14 Mistakes that Can Destroy Your Personal Injury Claim
This is a sneak peek from the title chapter of Senior Partner Bradley Dworkin’s book 14 Mistakes that Can Destroy Your Personal Injury Claim. To receive the complete book with pertinent and extensive information regarding personal injury cases and it’s process please contact our law firm for more information. The book is free!
Listed below are the top 14 ways to maximize your personal injury settlement.
- Do – Secure any witness statements immediately at the scene of the injury. Be sure to get the person’s name, contact information, and a detailed description of what that person saw.
- Do – Secure medical attention immediately. If you are injured, you should seek medical attention as quickly as possible. The longer you wait, the less likely an insurance company will be willing to pay full value on your claim.
- Do – Be clear and honest with your medical provider regarding the full extent of your injuries. When the insurance company is assessing your claim, the agents will thoroughly read your medical records. This is why it is very important that you clearly and thoroughly explain exactly what is hurting you. Stay away from generalized terms such as “my back hurts.” Instead, state the part of your back and give a description of the pain. Is it sharp, throbbing, a dull ache? The more information you give your medical provider, the better they will be able to treat and document your injuries.
- Do – Notify the proper authorities immediately. It is imperative that you call the police immediately after being involved in a collision. Once you do contact the police, be sure that you give a clear account of what happened and then get the report information from the responding officer. If you are injured on someone’s property, be sure to alert the owner of the property or an employee of the owner immediately.
- Do – Exchange insurance information with the at-fault party. Illinois law requires that every driver carry auto-insurance verification in their vehicle. After you’ve been in a collision, move your vehicles to a safe area and then ask the at-fault party to provide you with their insurance information and their driver’s license. Be sure to copy the insurance company, the policy number, the effective date, the driver’s address and full name, and the at-fault driver’s license plate number.
- Do – Take photographs of the vehicles involved in the collision. Documenting the damage done to all the vehicles involved is important for showing how your injuries were incurred.
- Do – Take photographs of the scene of the incident. Taking photographs of the scene will help bring the collision into perspective and preserve the scene as it was when your injury occurred.
- Don’t – Speak with the at-fault insurance company before speaking with an attorney. Insurance companies often request recorded statements which can be used against you to stop or delay payment. Even the best attorney cannot undo the damage done by giving a recorded statement to the at-fault insurance company so it is imperative that you seek legal advice as soon as possible following your injury.
- Do – Document your injuries and the recovery process by taking photographs of any bodily injuries at regular intervals throughout your recovery.
- Do – Document any time taken off of work. You are entitled to compensation for any lost wages for time missed at work due to attending medical appointments or because your injuries restrict your ability to perform your job duties.
- Do – Document all pain and suffering and loss of a normal life. Whenever you are injured, those injuries effect every aspect of your life. Illinois law allows compensation for this disruption. Keep track of your inability to sleep, perform your favorite activities, and complete chores around your home.
- Do – Alert your insurance company that you were in a collision, even if it was not your fault. Some insurance policies have notice requirements which can limit your ability to recover under both underinsured motorist coverage and uninsured motorist coverage if they are not notified in a timely manner.
- Don’t – Accept a quick settlement immediately following your injury. Insurance companies notoriously try to offer quick settlements following an injury before the full extent of your damages are known. Never accept a check from the insurance company prior to you fully recovering from your injuries and returning to work. If you do accept a quick settlement, you can never go back for more money even if your injuries require additional medical treatment.
- Do – Hire competent attorney representation. As I hope you have realized by reading this book, the legal field is a complex system with many moving parts. The insurance industry has a whole team of adjusters, investigators, and attorneys, whose sole job is to payout injured parties the least amount of money possible. By seeking legal advice, you can greatly even the playing field between yourself and the insurance company.