You have more influence over your future than you might think after suffering a personal injury. While a good attorney may be able to build a case against a negligent party regardless of your actions after an accident, taking the correct steps could greatly increase your odds of securing a settlement or jury verdict. With help of a personal injury lawyer, learn six top things you should not do after an injury if you wish to maximize your chances of a payout in Dallas, Texas.
Document your accident immediately by coming forward and telling someone what happened. You should report your accident and injuries to an employer, floor supervisor, store owner or the police depending on the circumstances. Report your injuries to someone in a position to create an official accident report. A report can serve as proof that the accident happened, as well as an important tool for documenting details such as date, time, location and the names of witnesses to the accident.
Admitting fault is a common mistake made by victims after first accidents. It is natural to want to apologize for the accident or say you were at fault if you believe this to be true. However, it is important not to admit fault to any of the parties involved, as well as to the police or an insurance company. Admitting fault could place liability with you before investigators have a chance to get to the bottom of the accident. You could be unaware that someone else’s fault caused or at least contributed to the accident. The other driver in a car crash, for example, could share fault for the collision. Reducing your liability could increase your payout.
Assume You Do Not Have Injuries
If the police or other parties ask whether you have injuries, wait before saying no. Even if you feel normal, you could have hidden injuries or injuries with delayed symptoms. The adrenaline of a serious accident could be masking pain or other symptoms of an injury. Instead, say you are not sure and wish to see a doctor before answering. If you say you do not have any injuries during a police interview or to an insurance adjuster, it can be difficult to obtain compensation if you discover injuries later.
Wait to See a Doctor
Never let days, weeks or even hours pass between the time of your injury and a doctor’s visit. It can be imperative to your personal health to see a physician right away after a car accident, slip and fall, dog attack, violent crime, or another type of incident. A doctor can diagnose your injuries and suggest immediate treatment for the best prognosis for recovery. Immediate medical care can also prove to an insurance company the existence and severity of your injuries.
Accept the First Insurance Settlement Offer
Once you file an insurance claim for your personal injury, the insurance company will assign an adjuster to your case. The insurance claims adjuster will not have your best interests in mind. Instead, he or she will want what is best for the insurance company; namely, to minimize your payout to save the insurer money. Before you accept a lowball settlement offer, speak to a lawyer about the true value of your injury claim.
Fail to Get Legal Advice
A personal injury lawyer in Dallas can review your accident case, evaluate your economic and noneconomic damages, and help you negotiate a fairer settlement from an insurance company. Hiring a lawyer to take over insurance claim negotiations for you could ensure the adjuster does not convince you to accept less than your case is worth. An attorney can also take your injury claim to court in Texas if the insurance company refuses to offer a reasonable amount to cover your damages. Consulting with an attorney is one of the most important steps to take after suffering a serious injury.