If you or a loved one has been injured in Alaska and you believe that someone else may be to blame, you need to make smart decisions about protecting your legal rights. If you are right, you could be entitled to a significant financial recovery. But, if you make mistakes, you could diminish the value of your claim, and you could potentially even jeopardize your claim entirely.
In order to protect your rights after an accident or a medical error, there are some important mistakes you need to avoid. These mistakes include:
1. Assuming There is Nothing You Can Do
Many people feel helpless after being injured in an accident or falling victim to medical malpractice. This helplessness can be paralyzing, and it can prevent you from securing the financial compensation you need to recover. The reality is this: If you have been injured due to someone else’s negligence, you are entitled to compensation, and an experienced accident attorney in Anchorage will be able to help you recover the compensation you deserve. Right now, all you have to do is pick up the phone or request a free consultation online.
2. Failing to Seek Medical Attention Promptly
After a car crash, fall, or any other type of accident, it is important to seek medical attention right away. The same is true if you believe that you are suffering due to a medical mistake. If you have been injured or if you are sick, you need to begin treatment as soon as possible. Not only could delaying treatment prolong your recovery and lead to health complications, but it could also make it more difficult to prove your claim for just compensation.
3. Not Following Your Doctor’s Advice
Once you see a doctor, you need to follow his or her advice. You can also seek a second opinion if you feel that one is necessary, but what you should not do is simply ignore what you have been told. Make sure you know when your follow-up appointments are scheduled, go to all of your physical therapy sessions, and stay home from work until your doctor says it is okay for you to resume your normal activities.
4. Giving Too Much Information to the Insurance Companies
After an auto accident, you should report the accident to your insurance company. Not only will this start the claims process, but it may also be a requirement under the terms of your policy. However, aside from providing basic details about the crash (i.e. where and when it happened), you should not provide any additional information to your insurer. The same holds true if you are contacted by the other driver’s insurance company, or if you have been injured in any other type of accident and you are contacted by someone else’s insurer.
5. Signing Documents You Do Not Understand
When dealing with insurance companies, you may be asked to sign various different types of documents. You are not required to sign anything, and you should not sign anything unless you are advised to do so by your attorney. From medical release forms to waivers of your rights, any documents you are asked to sign are for the insurance company’s benefit, not yours.
6. Accepting Payment So You Can Pay Your Bills
While this may seem like a good idea, and may perhaps even seem necessary, it is ultimately shortsighted. If you are struggling to pay your bills as a result of being unable to work, you have options besides accepting payment from the insurance companies. For example, your attorney may be able to negotiate with your care providers to delay collection; and, if necessary, pre-settlement funding options are available. By accepting payment, you may be waiving your right to additional compensation, and the insurance companies are not going to tell you if you are absolving them of additional liability.
7. Posting about Your Case on Social Media
When you have a personal injury or medical malpractice claim, the insurance companies will be looking for any evidence they can use to deny payment of just compensation. This includes evidence that you post on social media. From photos on Instagram to comments you post on Facebook or Twitter, even if something seems harmless, the insurance companies will try to find a way to use it against you.
8. Discussing Your Case with Friends and Family
As a general rule, you should avoid discussing your case with friends and family as well. The concern here is not that your loved ones will act against your best interests, but rather that the insurance companies may subpoena them for a deposition or call upon them to testify in court. Additionally, you may eventually need them to testify on your behalf; and, if you do, you do not want them to be in a position where they are forced to answer uncomfortable questions from the insurance company’s defense lawyers on cross-examination.
9. Making Decisions with Incomplete Information
The majority of successful personal injury and medical malpractice claims are resolved via settlement before trial; and, if you have a strong case, at some point the insurance company is likely to offer you a settlement. When evaluating a settlement offer, it is critical to ensure that you are making your decision based upon complete information. This includes a comprehensive understanding of your current and future losses. Too often, injury victims fail to appreciate the long-term financial and non-financial effects of their injuries; and, as a result, they end up settling for far less than they deserve.
10. Settling for Too Little Too Soon
Ultimately, the most important mistake you need to avoid is settling for too little too soon. Do not get anxious, and do not let the insurance companies talk you into a bad decision. By working with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Anchorage, you can make conscious, level-headed decisions; and, when your case is over, you can feel confident knowing that you received fair compensation for your injury-related losses.
Schedule a Free Initial Consultation
If you have been injured and would like more information, I encourage you to contact my office to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation. To discuss your case in confidence, please call 907-262-9164 today.