After a personal injury, you may need to seek fair compensation for your injuries in a personal injury claim or lawsuit. With over 35 years of combined legal experience, our family of lawyers knows how complicated personal injury cases can be. For those that are unfamiliar with the complex laws surrounding personal injury compensation, it is easy to inadvertently do or say something that can jeopardize a fair and adequate settlement. The best way to be sure to get fair compensation for a personal injury claim is to speak to a skilled personal injury attorney today. Here are five common mistakes to avoid in a personal injury case.
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What Insurance Companies Don't Want You to Know
#1 │Your Every Move Could be Watched
The U.S. insurance industry nets over $1 trillion dollars per year, yet they go to extreme lengths to avoid making large payouts to injured victims. When facing the prospect of a large settlement or verdict, they will spare no expense to minimize the risk. This often means watching every single thing you do. This often includes actions like:
- Tracking and watching you as you come and go from your home
- Looking over fences or into windows
- Tracking and monitoring online activity (including social media)
- Asking your employer or co-worker questions
While this can see, extreme and startling, you need to know that you will be investigated at some point during the personal injury claims process. Typically, this will not happen on a daily basis – but it only takes one misconstrued thing to harm your claim. It’s best to act as if you are being surveilled at all times.
#2 │ Use Caution on Social Media
If you belong to a public social networking account (such as Facebook, instagram, Twitter, YouTube, etc.) we strongly recommend that you close it until your case is completely over.
However, we do not recommend that you delete anything from your account, as that can be viewed as an attempt to hide evidence.
If you choose not to close your accounts, we warn you to use extreme caution. Whatever you write or post, or have written or posted, may be obtained by a defense attorney or insurance company to be used against you.
It is now standard practice for an opposing party to run computer searches and investigations to obtain information regarding your personal life. They will try and obtain it without your knowledge or permission. Even if you have privacy settings, a subpoena can be issued to obtain this information. If you have a public social networking account, you should immediately verify all of your settings are on private or the highest security setting possible. Even with the highest privacy setting, you should only write or post items that cannot be used to hurt you. These sites are public and the law is unclear to what extent privacy laws apply. If you decide to keep you public social networking accounts open, following are specific
- DON’T allow anyone to “friend” you or “follow” you on a website like Facebook unless you are absolutely sure that you know that person.
- DON’T post any photographs or videos of yourself or enable others to tag you in photographs.
- DON’T share or disclose any personal information that would embarrass you is discovered by a defense Attorney.
- DON’T send emails or texts regarding your personal injury case to anyone except your lawyers.
- DON’T participate in conversations on blogs, chat rooms or message boards.
Defense attorneys, investigators, and insurance companies may exaggerate information found on these sites, you think as harmless, to make you look dishonest.
Asking you to limit your social networking is a great inconvenience but, but remember that your case is very important. You cannot be fully protected unless you follow the above warnings and instructions
#3 │ Discussing Your Case With Others
A personal injury is a life changing event, so it only makes sense to want to discuss it with others. However, it is vital to avoid this temptation. You should only discuss your case with your personal injury attorney. You and your attorney enjoy Attorney-Client privilege, designed to protect the confidentiality of the things that you say to your lawyer. Others may be called to testify about their conversations with you. Also remember that strangers asking about your case may be acting on behalf of an insurance company. The best policy is to simply say nothing about your case, unless it’s between you and your lawyer.
#4 │ Giving Up Your Rights
When dealing with a personal injury claim, remember that anything you sign could have a significant legal effect. For example, you may be asked to sign a settlement and release at various times throughout you personal injury claim. However, you should be aware that doing so could mean that you are giving up your valuable right to pursue a lawsuit in the future after signing this. Before you sign anything, you should always consult with a personal injury lawyer so that you understand the full impact of the document.
#5 │ Not Listening to Your Doctor
Staying vigilant with your recommended treatment is vitally important in a personal injury case. Insurance companies will seize any opportunity to blame your inaction or inattention to treatment as a reason to argue against your right to fair and full settlement. If your doctor recommends something – no matter how inconvenient or difficult – you need to follow through. This includes things such as:
- Attending all follow-up appointments.
- Making appointments and following up with any referred specialists
- Faithfully completing any prescribed course of treatment, including any physical therapy or mental health treatment.
- Taking all required prescriptions.
Dennis P. Sawan
Licensed in Ohio and Georgia
Christopher A. Sawan
Licensed in Ohio and Michigan
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