Car Accident Lawsuits – Ten Mistakes That Can Hurt Your Case. When you’re involved in an auto accident lawsuit, your day-to-day activities will be scrutinized by adjusters and defense attorneys looking for evidence that your injuries aren’t serious or life-altering enough to recover damages.
Car Accident Lawsuits
Here are ten common mistakes victims make that can hurt their car accident case.
1. Underestimating insurance companies:
Expect your car insurance company and the at-fault driver’s insurance company to conduct surveillance and hire investigators to take photos and videos of you at some point in your case. If you tried to accomplish a task, admit that you tried it. Most people will understand if you had a good day and tried to do something. But no one understands when a car accident victim denies something that is later captured on surveillance video.
2. Waiver of Your Rights:
DO NOT sign ANYTHING until you have checked with your motor vehicle accident attorney. Even seemingly innocent papers such as car damage releases (mini-tort) sometimes have fine print waiving future injury claims or allowing a liable insurance company to access your medical records and violate your private life. Always check with your car accident attorney.
3. Talk about your case: Car Accident
Adjusters, defense attorneys, and sometimes jurors may one day try to contact you. Do NOT discuss your case with ANYONE hired by the responsible driver or the insurance company. If an expert wants to ask you about your case, have them call your auto accident attorney.
4. Disclosure of Information on Facebook, Twitter, and Other Online Forums:
Defense attorneys and claims adjusters will investigate your MySpace, Facebook, and associated web pages, blogs, or Twitter accounts — even when set to “Private” — and look for things that might help them defend you. The purpose of this internet search is to attempt to show that you are not as hurt as you claim. So pay attention to posts and photos of your activities. Avoid posting new articles and remove any material that can be used to discredit you. An example is a victim of a truck accident who posted pictures of himself skiing on Facebook. Even if the activity occurred before the accident, the mere accusation of fraud by defense attorneys can have an effect on suspect jurors.
5. Missed Medical Appointments: Car Accident
Don’t miss doctor’s appointments. Not going to the doctor can be interpreted as a sign that you are not hurt or that you are not taking your case seriously. Listen to your doctors and follow their advice. It’s very important for you to show that you’re working hard to recover, and keeping appointments is an important part of that.
6. Elimination of important evidence of your injuries:
Save all pill bottles, casts, braces, prescriptions, and any other items from your doctors. These will be used to prove that you are truly hurt.
7. Forgetting to document your injuries: Car Accident
Whenever you have surgery or a visible injury, take pictures. Or contact your car accident lawyer and they will send a photographer to document your injuries before it’s too late. Videos are also great tools to show a jury or an insurance adjuster how difficult things were in the days and weeks following your injury or after surgery. Also, take photos of the damage to the car. Collision repair estimates are often misleading and do not reflect the total amount of damage to the vehicle.
8. License Renewal:
Defense attorneys and their investigators can easily access commercial driver’s license (CDL) information from the Secretary of State, as well as hunting and fishing license information from the Department of Natural Resources. If you have serious injuries that prevent you from operating a commercial vehicle and/or participating in outdoor activities, do not renew these licenses until you have spoken with your attorney first. Evidence showing that you renewed one of these licenses while recovering from your accident may convince a jury that your injuries are not as serious as stated.
9. Not telling your lawyer about job changes and moves:
After your car accident, anything related to changes in your job, duties, and salary is very important to discuss with your attorney. Tell your lawyer if you are moving, if you have been subject to other work restrictions, or if you have to miss more work because of your personal injuries. The more informed your lawyer is about how your injuries affect your work and life, the better they can work to get fair compensation for you.
The best way to avoid mistakes in a lawsuit is to maintain excellent communication with your auto accident attorney. There are so many confusing laws that can wreak havoc in a car accident case, even when people try to be truthful, honest, and do the right thing.
The best advice is the simplest: Call your motor vehicle accident attorney if you have a question, and certainly before you do anything that may materially impact your case.