Avoiding The Most Common Mistakes In A Personal Injury Claim

Personal injury claims are unique for a number of reasons. To begin with, approximately 95% of all personal injury claims do not go to trial. Of the small percentage that actually make it to the inside of a courtroom, 90 percent of them end up in a loss. This means that your success in filing a personal injury claim is often tied to how well you do your homework and set yourself up for success in the beginning.

Unfortunately, a slew of mistakes and problems can crop up as you deal with life after your injury. If you know what to look for, though, you can avoid these missteps and achieve a positive result with your claim.

Common Mistake #1--Failure To Document

In the world of personal injury lawsuits, no detail is insignificant. You'll want to have a written record of every last detail regarding the circumstances of your injury. Some of the things you should note include:

  • Exact location
  • Time of day
  • Weather
  • Contact information of all parties involved
  • First responder information/badge numbers
  • Dates of any missed work/lost income
  • Damage to personal property

You should try to keep this information stored together as it comes in--meaning your documentation process should begin immediately after your injury. It's much easier to gather this information in real time as opposed to reviewing it all in your head after the fact.

The other thing to note regarding documentation is the power of photographs. With smartphones today, it's relatively simple to take and store photos on demand. Be sure to photograph the scene of the injury, any identifying marks on your body, and any details that you might otherwise forget. 

Common Mistake #2--Disregarding Doctor's Orders

When recovering from an injury, it's easy to get ahead of yourself. Once things start to feel like they're working properly, doctor's suggestions such as work limits and lifting capacities are easy to disregard. Also, even with insurance, the price of physical therapy and medication can act as a barrier to a proper healing process.

Unfortunately, when folks make this mistake, it's easy for the other party to claim that you've made your injury worse than it originally was by failing to comply with your doctor. Since your doctor's assessment will enter into the claim, everyone will know what you should have done. Make sure that you follow your prescription to the letter to avoid complications with your claim.

Common Mistake #3--Failure To Establish Witnesses

One of the most powerful tools that a person filing a personal injury claim has in their arsenal is witness testimony. In a trial setting, the words of witnesses can go a long way toward influencing a jury in your favor. Having a group of credible, willing witnesses makes the notion of going to trial much less appealing for a defendant in these cases.

However, your window for establishing contact with any potential witnesses is brief. Furthermore, since you were injured at the time, you might not have been in any shape to question the people in the area about whether they'd be willing to testify or not. That can make finding witnesses difficult.

Because of these factors, you'll want to make sure that you at least get phone numbers for everyone in the area as soon as you're in a state of mind to do so. If you were unable to do that, you might be able to pull contact information off of your police report. In a public place, employees can sometimes help as well. No matter how much effort it seems to take, finding your witnesses is always worth the trouble.

Personal injury claims aren't a fun process for anyone. They are, however, vital to protecting your rights. By avoiding these common mistakes, you'll make it significantly easier for a licensed attorney to help you achieve a positive result to end this difficult phase in your life. For more information, contact an experienced personal injury attorney