A personal injury claim can be hard to handle on your own. Adhering to Texas’ negligence laws, going up against powerful defendants and working through all the red tape of bringing a claim can be daunting for any plaintiff. Improve your chances of a successful case by knowing what mistakes to avoid.
1. Admitting Fault
Never admit fault for an accident. Even if it seems like the accident was your fault, resist the urge to say so or that you are sorry. Admitting fault could immediately place liability with you and your insurance company, even if factors were in play you did not know about. Instead, call the police to investigate whether there could be another reason for the accident.
2. Forgetting to Take Photographs
Gathering evidence immediately after an accident can be crucial to building a strong claim to damages. Photographs can provide indisputable proof of property damages, a defective property element, personal injuries and other key aspects of a case. Take photos and videos with a camera or cellphone while still at the scene of the accident, if possible.
3. Failing to Report the Accident
Do not let anyone convince you not to involve the police or authorities after a serious accident. After a car crash, for instance, you have a legal obligation to call 911 and report the wreck if anyone has any injuries or more than $1,000 in property damages. Calling the police or notifying a supervisor of an accident such as a slip and fall could create official documentation of the incident and your injuries.
4. Saying You Are Fine Before Seeing a Doctor
In the minutes after an accident, adrenaline may be pumping through your veins and changing the way your brain perceives pain. It is important not to tell the at-fault party, the police or an insurance company you are uninjured while still at the scene of the accident. Instead, wait to see a doctor before assuming you are fine. Otherwise, saying you have no injuries could serve as proof against you during an insurance claim, even if you receive a diagnosis later.
5. Ignoring Your Injuries
Always see a doctor or go to the hospital immediately after an accident in Texas. Even if you think have only minor injuries that will mend on their own, see a doctor to be sure. Your injuries could be worse than you think. Prompt medical care can also show an insurance adjuster your injuries occurred in the accident in question.
6. Waiting Too Long to Tell the Insurance Company
Most insurance companies have 24- to 72-hour time limits on giving initial notice of the accident. If you believe you will need to seek an insurance settlement for your damages, contact the appropriate insurance provider as soon as possible to ensure a valid claim.
7. Agreeing to Give a Recorded Statement
Once in contact with the insurance company, politely decline to give a recorded statement to the adjuster. Recording a statement from you early on is a tactic to catch you in a lie. Even if you were not lying, if your story changes later as you learn more about the accident, the insurance company could use this to argue your unreliability as a claimant.
8. Accepting the First Settlement Offer
Settlements are always negotiable. Do not give a quick yes to the first settlement an insurance company offers. The initial offer could be significantly less than your injuries and losses are worth. Instead, say you will be speaking to an injury attorney before answering. Then, consult with a personal injury lawyer in San Antonio for a claim evaluation you can trust.
9. Missing Your Statute of Limitations
If you need to proceed to trial to obtain fair compensation for your personal injury or wrongful death, do so within Texas’ two-year statute of limitations. Missing this deadline is a sure way to lose your chance to obtain compensation.
10.Failing to Hire an Attorney
Failing to hire a personal injury attorney could diminish your recovery award and even lead to no compensation at all. Without a lawyer representing your best interests, an insurance company may take advantage of you or handle your claim unfairly. Contact an attorney in Texas if you wish to maximize your odds of success.