If you were seriously hurt in a wreck through no fault of your own, you may have the right to pursue damages from those who are liable. Just because you didn’t play a role in the accident, however, doesn’t mean you’re automatically entitled to a payout.In order to secure a settlement or verdict in a third-party insurance claim, you must present sufficient evidence of liability, causation, and damages. You must also avoid making critical mistakes over the course of the proceedings, starting from day one.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common mistakes that can jeopardize even the strongest claims:
1. Postponing Treatment
Personal injury claimants have an obligation to mitigate damages, which starts with seeking prompt medical care. If you postpone treatment—or ignore medical advice once you start treatment—you could be deemed partially liable for the severity of your injuries.
This could lead to the reduction of the total payout to which you are entitled. In the state of Florida, a plaintiff’s total recovery in a personal injury case is reduced in proportion to their own percentage of liability.
2. Remaining Active on Social Media
If you remain active on social media, you should expect the claims adjuster to monitor your online presence in an attempt to gather evidence that challenges your credibility. Since there’s nothing stopping them from misinterpreting—or misrepresenting—what you post, it’s advisable to stay off social media altogether until your case has been resolved.
If temporarily disabling your accounts is not an option, make sure to:
- Adjust your privacy settings so only approved connections can see your profiles;
- Screen connection requests, and ignore those from people whom you don’t recognize;
- Avoid posting about the accident, your injuries, or the claim;
- Avoid posting about your social life or expenditures; and
- Ask friends and loved ones to avoid posting about you on their own profiles.
3. Admitting Fault
The only way to determine what happened in the moments leading up to a wreck is by conducting a thorough investigation. As such, you should not apologize, accept blame, or admit fault in the aftermath, even if you think you played a role.
4. Settling Too Quickly
It may be tempting to accept the first offer that the claims adjuster proposes, especially if the expenses associated with treating your injuries are adding up fast. Until you reach maximum medical improvement, however, it could be difficult to approximate the full extent of the damages.
As such, it’s advisable not to conclude the negotiations until reaching MMI. Otherwise, you could walk away with a payout that doesn’t actually cover all the losses you incur.
Speak with a St. Petersburg Car Accident Lawyer Today
If you were struck by a drunk, distracted, or otherwise reckless driver, turn to Emerson Straw PL to determine the most strategic way to proceed. Our compassionate lawyers have more than 40 years of combined experience representing the injured and their families. Call (727) 821-1500 or fill out our Contact Form to schedule a free case evaluation with a car accident attorney in St. Petersburg.