After you have been hurt in an accident, it isn't always easy to know what to do. Some people figure that as long as they don't call the other party to chat, they aren't doing anything that could seriously damage their personal injury lawsuit. Unfortunately, even small missteps can make an otherwise simple case messy and convoluted. Here are two simple mistakes that could destroy your personal injury lawsuit, and how you can avoid causing problems.
It can be overwhelming to deal with new injuries and missing work, which is why a lot of people decide to wait before filing a personal injury lawsuit. Sometimes people assume that they can always file suit later after things settle down, only to have the process halted by other life events. Unfortunately, every day that you wait to talk with a lawyer, your case becomes more and more difficult to prove.
As time progresses, important facts about your accident can be lost. For example, if you were hurt at work, you might not remember who you were working with that day, or what shift you were assigned. Although a few skewed details might seem inconsequential, a couple of forgotten facts can make it hard for your lawyer to prove your case later.
Because waiting can drastically affect the integrity of any case, most states have time limits for filing personal injury lawsuits. Although these guidelines vary significantly from place to place, some states require people to file within one year of the accident.
If you were hurt in an accident and you know that is wasn't your fault, go to websites or talk with a lawyer right away. They might be able to tell you over the phone if you have a case, or meet with you in your home or hospital room. When your lawyer has the opportunity to gather the facts and operate within the statute of limitations, you might have a better chance of winning your lawsuit.
2: Not Listening to the Doctor
Before any patient is released from the hospital, doctors are required to offer discharge instructions. Unfortunately, some patients choose not to listen to this advice, which can cause problems later. After taking pills for a couple of days or attending a few rounds of physical therapy, you might be tempted to give up or to try something else. Although it might seem harmless to slack off, doing your own thing might cost you in court.
The purpose of a personal injury lawsuit is to reimburse you for damages caused by your accident. However, if you don't abide by the recommendations of your doctor, you might unintentionally aggravate your own medical condition. For example, if you hurt your back because someone pushed you down a flight of stairs, but you don't bother going to physical therapy, it might be hard for your attorney to prove that your ongoing condition is caused entirely by the accident.
To avoid trouble, follow your doctor's orders to the letter of the law. Here are a few things you should keep that might help you to prove that you obeyed instructions later:
- Hospital Discharge Paperwork: Keep any discharge paperwork that you receive when you leave the hospital. These documents can be used to prove when you were treated, and what information you were given when you left the hospital.
- Co-Pay Receipts: When you visit your doctor for follow-up care, keep copies of all of your co-pay receipts. In addition to helping you to track your expenses, you can also prove that you did what you were supposed to.
- Recovery Journal: Consider making a recovery journal detailing your daily progress. This information can help to prove distress, and show what you went through as you tried to heal from the accident.
Making smart decisions after you are involved in an accident might help your lawyer to fight for your rights, so that you can focus on recovering.