While a lot of my cases have to do with issues of product liability and other areas of automotive litigation, there is still a large number of auto accident cases in the U.S. each year. With cell-phone usage while driving in the news a lot lately, there has been a spate of new legislation dedicated to curbing distracted driving.
Whatever the cause of the auto accident, our firm has litigated hundreds of these types of personal injury claims, whether they be simple legal matters or complicated personal injury cases. Here are five common mistakes we’ve observed in our profession, that injured consumers sometimes make when they have an auto accident case.
- Don’t sign away the farm. Do NOT sign anything until you check with your lawyer. Sometimes mini-tort releases have details at the bottom where you promise to waive future injury claims. Or we’ve also seen them include the allowance for an at-fault insurance company to access your medical records and violate your privacy. It’s better to engage your lawyer in that conversation rather than making a mistake that could cost your claim down the road.
- Social media. Nowadays, attorneys opposing you in this dispute, as well as insurance adjusters, will investigate all your social media accounts, blogs or web pages. This also is true when they are set as private. What they’re looking for is content that can help them avoid taking responsibility for the negligence or action that led to your injury. It’s best to be prudent in this situation about what you post to Facebook, Twitter, etc., including photos of your family activities.
- Feel like you’re being watched? You may be right. In some instances, your insurance company and the at-fault driver’s insurance company may conduct surveillance and hire investigators to take photos and videos of you. If you’ve attempted to do a task that you could do much better before your injury, be honest about that. If you’re caught on video attempting to do something (or especially accomplishing it) that you claim you could not do, that is injurious to your argument.
- Stop talking. Adjusters and opposing lawyers sometimes will try to contact you. Not a good idea to talk about your case with anyone hired by the other driver, or the insurance company. Have those inquisitive parties contact your lawyer instead.
- Doctor visits. If your physician refers you to a new doctor, or sends you to take a new test, it’s smart to tell your auto accident attorney right away. This information could affect your case.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but just a list of “top 5” errors that we’ve seen people go through in their auto accident case. Sometimes these mistakes are something your attorney can work with, but it’s also true that “a stitch in time saves nine,” so if you take appropriate precautions from the outset of your personal injury case, you won’t have to do extra-work later trying to handle a miscommunication that will affect your recovery.