You know a lot about personal injury cases (probably!), but did you know that you can make a lot of legal faux pas that can ruin your claim/case? Sadly, many people make these mistakes, and it ends up costing them a positive result in their cases. The mistakes are rather simple ones and can be easily avoided if you know what they are and how to avoid them. Most of these mistakes often occur before you are able to consult with personal injury law attorneys, which is why so many personal injury cases never make it to or past the initial filing stage. If you have recently been hurt in an accident or suffered a personal injury, avoid doing all of the following so that your case has a fighting chance.
Do NOT Give a Statement of ANY Kind to the Other Person's Lawyer or Insurance Company
Any part of your statement to the other person's lawyer or insurance company could be misconstrued or altered in meaning in such a way as to negate your claim. The part of the arresting Miranda rights that says "anything you say can and will be used against you..." still applies in a personal injury case. You do not want anything you say to be twisted for the other person's benefit. Until you can speak with your attorney, say nothing.
If You Are Issued a Check, Do NOT Cash It
When the other person's insurance company sends you a check, your issues with your injuries are considered "settled." By cashing this check, you are automatically agreeing to the fact that the matter is settled, and that nothing more is owed you. If you cash it, then you cannot go after the other person or the other person's insurance company for any more money in the future.
If you find that you have long-term injuries and doctor's bills or that you are unable to return to work because of your injuries, then you cannot request any more compensation from the person that caused your injuries because you already cashed the insurance check. If you are sent a check, take the check immediately to your lawyer to discuss what your options are.
Do NOT Do Anything in Public That Seems Contrary to Your Condition
You would be surprised at how many people file a lawsuit because their backs or necks are hurting, and then these same people go out dancing. The lawyer of the person who caused your injuries can use such public evidence against you. It does not matter that you took a bunch of prescription painkillers and went out with friends and that you only did that once.
The other lawyer will argue that if you were pain-free enough to go out on the town dancing, you are well enough that you do not need to pursue a personal injury lawsuit. Regardless of any other substantial evidence showing that you are injured, in pain, and on prescription medication, this one night out on the town can utterly blow your case apart. You need to avoid doing anything physical that would cast aspersions onto your claim and your case.
Do NOT Return to Work If Part of Your Injury Claim/Case States That You Cannot Work
This is one of the hardest parts of filing a personal injury case. If you have asked your lawyer to request compensation for lost wages and/or an inability to work, you have to stay out of work! Returning to work makes this part of your claim null and void, even if you are returning to work on light duty or desk duty. The judge may see this as a lie, and question the rest of your case. It may be a financially difficult time for you, but you cannot claim to be unable to work and requesting compensation one minute, and working light duty the next.
For more tips and guidance, reach out to an attorney at firms like Steeg & Glista PC.