Big Mistakes That Could Cost You Money in Your Premises Liability Case
No one would choose to be injured in an accident at the pool, in a slip and fall accident at a store, or in any other accident caused by a business or property owner’s negligence. However, if you were the victim of one of these tragic accidents, you may have to file a claim for compensation for your expensive medical bills and the wages you were forced to lose while you were off work healing. This could be your first time pursuing a claim like this—common for most accident victims. Unfortunately, there are many ways that you could make a mistake, which can make it challenging to obtain the full amount that your claim is worth.
9 Mistakes You Want to Avoid to Maximize Your Premises Liability Claim
Just like with other aspects of life, some mistakes are more serious than others. You want to learn from the mistakes of other accident victims to not limit your attorney’s ability to build a strong case for you and negotiate a fair settlement. Here are common errors you want to avoid:
- Not filing an accident claim. If you injured yourself in an accident at a business, office building, hospital, or other property, you do not want to forget to file an accident report as soon as possible. Why is this important? It documents the fact that an accident occurred. This is crucial, even if you do not believe you were injured because the symptoms of some injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries, spinal injuries, and neck and back injuries, may take days or weeks to become apparent. If you do not file an accident report, you are giving the owner’s insurance company ammunition to argue that no accident ever occurred or that it did not cause any injuries.
- Delaying obtaining medical care. Like filing an accident report, seeing a doctor soon after an accident is critical to your claim—even if you do not believe you were injured. Insurance adjusters love to argue that a victim’s injuries were caused by an incident other than the accident at the insured’s property or that the injuries were not that serious when a victim waits weeks or longer to see a doctor. Do not give them this argument in your case.
- Not preserving evidence. You need to start collecting evidence to prove your case right away after you are injured. Pictures, witness statements, accident reports, medical records, and pay stubs are a few of the types of evidence you will want to collect. If you fail to preserve evidence from the start of your claim, you may lose it.
- Not following up on medical care. Many accident victims do not follow-up with the tests and medical treatment that their doctor recommends. In the investigation of a claim, the insurance adjuster will obtain the victim’s medical records and discover this. Unfortunately, this can make it appear that the injuries were not that serious. If the injuries worsened due to the lack of treatment, the negligent party could argue that some of the fault is the accident victim’s. Be certain to follow your doctor’s advice on treating your injuries and keep a detailed record of the treatments you are receiving and the medications you are taking.
- Giving a recorded statement. You never want to agree to give a recorded statement. Insurance adjusters are trained to get victims to inadvertently say things that hurt their case or can be twisted to mean something the victim did not intend. These statements can be used against you in settlement negotiations and at court hearings, so do not give the insurance company this ammunition to fight your case.
- Signing documents without an attorney review. You should always have an attorney review a medical release, release settling your claim, or any other legal document associated with your case before signing it. Otherwise, you could be signing away your important legal rights—including the right to pursue your claim for compensation.
- Using social media. You should not discuss your accident or your injuries on social media and should use caution posting anything on these sites. The insurance adjuster or his attorney will most likely search your social media sites at some point before your case is resolved. If they discover you engaging in activities you claim you are too hurt to do or discussing the accident in ways that are harmful to your case, they will use this against you to deny or reduce your claim.
- Exaggerating your injuries. Exaggerating the extent of your injuries will almost always hurt your case. When the medical evidence does not support your claim or you are discovered doing inconsistent activities, your credibility and the value of your claim will be significantly reduced.
- Not hiring an attorney. Many accident victims make the mistake of trying to settle their claims on their own or waiting too long to hire an attorney. Retaining a lawyer soon after your accident can help him to more effectively build your case before evidence is lost or destroyed. In addition, he can take over the communications with the insurance adjuster and advise you on the steps to take to make your case the strongest it can be.
What Should You Do If You Made One of These Mistakes?
If you already made one of these mistakes, remember you are not alone in doing this, and most errors are not fatal to your claim for compensation. An experienced attorney who has handled a lot of premises liability cases will have dealt with many inadvertent mistakes made by accident victims and will have successfully settled their claims. If a family member or you were injured in one of these accidents, call Brauns Law, PC today at 877-401-6689 today to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.