If you are facing a personal injury case in Virginia, it’s important to do your homework on each and every step, as well as hire experienced VA personal injury attorneys, to keep mistakes at bay. Even the simplest mistakes, such as missed deadlines or talking too much to the wrong people, can hurt your chances of securing a favorable outcome.
Here are nine mistakes to avoid in a personal injury case in Virginia.
1. Handling Your Own Case
First and foremost, it’s unwise to handle your own personal injury case. The average person does not have the legal knowledge, negotiation skills or experience in this branch of the law to successfully attain a favorable settlement. A personal injury attorney can guide you through your case step by step, protecting your rights and eliminating the chance of your claim being thrown out because of missed deadlines and procedural missteps. Take this time to heal and get better. Let your lawyer take over the details.
2. Delaying Medical Treatment
Whether you have been hurt in a motor vehicle collision, have been bitten by a dog, or have slipped on someone else’s property, it’s important to seek medical attention right away so your injuries can be documented. You may assume you are OK, even when little to no injury is present at the moment. However, it’s very common for injuries to manifest themselves the next day in the form of bruising, whiplash, severe headaches, memory loss, etc.
3. Failing to Follow Your Doctor’s Orders
Just because you saw your doctor or visited the ER after the initial incident doesn’t mean you can stop treatment or be careless about keeping records. It’s imperative that you follow your doctor’s orders in regards to immediate treatment, as well as ongoing prescriptions and rehab. Keep all receipts and document all visits.
4. Being Dishonest With Your Medical History
Providing an inaccurate medical history is something that can come back to haunt you later. Always be up front with your doctor and lawyer when it comes to pre-existing conditions or disabilities that could have been worsened by the incident. If you are less than honest, the defendant can use this against you in court, meaning you won’t get the compensation you deserve.
5. Failing to Gather Evidence
Don’t assume the police will document the scene thoroughly and properly. After a car collision, fall or other injury, if you are able, take matters into your own hands and document the scene with photographs and quick notes. Once the moment has passed and evidence is gone, you will be grateful you have photographic evidence that means so much more in court than he-said-she-said.
6. Choosing a Lawyer Too Quickly
Choosing an attorney isn’t something that should be done in haste. Take some time to research your options and choose one that will be best for your situation. Look for a law firm that has experience in your type of personal injury claim, many years in the business, and a team you feel comfortable working with.
7. Filing After the Statute of Limitations
Personal injury cases in Virginia and indeed most other states come with a statute of limitations, typically two years from the injury date. With grave injuries, it’s not uncommon to spend months in the hospital or in rehab, nursing yourself or your loved one back to health. During this time, filing a personal injury claim may not be on your list of priorities. However, you don’t want to miss your window of opportunity, because once the two-year mark has been reached, you have no recourse to file.
Put your trust in a personal injury law firm in Southwest Virginia to handle all the details for you so you don’t miss the deadline.
8. Telling Your Story on Social Media
This is the worst thing you can do. Never go on social media to post pictures, blame someone else, ask for advice or otherwise discuss your claim. The only people with whom you should be discussing the details of your case is with your legal team. You may think you’re posting something that’s fairly innocent, when in fact you could be posting information that the other party can use against you later. Make no mistake: they are watching.
9. Taking the First Offer You Get
The insurance company’s way of doing business is to give you as little money as possible. To that end, you can expect their first offer to be very low. They are hoping you will be grateful for any amount and take it. However, you know better! And so does your personal injury attorney in Roanoke.
Don’t take that initial lowball offer. Allow your lawyers to do their jobs and negotiate back and forth until a favorable settlement has been reached. Prematurely accepting an offer may result in you leaving thousands of dollars on the table that should be going to you and your family.
Contact Altizer Law
Bettina C. Altizer and her team at Altizer Law can help you avoid the above nine mistakes. Contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation at 540-345-2000.