6 Biggest Mistakes to Avoid in DC Injury Cases
Personal injury cases can be confusing, especially when you are also dealing medical treatment, physical or occupational therapy, lost days at work, and all the expenses involved. Worse, most people have no experience with injury lawsuits. It should come as no surprise then that so many people make mistakes that can hurt their cases down the line, jeopardizing their chance to get fair compensation for their injuries. We sat down with DC attorney John Yannone to and asked him to tell us the 6 biggest mistakes to avoid in personal injury cases.
1: Not Following The Doctor’s Orders
One of the main things that can hurt someone is not following the doctor’s orders, not being compliant, not following up as they’re required to do by the doctors. Gaps in treatment are something that insurance companies use against plaintiffs – if they don’t follow through with treatment, if they’re not compliant, if there are gaps – because they will say that if there’s a gap, then there could have been another cause for the injuries.
2: Giving a Recorded Statement to Insurance Companies
People assume that the insurance company is going to do the right thing, that if they’re cooperative and lay it all out, that there’s some human behind all of this that’s going to be sympathetic and understanding, but it’s quite the opposite. People don’t realize it, but the insurance companies are not looking out for the victims of the negligence, they’re looking out for their insured’s interest, their company’s interest, and their own monetary bottom line. There’s no reason in this world why someone should give a recorded statement to the insurance company, yet that’s the first thing they want.
3: Settling Early With An Insurance Company
In many instances, plaintiffs will cut themselves short in that the insurance companies will pressure them to settle even before they’ve undergone treatment done or right after an initial round of treatment. Injuries and treatments can wax and wane, so the plaintiff may think they’re fine and may resolve the case only to find out that they’ve been rushed into it, and now they have continuing problems, and there’s nothing they can do about it because they’ve settled.
4: Filing Claims Without The Help of a Lawyer
One of the other major mistakes people make is trying to do these claims on their own. The insurance companies have their lawyers advising them the whole way, they have their adjusters who are trained in handling the cases for the interest of the insurance company. It’s inconceivable to me that anyone on the plaintiff side would not seek the counsel of a lawyer to protect their interests, but in many respects people don’t realize how adversarial this is. They expect that their point of view is going to be taken as the only point of view and that the insurance company is there to help them, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. People get burnt all the time by insurance companies and learn the hard way.
5: Failing to Document Facts and Statements Early
For example, if you’re in an auto accident and you don’t call the police and try to get things documented and get statements on the scene, that’s a huge mistake, because people’s viewpoints change after they’ve had a chance to reflect on or be advised about things. Documenting your injuries right away is extremely important, because if you wait to seek treatment, many times the insurance company uses that against you and says, “Well, you weren’t really hurt. If you waited weeks to go to a doctor, then you couldn’t have been that hurt.” Insurance companies try to use the property damage of a vehicle as the measurement of mechanism of injury. A dollar value has nothing to do with what happened to you in the car and what injuries you suffered.
6: Not Taking the Case Seriously as an Adversarial Matter
Medical negligence cases are extremely difficult cases to pursue because the insurance companies for the doctors and hospitals fight tooth and nail. There are reputations at stake, and the insurance companies have a policy of not settling these cases. If there is a settlement in a case, it’s after much of the litigation process has been pursued and you’ve backed them into a corner. It’s an adversarial position, and people don’t realize that. They can make the mistake of taking it too lightly, being too laid back about it, being too trusting, and not realizing how adversarial it is and how the insurance company is going to take advantage of them to their detriment.
How Can You Avoid These Mistakes In…
Slip and Fall Cases
A slip and fall is very important to document. Get an incident report. If you’re in a store, make sure that it’s reported and that they go through the process that they are supposed to in terms of documenting it and getting the investigation underway. Notify an attorney so that we can get that video preserved.
Medical Malpractice Cases
In medical negligence cases it’s important to make sure that too much time does not go by, because there are statutes of limitations on all cases and it’s very important that a case is brought in time. Most cases, and particularly medical negligence cases, take time to investigate, so you have to be cognizant of what’s happening. Many people are very trusting of doctors and medical professionals; they don’t know the areas where mistakes can be made. Some are obvious, and some are not. Some outcomes are not clear, and so people can be lulled into a false sense of trust and believe that what’s been done is the way it has to be, so time goes by and they miss the opportunity.
Sexual Assault or Abuse Cases
In sexual assault cases, many times the victims feel that they are to blame, and there are a lot of emotional aspects to it. They need to seek help and counseling to deal with those emotions that they should not deal with alone. It’s very important to seek professional help, because there are limitations and there are time constraints. It’s a matter of being proactive and it’s a matter of pursuing things. If there’s any question whatsoever, seek the advice of an attorney. Consultations are free.
Any Personal Injury Case
Maybe you have something, maybe you don’t, but you don’t know until you consult an attorney. You need the professional help of an experienced personal injury or medical negligence attorney to counsel you, educate you, and make sure that you are advised of what can or cannot be pursued.