Steer Clear of Personal Injury Pitfalls
Life can change in an instant. One moment, you're going about your day, and the next, you find yourself dealing with the aftermath of a slip, trip, or fall. These seemingly innocuous accidents can leave lasting impacts on our lives, especially when they occur due to someone else's negligence.
Personal injury refers to any physical, mental, or emotional harm suffered by an individual as a result of someone else's negligence or intentional actions. Common personal injury cases involve car accidents, slip and falls, workplace incidents, medical malpractice, and product liability.
There are few areas of law that have endured as much criticism and misconception as personal injury claims. Mention the words "personal injury" to most people, and images of greedy individuals looking to make a quick buck and ambulance-chasing firms may immediately spring to mind. Sadly, this distorted perception has cast a dark cloud over an essential field of law, resulting in 1.4 billion in unclaimed compensation for 2022 alone, with individuals embarrassed to make a claim with the associated stigma it can bring.
So, when is it ok to pursue a claim?
If you have suffered an injury that wasn’t your fault and have been injured, incurred costs and have had to deal with associated trauma, you are someone who should be thinking seriously about making a claim to help you to rebuild your life in the aftermath of the accident.
In this blog we delve into the world of personal injury, focusing on some of the most common mistakes made through the personal injury claim process. We want to help you avoid making costly mistakes, ensuring that if you do have a case, you have the best opportunity of getting the compensation you deserve.
Pitfall 1 – Only pursue if your claim is genuine
Before we delve into the detail, let's start with the obvious. Do you actually have a valid personal injury case? Whilst there are a lot of genuine cases left unclaimed, part of the reason the sector got a bad name was due to chancers' overexaggerating or incorrectly assigning blame with a desire for a payout. As a result, the industry has become more scrupulous than ever before, evidence is carefully examined with solicitors and judges able to easily identify the chancers.
So, yes you should absolutely make a claim, but only if your claim is 100% genuine. If you have had an accident, have a life-changing injury and it wasn’t your fault.
Pitfall 2 - Don’t let stigma stop you from claiming the compensation you deserve
Don’t be embarrassed to make a claim due to legacy stigma in the sector. Personal injury specialists are there to provide a lifeline for individuals who face the overwhelming medical expenses, lost wages and emotional trauma and will use the evidence you provide to give you the best opportunity for you to win the compensation you deserve.
Pitfall 3 – Don't delay medical treatment.
Always seek the medical attention you need straight after your accident; this is critical for both your wellbeing and for your potential personal injury claim. Delaying medical treatment can make it difficult to link your accident to your injury, giving insurance companies an opportunity to argue that your injuries are not severe or that they may have been caused by something unrelated. Prompt medical attention not only safeguards your health, but also creates a crucial link between your injuries and the accident.
Pitfall 4 – Don't post photos of your incident on social media
In an age where everything is online and shared on socials, it can be tempting to share updates with your network. But you should exercise caution when it comes to social media, avoiding sharing photos or updates about your accident or injuries. Insurance adjusters and defence solicitors might use this information to undermine your claim, arguing that you aren’t as injured as you claim to be. Even innocent posts can be misinterpreted and used against you. Our recommendation is always to refrain from posting until your case is bought to a close.
Pitfall 5 – Don't accept inadequate settlements
Insurance companies will often try to settle personal injury claims quickly and for as little money as possible. It's crucial to remember that their primary goal is to minimise costs. Therefore, do not rush into accepting a settlement offer without carefully assessing its adequacy. Consult with an experienced personal injury solicitor who can help evaluate the true value of your claim and negotiate a fair settlement that covers all your current and future expenses.
Pitfall 6 – Don't wait too long to claim
There is a legally defined timeframe within which you must file a personal injury claim. Failing to adhere to these deadlines can result in the loss of your right to seek compensation. It's important to consult with a personal injury solicitor promptly after an accident to ensure you meet all necessary deadlines and protect your rights.
Pitfall 7 – Avoid an aggressive stance
Whilst it's natural to feel anger or frustration after being injured due to someone else's negligence, it's important to approach your personal injury claim with a level-headed mindset. Taking an aggressive stance can often hinder negotiations and potentially harm your case. Instead, work closely with your solicitor to develop a strategic and professional approach that focuses on the facts and the damages you have suffered.
Pitfall 8 – Don't contact the other party's insurer about your injuries.
Insurance adjusters from the at-fault party's insurer may contact you soon after the incident. Remember, their job is to minimise the amount of compensation they have to pay. It's crucial not to provide any recorded statements or sign any documents without first consulting with your solicitor. Your personal injury solicitor is there to guide you through the negotiation process and ensure you do not inadvertently say or do anything that could harm your case.
Personal Injury law is not a scam! It is designed to protect individuals who have suffered harm due to the negligence of others. So, whether it’s a fall in the street, an accident at work, a car accident, or a medical mistake, make sure you speak to an expert to see if you might have a claim. By understanding the potential pitfalls and taking proactive steps to protect your rights, you can navigate the personal injury process more effectively.
For expert support from a friendly local legal team, contact Howard & Over today. With more than 30 years' experience across a diverse range of cases, our team are able to help you navigate every element of the personal injury process to help you get the compensation you deserve.