In personal injury cases, the plaintiff must prove their damages and that those damages occurred as a result of a particular incident. The plaintiff will also need to prove that the defendant should be responsible for the expenses. One small mistake can severely impact the outcome of the case. Learn more about the top 5 mistakes plaintiffs make in personal injury cases.
1. Waiting too long to file a claim
Personal injury cases have a statute of limitations, which is the maximum amount of time a plaintiff has to come forward with a claim. After the statute of limitations, the plaintiff can no longer bring the case to court. The acceptable time frame has lapsed.
2. Not getting immediate medical treatment
Plaintiffs will use medical documents to prove their injuries in a personal injury case. The injuries should be consistent with the incident the plaintiff claims caused the injuries. Some plaintiffs don't go to the doctor immediately after an incident, leaving them with a lapse of time between the incident and documentation of the alleged injuries. Some injured parties fail to visit a doctor, leaving them with limited evidence to prove their case.
3. Contradicting themselves
Too many plaintiffs change their statements from the beginning of the case to the end of the case. Contradictions make the plaintiff appear unreliable and untrustworthy. Plaintiffs should talk to a lawyer before making a statement to ensure they stick to the most legally-opportunistic version of the events.
4. Opportunist statements and behavior
Some plaintiffs brag about their upcoming settlement on social media or even to people in the courtroom. The plaintiff may prematurely buy expensive items in anticipation of their payout, unabashedly flaunting their perceived newfound wealth. Courts generally don't look at this behavior too fondly and may reduce the settlement amount out of fear the plaintiff is taking advantage of the system.
5. Taking the first settlement offer
When there's no doubt that a plaintiff is owed damages, the insurance company will offer a settlement amount. The settlement amount can be tempting. You can take the money immediately and save yourself the headache of more negotiations and a possible trial. However, you will likely get more if you hire a lawyer to negotiate on your behalf after you receive your settlement offer.
You and your personal injury lawyer will work together to get you the best settlement possible. You can't control everything, but you can control your actions. Avoid these mistakes, and you should be OK. Contact a local personal injury lawyer to learn more.