If you hire an attorney, they will do the heavy lifting of investigating and building your case. However, there are several mistakes that victims often make that can sabotage their claim for compensation.
Do Not Make These Mistakes
Not calling the police. Not only are you required by law to do so if anyone was injured, but when the police file an accident report, that helps establish what happened and which party was at fault. Not having a police report means the defendant can attack your claim for lack of credibility.
Not documenting evidence and details at the scene of the accident. Assuming you are physically capable of doing so in the aftermath of the accident, you need to document or take pictures of any injuries sustained by you or others. In addition, take photos of property damage, road or weather conditions, and road hazards. It is also helpful to gather the contact information for any eyewitnesses to the accident, as their account of what happened may help you prove your case.
Not immediately seeking medical attention. This is crucial, and many people fail to do this because they “feel fine” minutes after the accident. However, it is essential to realize that your body is filled with adrenaline after an accident, so you may begin feeling pain later that day, even if you feel fine now. If you delay seeking medical attention, the defendant will use that to call into question the veracity or severity of your injuries or even express doubt that your injuries were caused by this accident.
Admitting to the insurance company that you may have been partially responsible for the accident. Not only could this hurt the value of your claim, but it may turn out that you were not at fault at all. At Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman, P.C., we suggest you consult with a car accident lawyer before speaking with the insurance company.
Stopping medical treatment before you have been advised to do so by a medical professional. You may think you are better, or your physical therapy may be burdensome or inconvenient. But if you stop medical treatment before you are healed, the defendant will make the argument that you are no longer injured, which may limit the amount of your financial compensation.
Publishing information that may harm your claim on social media. This includes discussing your accident, your injuries, or the recovery process. It also includes posting updates, check-ins, pictures, or videos that may contradict what you are claiming about the severity of your injuries.
For example, you may be upset in the hours or days following the accident and may feel compelled to post details. One seemingly innocent word or phrase can easily be misconstrued. Another example is that you post an update that mentions feeling great three days after the accident. This might also contradict the alleged severity of your injuries.
Lastly, some victims will post pictures or videos–or be tagged in them– that show them out and about engaging in physical activities. If you claim that you can barely walk due to your neck and spine injuries, yet you post a video of you dancing with friends, you can rest assured that the defendant will attempt to use that against you.
Acting or behaving in ways that are contrary to what you are claiming. The more severe your injuries are, the more your case is potentially worth. It is also more likely the defendant will hire a private investigator to follow you. If you are frequently seen working out at the gym or going out with your friends, you can understand how quickly that can diminish your credibility.
Accepting the first settlement offer that is proposed. Our car accident attorneys at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman, P.C. fully understand how tempting it can be to accept any offer and pocket some cash immediately, especially when your medical bills are piling up. However, your claim is likely worth much more than what that offer represents. If you accept this lowball offer, then you may be costing yourself and your family hundreds of thousands– or even millions– of dollars. An experienced New York car accident lawyer can help you determine what is a fair settlement.
Consult with an Experienced Attorney
If you are injured in an accident, it is important that you take the proper steps to ensure that you achieve justice and fair financial compensation. Since 1975, our personal injury attorneys at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman, P.C. have been standing up for our injured clients, and we have recovered millions of dollars on their behalf. We are big enough to do it all and small enough to care.
If you have questions about how to avoid sabotaging your claim for compensation, call us today to book a free case review. Our clients never receive a bill from us unless they win their case.