Nobody wants to be hurt because of someone else’s unreasonable actions or negligence. But if you’ve been injured and need to make a claim against an insurance company, there are things you can do that will actually hurt your chances of recovering damages. The following are things you never want to do in the context of a personal injury case.
1. Thou shalt not fail to make a police report.
Anytime you’re involved in a motor vehicle collision, you should immediately call the police and have a report made. Many people are under the mistaken impression that there’s no reason to involve the police or the insurance companies. This is a terrible misstep that could instantly sink your ship in ways you cannot predict.
For example, the driver who ran into you might be sweet and apologetic at the scene and admit 100% fault at the time of the crash. Without a police report documenting the drivers’ statements, you can be surprised months or years later when the driver blames you for the crash (after he’s talked to the insurance company adjuster and an attorney.
2. Thou shalt not delay in seeking medical treatment.
This is one of the easiest ways for a defendant to show that you’ve failed to mitigate your damages. Indiana has very few requirements that injured people are required to follow, but if you do not go to the doctor or do not follow your doctor’s advice, and you end up worse off because of it, your recovery of damages will be reduced. In addition, insurance companies will say a delay in your treatment either means you were not hurt that badly or that something else must have occurred during that delay to cause your injuries.
3. Thou shalt not seek treatment from a chiropractor (or any other medical professional) who contacts you following an injury.
These solicitors are sure to be on the insurance company’s radar, and doing business with them will oftentimes lead to significantly lower settlement offers. You can’t win your case without help, so it’s important to use common sense when assembling your team—you want it loaded with people who are looking out for your best interests.
So, if you get a phone call out of the blue encouraging you to get checked out at a particular facility, and it’s implied that an insurance company sent them to you, ask yourself: Is this person really on my team? Or are they trying to cash in on my misfortune? In most cases, the second option is probably closer to the truth.
4. Thou shalt not give a statement to the at-fault party’s insurance company without first speaking to an attorney.
No matter how well-mannered its representatives are, this insurance company is your opponent. They have an ethical and financial responsibility to their employers do what they can to pay you the least amount of money possible. This does not automatically mean that they will be surly, angry or aggressive.
Most of the best insurance adjustors do their best to be nice and polite. It is human nature to be nice to people who are nice to you. And they use this to your disadvantage.
5. Thou shalt not give a statement to your own insurance company concerning the injuries you’ve sustained.
This can be tricky, as you’re obligated to cooperate with your insurance company. An experienced attorney, however, can provide helpful guidance. Basically, there are two aspects to each injury claim: property damage and bodily injury. It’s okay to talk to your insurance provider about property damage, which is all about getting you back on the road, and involves questions of repairs, rentals, and possibly even a new vehicle.
The bodily injury portion of the case will address monetary restitution (also known as recovery) for things such as medical expenses, pain and suffering, and wage loss. You don’t want to discuss bodily injury specifics with your insurance provider unless you’ve already consulted with an experienced injury attorney.
If you’ve been injured as the result of someone else’s negligence, or if you have questions about the wisdom of these commandments, call the Marc Lopez Law Firm at 317-632-3642.