Florida cases can be complicated, and it is easy to fall into certain insurance company pitfalls. Most people are involved in car accidents so infrequently, that when an accident occurs, they are unsure of what they should do – and what they should refrain from doing.
If you have sustained personal injuries in a car accident or other accident as a result of someone else's carelessness or , you may be entitled to monetary compensation under the law. A New Port Richey personal injury lawyer can help to keep you from making serious mistakes that could be detrimental to your case.
A personal injury attorney may also be able to negotiate a favorable settlement of your case with the insurance company. If the insurance company refuses to put a favorable settlement offer on the table, our experienced lawyers are not afraid to litigate your case or take it to trial.
Mistake #1 – Admitting Fault at the Accident Scene
Immediately after an accident – and most especially, a motor vehicle accident – many personal injury plaintiffs are in shock and are unsure of what they should do. Although it is important for you to exchange insurance information with the other driver(s) following a car accident, you should never admit fault – or even partial fault – to the other driver or to the investigating police officer. If you do admit fault at the scene, you can be sure that your admission will be used against you later on in the litigation process.
Mistake #2 – Leaving Out Your Injuries and Symptoms
One or more police officers and paramedics usually arrive on-scene following an accident. When a police officer or paramedic asks you how you are feeling after the accident or if you are injured, you should be accurate and complete and should include all of your present symptoms, complaints, and known injuries. Your response will likely be included in a police report and/or EMT report, and it is important that this information is recorded as accurately as possible. If not, the defendant's insurance company or attorney may later question why you reported a lack of symptoms or injuries at the accident scene.
Mistake #3 – Failing to Seek Follow-up Treatment at the Hospital
Following a motor vehicle accident, there is oftentimes a strong temptation to try and get home as soon as possible – especially if there is no immediate onset of pain or injury. However, injuries, symptoms, and pain oftentimes do not manifest themselves until days – or even weeks – after sustaining the initial injury.
It is important to seek follow-up medical treatment at a hospital or urgent care facility as soon as possible after the accident. Failing to do so sends up a red flag to insurance adjusters when it comes time to review your and bills.
Mistake #4 – Not Following the Emergency Room Doctor's Treatment Recommendations
Whenever an injured plaintiff is discharged from the hospital emergency room or urgent care facility, the physician-in-charge will usually make some recommendation for follow-up care or future treatment. These recommendations usually include following up with a primary care physician or specialist for subsequent treatment and/or beginning a treatment or physical therapy regimen at another medical facility.
It is important to follow through with these recommendations – and to do so in a timely manner – because failing to do so can have a significant negative impact on your personal injury case. Significant lapses in treatment, or failing to treat, make it seem as though you were not injured to the extent you may be claiming, that you did not sustain any permanent injuries, and/or that you are not taking your medical treatment or recovery seriously.
Insurance adjusters and defense attorneys will review an injured plaintiff's medical records very thoroughly, and gaps and inconsistencies in treatment will come to light during the discovery phase of any litigation. Missed medical or physical therapy appointments – or late arrivals to those appointments – are also red flags for insurance adjusters.
Mistake #5 – Accepting an Insurance Company's Initial Settlement Offer
In many cases, after the injured plaintiff completes all medical treatment and all medical records and bills have been submitted, the insurance company will place an initial settlement offer on the table. This initial offer is typically a starting point in the negotiating process and is oftentimes very low. A New Port Richey personal injury attorney will be able to negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf and may be able to help you to obtain a better settlement offer.
Mistake #6 – Engaging in Heavy-duty Lifting or Strenuous Work Post-accident
While you are undergoing treatment, you should avoid heavy lifting and other strenuous physical activities as much as possible. In many cases, personal injury plaintiffs are required to lift and do other strenuous activities for work. In those cases, it is best to request light-duty work (or time off from work, if possible) while treating for your injuries and thereafter. It is also helpful for injured plaintiffs to make clear that despite their injuries, they had no other choice but to work – and that they had to “work through” the pain and discomfort that was caused by the accident.
Mistake #7 – Trying to “Go It Alone”
Many times, personal injury plaintiffs are tempted to “go it alone” and not seek legal representation in a case. It is important to note that most personal injury attorneys do not charge an hourly fee or retainer. Rather, they charge a and do not collect legal fees or expenses unless you receive a settlement or favorable jury verdict.
An experienced New Port Richey personal injury lawyer will be able to recommend further treatment options, obtain treating records and bills from medical facilities, submit a settlement demand to the insurance company, negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf, file a lawsuit, litigate a case, and take your case to trial, if necessary.
Contact a New Port Richey Personal Injury Lawyer Today to Schedule a Free Consultation
By avoiding the mistakes outlined above, you will be on the right track to maximizing the settlement value of your personal injury case. To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with a New Port Richey personal injury lawyer, please call us today or online.
Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA 5435 Main Street New Port Richey, FL 34652 (727) 477-9660