It seems as though everyone is on social media. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or other social media platforms are popular methods for sharing news with friends and family or reconnecting with people with whom you might have lost touch. In fact, more than three-quarters of the population of the U.S. have social media profiles. Why, then, is your personal injury lawyer telling you not to post on social media while your accident case is pending? It’s because it is one of the five most common mistakes accident victims make that can hurt their claims for compensation.
Mistake #1: Believing your social media posts are private
Posting a picture on Facebook of a hike you took while on vacation might seem harmless, but it could damage your claim for damages for the injuries you suffered in a car accident. The parties to a lawsuit are entitled to discovery of anything that might be relevant to the claim for damages or to any defense.
The insurance company and attorney defending the other party in your accident claim could be granted access to your posts, texts and emails. A photograph that shows you hiking or engaging in other strenuous activities could conflict with your claim of being unable to work due to the injuries suffered in the accident. Instead of being forced to explain how the post does not accurately depict your physical capabilities, the best practice is to avoid posting anything online while your case is pending.
Mistake #2: Talking about your injuries before seeing a doctor
Most accidents happen suddenly and without warning. One moment you’re walking on a sidewalk and suddenly you’re on the ground after tripping on a raised portion of the concrete. Whether it’s a slip-and-fall accident or a collision between two cars, how you feel immediately after the accident might not be telling you the true extent of the seriousness of your injuries.
Some injuries could take hours or even days before their severity becomes obvious. Injuries with delayed symptoms could include:
· Concussions and other injuries to the brain
· Injuries to internal organs
· Internal bleeding
Never minimize the extent of your injuries unless you have been cleared by a physician after a thorough examination. Statements about how you felt right after the accident may turn up later to hurt you claim for damages.
Mistake #3: Giving statements to adjusters or investigators working for the other party
Anything you say to a claims adjuster or other representative from an insurance company can be used to minimize or defeat your claim for compensation. If you are contacted by an insurance adjuster, investigator or attorney working for the party whose negligence caused your injuries, politely decline to speak with them. Instead, contact your personal injury lawyer who will handle it for you.
Mistake #4: Taking a quick settlement
Insurance company claims adjusters do not work for you. Their job is to limit their company’s financial exposure by settling your claim for as little as possible. They may play upon the fact know that being out of work puts a strain on your finances making you vulnerable to settling the claim for a fraction of what you might be entitled to receive.
An experienced personal injury lawyer understands how a hasty settlement might not be sufficient to cover medical costs associated with future treatment you might need or make up for your diminished earning capacity caused by your injuries. A skilled and knowledgeable attorney will only settle a claim when the full extent of your past, present and future damages have been identified and only when it is in your best interest to do so.
Mistake #5: Failing to be honest with your lawyer
Your lawyer is on your side, but achieving the best result requires complete cooperation and honesty from you. Being honest about preexisting medical conditions, alcohol or drug use, prior accidents or other issues that could affect your claim is crucial. By disclosing them, you give your lawyer the opportunity to evaluate them to determine their effect on your claim. Your lawyer can then develop a strategy to address them if and when they are brought up by the attorney for the other party
Failing to be truthful could result in your lawyer being caught off guard at trial or during settlement negotiations. The best way to help your case is to not hold anything back regardless of the effect you believe it might have on our case. Let your attorney determine its importance and plan how to deal with it.
Getting the help you need
An easy way to avoid these and other mistakes when you are injured in an accident is to retain the services of a skilled Oregon personal injury attorney as soon as possible. The legal advice and guidance of a skilled attorney provides a resource you can rely when you are uncertain about what to do or say regarding your claim.