A personal injury case is always most valuable if it is pursued with the help of an attorney, and if you act as soon as possible after your car accident, dog bite, or trip and fall. Here at RMD Law, the goal is always to help our clients get the maximum possible value. Here are seven common ways plaintiffs sap the value out of even the strongest cases.
1. Lie about your medical history
There is a myth that insurance companies don’t have to pay you if your injury is pre-existing. This is a myth insurance companies work very hard to keep going! The truth is insurance companies can’t reject payment for pre-existing conditions.
Trying to hide a history of prior injuries always backfires. Be honest with your attorney and your doctors about pre-existing pain.
In California, you are actually entitled to damages when the defendant makes your pre-existing injuries worse. It’s called being an eggshell plaintiff. As a California personal injury lawyer, I never met a pre-existing injury I didn’t like.
2. Skip out on your doctor appointments or therapy sessions
Insurance companies always sing the same song: injured people treat, and uninjured people skip their appointments. Treat regularly. It helps you get better faster and preserves the value of the case.
3. Keep driving after you are injured in a car accident
You should call 911 if you are injured and request an ambulance. It will do you no good to “walk it off” and delay your medical care. If the police on scene see you are refusing medical care, the new trend is to do an “information exchange only” report that does not establish who is at fault for the accident. This can make it more likely that your injury lawyer has to file a lawsuit to prove your case, needlessly increasing costs and the time it takes to settle the case.
4. Ignore limits your doctors impose because of your injury
So many cases have been lost because a doctor states “no lifting” and a client decides they are all good to have a workout. Sometimes, insurance companies even hire sneaky photographers to follow plaintiffs and tape them in larger cases (this is called “Sub Rosa” footage). Nothing is worse than having to explain a video of a plaintiff bench pressing weights when their back was injured to a jury!
5. Change your story
Stay consistent regarding the details of the accident. The defense will try to make inconsistencies sound like lies.
To help you remember the details of the incident, it helps to write down notes immediately after the accident happened.
6. Post on social media about your injury
Insurance companies are extremely savvy about social media these days. The most common mistake clients make is posting a photo of their wrecked car with a caption like “Thank God everyone is okay.” While we all know this is code for “Thank God nobody died,” the insurance company will try to imply that you admitted you were not injured at the date of the social media post, and that every treatment after that day is bogus. It’s best not to post online when you had an accident.
7. Refuse to follow instructions given by doctors and lawyers during the course of litigation or settlement negotiations
This is a big one. Many clients reject our advice and counsel. There is a reason you hired a lawyer! The analogy I give to clients quite often is that as lawyers, we are like taxi drivers. You tell us where you want to go, and then let us choose the best route.
An experienced personal injury lawyer has been down every road on the path to settlement before. We can tell you which routes are the superhighway to success, and which roads are rocky. Trust us that when we recommend a course of action, there is only one goal – to help you get the biggest possible settlement for your case. We are on your side.
Reach Out to an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
If you need help with a car accident, dog bite, trip and fall, wrongful death, or other personal injury case, call RMD Law right now at 949-997-0274. Our personal injury lawyers are standing by 24/7 to take your call and give you a free consultation.