Attorneys often advise accident victims to stay off social media while the attorney actively pursues compensation. This is because insurance providers often look through social media posts to try to find some innocent comment or photo they can use to damage the credibility of your testimony and minimize the extent of your injuries.
However, staying off social media is just one of several steps an injury victim can take to help strengthen and protect his or her claim. Our experienced Cincinnati personal injury attorneys at O’Connor, Acciani & Levy are prepared to discuss these helpful steps and others during a free, no-obligation consultation.
Signing Things Without Talking To A Lawyer
During the injury claim process, it is important to keep in mind that insurance adjusters represent the financial interests of the insurance company. Insurance company representatives will try various tactics in an effort to deny claims or minimize their value to protect company profit margins.
Armed with that knowledge, be prepared for an insurance adjuster trying to talk you into signing paperwork without first consulting with a lawyer. These documents may include a release of liability in which you state that the other party was not to blame for the accident. Signing this release could completely derail your case.
Another document the insurance adjuster may try to get you to sign is a medical release, which legally allows that party obtain all of your private medical records, including ones that do not relate to your current accident.
We recommend that you check with your attorney before you sign anything.
While it may seem polite to apologize at the accident scene, doing so can cause your claim to be denied. Never admit fault for an accident. Even if you think you might have been responsible, you do not know all of the factors involved, such as if the other driver was impaired or distracted. Let the insurance companies and lawyers sort out these issues.
Concealing A Pre-Existing Injury
If you had a pre-existing injury from a chronic condition, work accident, car crash or other incident, you might be afraid that your claim will be denied. However, it is a mistake to try to hide a previous injury.
During the claim process, the insurance company will obtain medical records that already include evidence of your prior injury, so there is no reason to hide it. Additionally, you may still be able to collect on your claim if the accident aggravated your pre-existing injury or caused new symptoms.
Trying to conceal your pre-existing injury can also negatively impact your credibility. Let your personal injury lawyer know about your injury so he or she can strategically present this information.
Refusing Medical Treatment
You may be concerned about the cost of medical treatment or believe you are not injured, but, refusing medical treatment at the scene of the accident is a major mistake. Insurance adjusters will use this refusal to try to show that you were not really hurt if you later seek medical treatment.
Leaving The Scene
The moments after an accident can be very confusing. You may even be in shock, so it can be difficult to think clearly. However, one thing you should avoid doing is leaving the scene of the accident. Report the accident to the proper authorities immediately.
After calling 9-1-1 or your local authorities, stay at the scene to gather the necessary information, such as the at-fault party’s name, contact information and insurance details. Take pictures of any property damage and your injuries to document the scene, but only if you can do so without putting yourself in any danger. The accident scene may be quickly cleaned up, so try to preserve as much evidence as possible while you have the chance.
Although you may need the insurance settlement funds, accepting a quick offer out of desperation can prevent you from receiving the maximum compensation for the full value of your claim.
Pushing Through Your Injuries
You might find it difficult to follow your doctor’s orders to stay home from work to recover, especially when medical bills are mounting. You may even decide to claim that you are okay and try to push past the pain of your injuries. However, refusing medical treatment, not following your doctor’s orders and minimizing your injuries can negatively impact the value of your claim.
Not Speaking To A Lawyer
You will need guidance throughout the insurance claim process. Speak to one of our experienced lawyers at O’Connor, Acciani & Levy to protect your rights.