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5 of the Biggest Mistakes People Make in Personal Injury Cases

When you're dealing with a personal injury case, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and make mistakes that could hurt your chances of getting the compensation you deserve. But if you have a solid approach, you can get the outcome you deserve. 

  • Settling Too Quickly

One of the most common mistakes is jumping at the first settlement offer. It’s understandable – you’re hurt, bills are piling up, and you just want it to be over. But the first offer is almost always a lowball, designed to tempt you into settling before you fully understand the extent of your injuries and other losses. 

In many cases, the first offer will be worth only 15 to 25 percent of the actual value of the case. That means if an insurance company is quickly offering to settle for $5,000, it could be worth anywhere from $20,000 to $30,000 (or more).

Patience here is crucial. Give yourself time to fully assess the situation, and don’t be afraid to negotiate or wait for a better offer. Consulting with a personal injury lawyer can give you a clearer picture of what a fair settlement should look like based on your specific circumstances.

  • Underestimating Your Injuries

In the aftermath of an accident, some injuries may not present symptoms immediately. If you aren’t aware of this, you might assume you’re fine. But this can be extremely problematic in the long run.

“Adrenaline tells your body how to reallocate resources, causing the physical responses, one of which includes the release of endorphins, neurotransmitters that act as your body’s natural painkillers,” chiropractor Dr. Jason Ablett explains. “With endorphin release, your after-accident pain may be partially or completely masked. It may take days, in fact, for the full extent of pain from your injuries to reveal itself.” 

It's critical not to downplay how you’re feeling. Fully document what’s happening and seek medical attention for your injuries, even those that initially seem minor. The long-term effects of seemingly “minor” injuries can lead to chronic conditions or complications that could significantly impact your life and finances down the line.

  • Not Getting Legal Help

The most critical mistake you can make is trying to navigate a personal injury claim without legal assistance. In other words, thinking you can handle this on your own. 

Personal injury law is complex, and attempting to go against seasoned insurance lawyers alone can put you at a significant disadvantage. 

“Plaintiffs without representation are susceptible to being misled by insurance companies who are looking for a quick and easy settlement,” attorney John Price explains. “Regardless of the extent of your injuries, it is a wise move to hire a personal injury attorney. And if your case winds up in court, the way a lawyer presents your claim could make all the difference.”

The good news is that almost all personal injury attorneys operate on a contingency-fee basis, which means you only pay for their services if they successfully recover a settlement for you. This means you don’t have to fork over a ton of money upfront (which is obviously a concern for many people).

  • Poor Documentation

Speaking of documentation, another pitfall is not thoroughly documenting everything related to your injury and case. This includes medical records, witness statements, photos of the accident scene, and records of any expenses incurred due to your injury. 

Proper documentation is the backbone of your personal injury claim, providing tangible evidence to support your case. Keep everything organized and readily accessible. It’s better to collect too much information than not have critical evidence that’s needed to pursue a fair claim.

  • Oversharing on Social Media

In today’s world, sharing life updates on social media is just kind of second nature. But when it comes to personal injury cases, oversharing can backfire in some pretty big ways. 

Without you realizing it, insurance companies and defense attorneys might comb through your social media profiles for evidence to undermine your claim. (For example, posting photos of you working out at your gym could be used to argue that your injuries aren’t as severe as you claim.) When in doubt, keep your case details and recovery progress off social media. Your attorney should be the only one you’re talking to outside your immediate family.

Make Smart Choices

It’s not a surprise that people frequently make costly mistakes in personal injury cases. (After all, it’s not like this is something you have a lot of practice with.) However, if you’re aware of what these mistakes are beforehand, you can improve your decision-making and set yourself up for better results. 

Let this article serve as a primer, but always consult with an attorney for situation-specific advice!