5 Common Car Accident Lawsuit Mistakes to Avoid
Car accident lawsuits involve an overwhelming amount of documentation and organization. You’ll also face insurance companies, defense lawyers, police officers, and possibly medical staff. With so much going on, there are many opportunities for you to make mistakes, like giving away information you shouldn’t have or forgetting to document an important part of your injury.
Each misstep could have an adverse effect on your case. It’s incredibly important to maintain constant communication with your personal injury lawyer throughout every step of the process. They will be your first line of defense against common insurance company tricks and other potential concerns. However, on your own, there are several measures you should take to ensure the case settles in your favor.
1. Don’t lie.
The consequences for this mistake can be disastrous if you are careless with the facts. It seems obvious: if you lie about the details of your case – especially the extent of your injuries or circumstances of the accident – you will lose credibility and your lawsuit could fail. Simply put: don’t lie, not to your lawyer, the police, your medical team, or anyone else.
More importantly, be extremely careful not to present misremembered “facts” as truth. Always take time to review the details of the accident before each hearing or discussion of your case. Revisit all documentation, such as pictures, hospital and police reports, and personal notes. Having these items top-of-mind will help you to remember the incident more clearly when giving testimony.
2. Watch your social media posts.
Over the course of a car accident investigation, defense lawyers and insurance adjusters will be investigating your social media accounts, like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more. They’re searching for ways to avoid taking full responsibility for the harms their client caused you. Be careful about posting pictures or updates that show you engaging in activities you shouldn’t be doing as a result of your injury (for example: if you have recurring back pain, don’t talk about what a great time you had on the rides at Michigan’s Adventure). Also refrain from posting anything that is considered a threat to the opposing party or confidential settlement negotiation details.
3. Attend all doctor’s appointments.
As we talked about above, insurance adjusters are on the look-out for any crack in your case, specifically ways to prove you are less injured than your claim states. The less harmed you are, the less compensation they have to pay. If the insurance company or defense attorney catches wind that you are skipping or constantly rescheduling doctor’s appointments, they will fight to prove you are uninjured due to your lack of interest in medical attention or simply your lack of medical documentation. If you are struggling with transportation or any other aspect of attending your appointments, tell your lawyer right away. They may have resources that can help you.
4. Take photos of everything.
Anytime you have a visible injury as a result of your accident (follow-up surgery, bruising, etc.), take as many well-lit photos from multiple angles as possible. Have a family member or medical staff member help you if you can’t take the picture yourself. If possible, also record video footage of your time following the accident that shows any difficulty or hardships you’ve encountered since. In addition to your injuries, make sure to take many pictures of the damage to your car; crash repair estimates are often not accurate and can fail to reflect the full extent of damage done to your vehicle.
5. Know the statute of limitations.
In Michigan, the statute of limitations for car accident injury claims is only 3 years. To be clear, missing this deadline prevents you from ever filing a lawsuit in the future, no matter how painful or troublesome your injuries become. If you are injured in an accident, do not wait to call a lawyer and begin your case. Rely on your attorney to maintain your car accident lawsuit timeline. The longer you wait, the less credible your injury claim appears in court. A sense of urgency is not optional.
Insurance adjusters have one main responsibility: find weak points in your case and exploit them in order to pay less. Unfortunately, they rely on these mistakes to maximize their own outcomes. Don’t let them fool you. The biggest mistake you could possibly make is not contacting a personal injury lawyer immediately following your accident.
Kenneth Hoopes is an attorney with Ladas Hoopes McNeill Law. He has been practicing in Muskegon for over 20 years, specializing in personal injury, Social Security disability, and other areas of law. His commitment to justice has led to several positive outcomes for his clients throughout West Michigan. When he’s not in the office or in court, Ken enjoys spending time with his wife and their two daughters.
You can get in touch with Ken by calling (231) 744-6218.