13 Personal Injury Claim Mistakes Car Accident Victims Make

The purpose of this curated list of common personal injury claim mistakes is to alert you to them, giving your car accident injury claim the best chance of succeeding.

As well, feel welcome to send this page to family, friends, and colleagues as a preventive measure, in the event that they are ever involved in a car accident or another type of motor vehicle accident.

When it comes to dealing with insurance companies and car accident claims, these are serious business. Here are 13 mistakes to avoid when making a car accident injury claim. Of course, these mistakes apply to Car Accidents, as well as Motorcycle Accident, Bicycle Accident, truck accidents, and other motor vehicle accidents.

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1. Refusing immediate medical attention after the car accident

Refusing immediate medical attention after a car accident is a proverbial “red flag” to your insurance company. If you decline medical attention, your injuries may be viewed as not serious. If your injuries are not serious, you do not need to file an accident benefits claim. And you don’t need accident benefits.

As well, refusing immediate medical attention can be dangerous. Your doctor may find that you have a hairline fracture, a concussion, soft tissue damage, or other ailments that are not easy for an accident victim to self-diagnose. Plus, some injuries take days, weeks, or even months to manifest.

2. Not notifying the police of the accident

Immediately after an accident has happened, and you have made sure that if anyone needs immediate medical attention you call 9-1-1, and that anyone needing urgent care is not in danger.

The next thing that you must attend to is call the police and have them file a report of the motor vehicle accident. When a police report is not filed, your case will be open to interpretation. Stories change; memories can be faulty, especially under the stress of a car accident.

When a police report isn’t filed, the at-fault party tells their insurance company a different story from what really happened. Then, the at-fault driver’s insurance company could deny payment to you.

Worse, if you are later wrongfully found to be at-fault, either partially or fully responsible for the accident, then your own insurance company could raise your premiums. You can avoid all of these problems; insist that the police are called and they write a report.

3. Forgetting to take photos of the car accident scene
Photos and video are valuable evidence. Photos document the road conditions, skid marks, damage and injuries—and they are hard to dispute. Photos can reveal which driver was at-fault and which driver may have been negligent. Photos are proof that support your car accident benefits claim.
4. Neglecting to report the motor vehicle accident to your insurance company
Within 7 days of the date of the accident, you (or your personal injury lawyer) must report the car accident to your insurance company. If you do not report the accident, your insurance company may deny your claim altogether.
5. Failing to obtain a copy of the police report

The police report is a vital document to support your car accident claim. You and your personal injury lawyer are entitled to have a copy of the report. Once you have a copy of the report, reviewing the report carefully must be a priority for you. Are all the details of the car accident, correct?

If there is a mistake in the report, contact the investigating police officer. You may ask the police officer if s/he would be willing to make the correction. Do not wait days to ask the police officer for a correction because your chances of getting the report corrected diminish over time.

6. Failing to get follow up medical attention

Follow your doctor’s medical recommendations and take all reasonable steps to prevent any worsening of your injuries, if you sustained injuries. Remember to visit your family doctor regularly and keep him/her updated with your symptoms and new developments regarding your physical mental and psychological well-being.

Failing to follow up on medical attention can make your injuries worse, delay treatment as well as rehabilitation.

Insurance companies often posit that deteriorating injuries are due to accident victim inaction, in other words, blaming accident victims for their own worsening problems. Then, they use this as an excuse to reduce the amount of your accident benefits claim.

Car Accident
7. Do not discuss details of your injuries with an insurance adjuster

An insurance adjuster is a person who can deny or approve your car accident benefits claims. An insurance adjuster’s job to minimize your injuries in order to settle your claim for as little as possible, or to find a reason to deny your claim for accident benefits entirely.

Do not discuss details of your accident, your injuries or your employment. Say that you are unable to talk with them right now. Tell the adjuster that all information they require will be provided through your lawyer, and that they should not contact you directly by phone. If you do not have a personal injury lawyer yet, you can always send the adjuster your lawyer’s contact information later.

An insurance adjuster is not your friend; it may be wiser to let your personal injury lawyer speak with an insurance adjuster. Be very cautious when discussing your accident with anyone who is not your personal injury lawyer, and especially insurance adjusters.

8. Posting about your car accident on social media

There is a lot of wisdom to taking a break from social media until your accident claim is settled.

Social media posts are admissible in court (you yourself posted them) and insurance defence lawyers will use them in court—against you. Social media is considered public information. Insurance defence lawyers will use anything they find on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and so on, as proof that your injuries are not a bad as you claim. Or, at the very least, there will be inconsistencies.

The safer route is to never post or discuss anything about your car accident online. Further, refrain from posting pictures of yourself on the web and never speak of your daily activities, your injuries, your employment, personal life or vacations that you have been on.

If you file a claim for personal injuries, expect that the insurance companies involved will investigate you at some point. Seemingly innocent and unrelated photos or things that you say online can be used against you as evidence that your claim for personal injuries is a technique to defraud the insurance company.

9. Boasting or over-stating your injuries
It’s important to be consistent with what you know or don’t know about the car accident. Don’t open yourself up to credibility issues. Never exaggerate symptoms or physical limitations to anyone, including doctors, your lawyers, insurers or examiners. The insurance defense lawyers will scrutinize even the smallest discrepancy when you are giving testimony. Be truthful and consistent. Always.
10. Accepting early settlement offers without discussing it with a personal injury lawyer

To limit their financial exposure, insurance adjusters may offer to settle your accident injury claim before discovery or negotiations have been initiated. They may pressure you to sign, invoking artificial deadlines.

Injuries can take days, weeks, months and even years to fully manifest and document. If your injuries are worsening and have not plateaued, or been resolved, then it is not in your best interest to settle quickly. Only with a clear diagnosis or prognosis of your injuries will the amount of your future losses be known.

What amount of injury compensation is fair? How do you know if the amount offered is enough to cover your future losses? Don’t rely on the defending insurance company to answer those questions for you.

Seek advice from experienced personal injury lawyer before signing anything from an insurance company. It may be binding, meaning it cannot be changed later.

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11. Allowing the statute of limitations expire

In Ontario, you have 2 years from the date that the accident occurred to file a personal injury lawsuit. A Statement of Claim is a document completed by your personal injury lawyer and names the person, persons, or entities that the lawsuit is against as well as the amount of damages (compensation) you seek.

If you let the 2-year limitation period expire, you will probably not be able to obtain any compensation for personal injuries or damages sustained in the accident.

12. Giving in to the pressure tactics of an insurance company

To say that insurance companies are extremely difficult to deal with is an understatement. Their approach to accident benefit claims of “Delay, deny, discount” is well known. Insurance companies are focused on making money for their shareholders, not paying accident claimants fairly.

Further, they exploit seriously injured victims’ situations. All accident victims are physically, emotionally, and financially vulnerable after an accident. Insurance companies use pressure tactics to get you to accept a settlement that is less than fair. Instead, hire an experienced and talented personal injury lawyer and don’t give into the pressure tactics of an insurance company.

13. Trying to handle your case by yourself

Even if you have already made some of these mistakes listed above, your claim for compensation is not lost. It is very, very important that you contact the experienced personal injury lawyers at Verkhovets Law today.

Whether you have injuries sustained in a Car Accident, Motorcycle Accident, Bicycle Accident, or you have a Traumatic Brain Injury or a Spinal Cord Injury, we can help. We will fight for you to receive a fair settlement for you with compassion and dedication. Call or email Verkhovets Law personal injury lawyers today.

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