When a person is injured in an accident, it often results in a major disruption of their life. Often times there is a long recovery period, which may lead to an interruption in employment in addition to a reduced quality of life with potential impact on personal relationships.
Personal injury damages are a way courts help to make the injured party whole of those losses incurred in the accident. Unfortunately, many people who are entitled to damages don't recover them or only recover a portion of what they are actually eligible to receive in these cases. Avoid these 5 mistakes people often make when pursuing damages in personal injury cases and ensure you recover all that you are entitled to:
1) Accepting an Early Offer from an Insurer: Frequently, insurance companies will reach out on behalf of the at-fault party in an accident to make a quick settlement on the case and avoid a long protracted legal battle, which may lead to a larger award. Insurers are not in the business of giving out high settlements to cover the injured party's losses. They are in business to save money. So making a quick settlement offer often tends to be in their best interest. A quick settlement often comes with a comparatively small price tag for them and a release from all liability which you sign as a contingency for acceptance of the quick cash.
Once you sign that release, you relinquish all rights to any future damages in your case. And that includes any injuries that have yet to surface (i.e. soft tissue injuries) as a result of the accident.
Remember that it is rarely, if ever, in your best interest to accept a quick settlement in an accident claim. Any settlement they are prepared to make at the outset will likely be eclipsed by what the insurer or the at-fault party's attorney(s) estimate your claim to be worth. Otherwise, they would not be so interested in making the offer so quickly in the first place.
2) Neglecting to Seek Medical Treatment Right Away: Whenever you have been injured in an accident it is your responsibility to seek medical attention right away. The reason is if damages are to be paid, they should be limited to injuries for which the responsible party is liable. If you hesitate to seek immediate medical treatment (particularly if you have sustained obvious injuries), you run the risk of worsening your condition or giving credence to a defense that claims your injuries are not as serious as your claim suggests. Courts may reduce damages in cases when the plaintiff waits to seek medical treatment.
Getting immediate medical treatment will help to preserve your right to pursue the highest award for which you are eligible given the injuries you sustained and the severity of the accident.
3) Neglecting to Seek Experienced Legal Counsel: Going it alone can often lead to a poorly conducted personal injury claim or one that does not take into account all possible damages in your case. An experienced personal injury attorney can help to determine all possible damages in your case. Some cases may involve medical damages alone, others may include possible damages for losses like loss of consortium or loss of enjoyment, as well as loss of income or income earning potential. Never go it alone in filing a personal injury claim. Illinois personal injury laws are very complex, and a skilled accident attorney can help navigate everything from establishing fault and expert testimony to award negotiation.
The skilled personal injury attorneys of Panio Law offer a wealth of experience in personal injury law and a strong track record of success in winning the largest awards for our clients. We work hard for each of our clients and we will work hard for you.
Call us at (312) 313-0305 if you would like to speak with an attorney. We can help.