4 Biggest Mistakes That Could Hurt Your Personal Injury Claim
Recovering for personal injuries from an accident in New Jersey is often a complicated process that takes time and involves investigation, negotiation, and even litigation. Understandably, innocent injury victims mistakenly believe the responsible party’s insurer will pay their damage. However, an average individual doesn’t have the knowledge or persistence to battle and insurance company and win. Many victims after the fact wish they did things differently to help their claim.
Seeking Immediate Medical Care
Victims typically make the mistake of not seeking immediate medical treatment after any accident. It’s common to hear:
- They thought they could ride out the injury
- They had no insurance or a hefty deductible
- They felt better and decided not to see the doctor
Insurers whose clients are at-fault for an injury-causing accident try to minimize your claim’s value. Failing to seek immediate medical treatment or failing to follow a recommended treatment plan exactly makes it appear you weren’t injured – or at least not as badly as you claimed. Insurance companies use this tactic to portray you as someone either faking injury or trying to milk the claim for money.
Notifying Law Enforcement and Documenting Evidence at the Scene
New Jersey Statutes section 39:4-130 require drivers involved in a car accident to report it to the local police department, nearest county police office, or New Jersey State Police by the quickest communication means available if:
- The crash caused injury or death
- Vehicle or property damage in an apparent amount of $500 or more
Generally, that means immediately reporting at the scene via cell phone. However, one mistake victims make is not notifying law enforcement because they believe there was no injury, or a simple fender bender occurred. Police reports and investigation provide valuable documentation not only about the accident scene or physical evidence, but also identify witnesses who can settle disputes about details or who was at fault.
Victims also make the mistake of failing to take photos of the scene, take down license and insurance information from the other driver(s), take down the responding officers’ information, and get contact information of witnesses on their own.
Declining to Provide Recorded Statements and a Medical Authorization
Victims mistakenly think insurance companies are compassionate and will be fair after an accident – a dangerous assumption insurers use to their advantage. Adjustors often call “seeking more information” and ask them for permission to record the statement. Companies will twist and mischaracterize your words to challenge fault, cast doubt on injuries, and devalue your claim. Never provide recorded statements or sign anything – if you hire an attorney, they can deal with insurers for you.
Seeking Legal Representation Immediately
Victims commonly underestimate the time and effort needed to secure a fair settlement through complex insurance and legal mazes. Going it alone often results in lowball settlements. The right attorney can assist you with these processes and protect your best interests. They should educate you, communicate, explain winning strategies, negotiate, prosecute if necessary, and secure the best outcome. Look for an attorney who:
- Experience in personal injury
- Has enough time and resources to give your case proper attention
- Will meet with you
- Answers your questions
- Has trial experience
Contact a Lawyer Today
Accident victims are often confused, overwhelmed, traumatized, and vulnerable after being injured. In this situation, mistakes that devalue your claims are understandably made quite easily without help. To protect your rights and fight for your recovery, it’s important you get help from the experienced New Jersey personal injury attorneys at Sarofiem & Antoun LLC. We have spent years dealing with difficult insurers, handling complex cases where fault is disputed, and going to trial when needed to secure maximum possible recovery for our clients. Contact us 24/7 at (201) 792-3333 to schedule your free initial consultation. Contact us today to learn more and get started on the road to recovery.