Filing a personal injury claim in Texas can help you and your family move forward after a traumatic accident. You could receive financial compensation for your related medical expenses, lost wages and other damages from the party that caused your accident. If you aren’t careful, however, you could unintentionally hurt your chances of receiving compensation by making one of these common mistakes.

Waiting to See a Doctor

Many accident victims make the mistake of delaying medical care. You may initially feel fine – likely due to the pain-masking effects of adrenaline – or think your injuries aren’t serious. You may also ignore symptoms or try to “wait and see” if your injuries will get worse before seeing a doctor. Waiting to go to a hospital after an accident, however, could negatively affect your injury claim.

An insurance company may try to blame you for the severity of your injuries due to a failure to seek immediate medical care. This is known as a “failure to mitigate damages,” and can be used against you to try to avoid liability for your injury. Ignoring a doctor’s advice or failing to follow the treatment recommendations exactly could also hurt your injury claim, as the insurer can use this as evidence of the failure to mitigate.

Admitting Fault

Never admit fault for a car accident, even if you believe you are to blame. There might be influences that you are unaware of, such as a third party that contributed to the accident. Admitting fault will automatically place full liability on you, and may bar you from insurance coverage even if you are not completely to blame. Do not admit fault, confess guilt or apologize for the accident. Wait for an official investigation to determine what happened.

Missing a Deadline

Filing a personal injury claim comes with strict deadlines. First, most insurance companies have deadlines for filing. You may have to notify the insurer about the accident as soon as possible – often, within 24 to 72 hours. Then, if you wish to file a personal injury lawsuit in Texas, you must adhere to the state’s statute of limitations. This is a time limit that gives you no more than two years from the date of your accident to file a claim. Missing a filing deadline could bar you from receiving financial benefits.

Trusting an Insurance Claims Adjuster

Insurance companies and their claims adjusters are practiced at convincing claimants to accept less than their claims are worth. The adjuster knows how to be friendly and convincing over the phone to make you think that he or she is on your side. Keep in mind, however, that this is not the case. The insurance adjuster wants you to settle for as little money as possible to protect the insurance company.

With this in mind, be careful what you say to the claims adjuster. Do not give away too much information or offer more detail than is necessary. Do not admit fault or agree to give the adjuster a recorded statement about the accident. If you don’t have an answer, say you don’t know. Do not speculate as to who or what caused the accident. Do not answer any questions about your injuries, either, until you’ve seen a doctor.

Accepting an Offer Without Speaking to a Lawyer

One of the worst mistakes you can make during a claim is accepting a settlement and signing a liability waiver before consulting with a personal injury attorney. Once you accept a settlement, there’s no going back. You cannot reopen your claim or renegotiate for a higher value. An attorney can review your case and give you an honest idea of how much it is worth, including future costs. Then, a lawyer can help you negotiate for maximum financial compensation.