Most of us will be lucky enough in our lives to avoid a major accident or mistake that causes serious personal injury. However, each of us also likely knows of a family member or friend that had their life turned upside down by an injury-related misfortune.
Whether it be a car accident, slip and fall, medical malpractice, or a dog bite, there will be one or more moments following the incident that, if not handled properly, will further jeopardize a person’s health and/or chance for financial compensation.
Boulton Law Group has been helping Indiana’s injured navigate their post-accident life for more than 20 years. In most instances, victims call us before a mistake is made, however, we sometimes speak to people who have tried to go it alone. We typically see these people make the same accident claim mistakes time and time again.
To help you avoid any risk to your personal injury claim, we have listed the six biggest mistakes made by Indiana’s accident victims.
1) Sign a piece of paper!
Often, the insurance company will ask accident victims to sign various documents claiming they need them to advance your case. In most cases, this is not necessarily true.
We also know that adjusters will sometimes mail or email documents immediately following the accident/incident, perhaps in an attempt to catch the accident victim at a time when they are the most desperate or confused about the next steps.
If you are ever asked by an insurance company, or another party, to sign anything related to your accident/incident, it is strongly recommended that you first seek a free legal consultation with an Indiana personal injury lawyer. An experienced attorney will be able to quickly determine whether or not the documents are safe for you to sign.
Types of documents you should never sign before speaking with an attorney include but are not limited to:
- Medical records release – A medical authorization is used by insurance companies to dig into your medical history. In addition to records related to your accident, an authorization may also allow them to order prior records not related to the incident. This is done in an attempt to equate your current pain with any pre-existing conditions.
- Release of future claims – This type of release will bar you from any future recovery, even if you later find that your symptoms have worsened.
- Documents that discuss or reference liability – If you are asked to sign anything that discusses how the accident/incident happened, you should politely refuse and immediately consult with an injury lawyer.
And while some of the documents you receive after an accident may appear harmless, the fine print and legalese they contain may prove otherwise. We have witnessed accident victims give away any chance at future compensation because they signed a piece of paper without proper legal guidance in their corner.
Last, insurance companies may mail a check to your home. You should always consult with an attorney anytime a check is received. Signing and depositing a check from the insurance company could mean you have unknowingly settled your case and cannot pursue any future claims for damages.
2) Agree to a recorded statement.
In addition to sending paperwork for your signature, insurance adjusters will often ask you to agree to a recorded statement. In this recording, they will ask you a series of questions about your accident. The questions may seem innocent, but they are not designed to help you. In fact, recorded statements are used by insurance companies to collect evidence against you! For this reason, you should never consent to a recorded statement unless your attorney is present or they give you permission to do so.
The truth is, insurance companies spend millions on marketing to perfect “friendly” and lighthearted messages designed to make you believe they are on your side. In reality, they are powerful organizations stocked with expertly trained adjusters and high-priced lawyers whose only mission is to minimize and prevent payouts on behalf of their employer.
3) Minimize your pain and injuries.
Immediately following an accident it is not uncommon for a person’s body to mask symptoms of pain with adrenaline. This leaves some victims to believe they are not seriously injured. Ultimately, any accident, large or small, has the potential to cause injuries that do not present immediately or until days later.
Boulton Law Group recommends that accident victims always seek immediate care and examination by a doctor to reduce the chance of any future complications. By seeking an initial medical evaluation, you not only help to ensure your future health isn’t compromised, but it also provides you with proper documentation should you need to pursue a personal injury claim.
Equally important, always be sure to always tell your attorney about any new developments with your health, medical treatment, new injury symptoms, medical conditions, and/or psychological problems you are experiencing.
4) Allow evidence to disappear!
Evidence is likely the last thing on an accident victim’s mind, especially if they have suffered a traumatic injury. A person’s focus should always be on their health, however, securing proper evidence following a car accident or other incident can greatly help any future claim or lawsuit.
An experienced legal team will know what evidence is important and understand the necessary steps they must take to legally collect it.
For example, Boulton law Group has retrieved a wide variety of evidence, such as traffic camera footage, photos of skid marks from an accident scene, home-owner and/or business surveillance, etc. In most instances, evidence such as this is only available for a short period of time after an accident. If contacted in time, an attorney can help to make sure that it does not disappear.
5) Ignore your doctor’s advice.
Missing a doctor’s appointment or not following prescribed therapy or exercises is not only risking your health, but it is also a surefire way to draw the attention of the insurance company. When an accident victim ignores or dismisses their doctor’s advice, they greatly risk having their personal injury claim devalued or dismissed outright.
Ultimately, your case will only be as strong as your documented medical treatment and the attorney you choose to hire who can present it on your behalf.
6) Talk about your accident or injury on social media.
Searching the social media accounts of accident victims is a common practice among insurance adjusters. They are looking for statements, pictures, and/or video to dispute or contradict your injury claims.
In today’s world, sharing the details of your accident on Facebook may seem innocent, however, if you are pursuing a personal injury claim, it is important to realize social media accounts are credible pieces of evidence that can be used against you.
It is strongly suggested that victims avoid posting ANY details about their accident and injury as well as ensure their account settings are set to private throughout the duration of their claim.
Indianapolis Personal Injury Lawyers — Zero Fee Guarantee
Attorney Matt Boulton founded the Boulton Law Group with a single purpose: To give Indiana accident victims access to award-winning legal representation combined with first-class customer service. Quite simply, we believe everyone deserves reputable legal service when going against a large insurance company, and it should always come with the highest level of client service.
Boulton Law Group offers all Indiana accident victims a Zero Fee Guarantee. This means you will never be charged for legal advice and the only way you owe the firm money is if we make a recovery on your behalf.
To speak with attorney Boulton about your potential claim, call 317-350-2680. If you prefer to write to us with the details of your story, you can use our confidential contact form. We look forward to going to work for you!
Attorney Matt Boulton is an award-winning personal injury attorney with more than 20 years of experience helping seriously injured people throughout Indiana reclaim what was taken from them. His firm was created for for the client who expects exceptional service and passionate, successful legal representation.