If you have ever been injured in an auto accident, then you are undoubtedly familiar with the key decisions you face immediately after the accident. These decisions often include choosing the appropriate course of medical care, negotiating with insurance carriers, and determining whether to hire a personal injury lawyer. Importantly, you will want to ensure that you are fully compensated for your injury. To do so, you will want to avoid three key mistakes.
First, injured individuals sometimes believe that they will save money if they handle their injury claim on their own. However, statistics have shown that, despite the appeal of this logic, a self-represented individual’s settlement may be lower than what they are fully entitled to. The Insurance Research Council—an organization that conducts research on behalf of insurance carriers—has reported that injured individuals who are represented by a lawyer may receive up to 3.5 times more compensation in a settlement. In addition, an injured victim who is represented by a lawyer will avoid the hassle of having to negotiate their claim with the insurance company.
Second, injured victims often make the mistake of letting critical evidence disappear. Simply put, your claim depends heavily on obtaining reliable evidence. In the event of an auto accident, that evidence often begins disappearing within minutes or hours after the accident. You should, of course, do everything you can to gather evidence yourself. However, an experienced personal injury lawyer will also have full-time investigators who can ensure that critical evidence is obtained and preserved in the appropriate manner. Moreover, your attorney will contact key witnesses and obtain the necessary statements from them to help you preserve and argue your case.
Third, injured individuals sometimes fail to receive necessary medical treatment in a timely manner. Many accident victims know they have been injured, but for various legitimate reasons, will delay receiving medical treatment. Unfortunately, this can often result in real harm to the injured person’s claim. By failing to receive medical care in a timely manner, an insurance company may view the delay as a “treatment gap,” meaning they may view the injuries as being of a less serious nature, even when that is not accurate. As a result, the insurance carrier may attempt to settle your case for less compensation, even though you may be entitled to more.
As a final and related point, it is equally as important to document any medical care that you receive after an auto accident. As noted above, having evidence of your injury and the resulting treatment is a key part of ensuring that you are fully compensated by the insurance carrier. As we often tell people in East Texas, an experienced Tyler TX personal injury attorney can help document your claim and avoid all of these mistakes.
Thanks to our friends and contributors at Roberts & Roberts for their insight into auto accident cases.