If you’ve been injured in an accident, you may be wondering if you’re entitled to compensation – especially if the accident wasn’t your fault. But before you start the process of filing a personal injury claim, here are some potential pitfalls to avoid.
1. Not getting immediate medical attention. Even if you don’t need emergency treatment and you don’t think the injuries you’ve suffered are serious, you should still see a doctor as soon as possible after your accident. A thorough medical examination might uncover some issues that weren’t immediately apparent when the accident occurred. Plus, medical records and doctors’ reports serve as proof of your injuries, which can strengthen your case when filing a claim.
2. Not contacting the police or filing a report. If you’re in a car accident, it’s not enough just to exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver (or drivers) involved. Call the police and have them investigate the scene and create a report. That way, you have an official, impartial account of what happened, so there’s no possibility that anyone can dispute it. (If you’re physically able to do so, it’s a good idea to take pictures of the scene as well.)
3. Posting on social media. Personal injury can be traumatic, and it’s tempting to share your situation with friends and loved ones as a means of gaining their support and keeping them updated on your recovery. Unfortunately, insurance adjusters or those representing the people on the “other side” of the accident will likely be checking your social media accounts to see if they can use what you’ve posted as proof that your injury isn’t as serious as you say it is. That’s why it’s better to keep the details of your accident and injuries private while you’re in the process of filing a claim. (Be sure to ask your family and friends not to post about anything related to the accident, either.)
4. Missing the statute of limitations. In Anne Arundel County and throughout Maryland, the statute of limitations for a personal injury claim is three years. You might think that’s plenty of time, but the truth is that these claims sometimes take a long time to negotiate – and the last thing you want to worry about is not having enough time to take care of everything.
5. Talking to insurance adjusters and signing a settlement agreement too quickly. After your injury, don’t be surprised to get a call from an insurance adjuster. The adjuster will ask you a lot of questions about your injuries and even ask for access to your medical records. Often they will try to get you to record a statement about how you’re feeling, or convince you to sign a settlement agreement. Don’t do it! These people definitely don’t have your best interests at heart. Even if it seems like a good deal, a settlement agreement, once signed, is very difficult to overturn (plus, signing one bars you from filing any future claims related to your accident). Keep your responses to an absolute minimum and tell them to speak to your attorney. Which brings us to our last mistake to avoid…
6. Not hiring a qualified attorney. Let’s face it – accidents and injuries are stressful. In the aftermath of your accident, you may be dealing with physical and emotional pain, loss of income and expensive medical bills. You have enough to manage without the anxiety of talking to insurance companies and trying to figure out the ins and outs of filing a personal injury claim. An experienced attorney relieves this stress by managing the process from start to finish. And you can feel secure in the knowledge that your lawyer is on your side, fighting for the compensation you deserve.
If you have been involved in an accident in Anne Arundel County, a lawyer can help you determine the next steps regarding filing a personal injury claim. Contact the Law Offices of Nicholas Parr in Baltimore, MD today to schedule your free consultation. We don’t receive a fee unless we win.