a consultant or specialist so that you can better understand your injuries and have more extensive proof of your damages.
Mistake 6: Settling before you know what your claim is worth. Be wary of insurance companies wanting you to do exactly this! Insurance companies know the anxiety that car accident expenses cause. They often want to take advantage of that anxiety and offer you a quick sum to cover your immediate expenses. However, if you settle too soon you could very easily overlook additional and more significant expenses that your settlement should cover. Always talk to an attorney about when it’s a safe time to settle and what kind of settlement is fair.
Mistake 7: Assuming that insurance companies will be fair. In keeping with the above point, don’t assume that your insurance company or the other driver’s insurance company will be honest. Insurance companies look out for their best interests and only want to pay you the bare minimum. Get legal advice before accepting an offer.
Mistake 8: Losing track of expenses. Many car accident victims lose potential compensation because they don’t know all the expenses they can claim. Or because they fail to keep records of claimable expenses. In a personal injury case, your economic damages don’t just include that major surgery you had, but could also include smaller expenses such as visits to a physiotherapist, the rental car you got while waiting to buy a new car after the accident, or the house cleaning services you paid for because your injuries prevented you from doing household chores. To play it safe, keep track of all your expenses after the accident (including saving receipts, credit card statements, and paperwork from any appointments) and discuss them with your attorney.
Mistake 9: Concealing symptoms from your doctor. Your doctor can’t accurately diagnose you if they don’t know exactly how you’re feeling – physically and emotionally. And without an official diagnosis, you can’t claim compensation for injuries.
Mistake 10: Not disclosing psychological symptoms. Did you know that car accidents are the leading cause of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among the general population in the United States? Verywell Mind reports that 39.2% of motor vehicle accident survivors develop PTSD. If you have PTSD or another psychological or emotional issue as a result of the accident, you can claim compensation for this as part of your “non-economic damages.” But you can’t claim this significant part of your compensation if you don’t discuss it with your attorney or get a medical diagnosis. Talking with both your attorney and your doctors about all your symptoms – even if they might not be related to PTSD – is the best guarantee for successfully claiming the compensation you’re due.
Your personal injury claim is your chance to get justice for the suffering someone caused you. Don’t risk your wellbeing and your future. Get the San Diego legal assistance you can trust.