The waiting period after receiving a personal injury is a confusing time for everyone. The future remains uncertain and the stress can cause us all to behave in a way that any good lawyer would explicitly advice against. When this happens to you, don't shoot yourself in the foot. Here are the 5 biggest mistakes people make, and what you can do to avoid them.
Assuming No Injury
The first error is admitting to no serious injury. In the case of a car accident, when the police arrive and the incident is being dealt with, it is often the case that we insist that we're fine, just to avoid any further stress on yourself and the others involved. Bear in mind, however, that any claims you make at this juncture will be recorded, and – should it get that far – they can be used against you in a court of law. In the case of whiplash, too, the symptoms can fail to show themselves until days or weeks after the accident.
Failing to Mitigate
Going along a similar vein as our first blunder, failing to mitigate is often done in the immediate moments after your accident. After the initial trauma, it's common for us to need a few days to shake off the shock and get our feet firmly back on the ground. Behaving like this, however, could actually cost you your claim; should you feel that you have sustained an injury of some kind, it is imperative that you go see a qualified doctor immediately after the accident.
Trusting Your Insurance
Insurance companies are for-profit organisations. They are not your friend, and as much as they would have you believe otherwise, they do not have your best interests at heart. Therefore, when speaking to an insurance advisor following your accident, don't allow them to talk you into a corner where you might make unwarranted statements that could be used to deny your claims. In fact, before speaking to your insurer, we would recommend speaking to any personal injury York solicitors at Coles.
It might also be tempting at this juncture to try and alter the circumstances of your accident or to try and claim for additional ailments. Be aware, however, that each and every claim is thoroughly investigated, and a full medical history will be checked before hand to see how any pre-existing problems could have played into the circumstances that lead to your accident. Moreover, when you are found out that you have lied, you would not only have committed a crime, but you would have sacrificed any and all credibility that your once-legitimate claim may have had.
Ignoring Your Doctor
And finally, do not ignore your doctor. If they tell you to proceed with a course of treatment following your accident, to avoid certain activities or to commit yourself to certain daily routines, do it. Should your condition worsen due to your ignoring of the advice from your doctor, any later ailments will not be covered by your initial claim. This will be considered an act of negligence on your part – nobody else will be held responsible. Should you go ahead and try to claim for your worsened circumstances following explicitly ignoring your doctors advice; see point number 4.
Fingers crossed, you will never be in a situation where you need to be aware of the above points. If one does arise, however, at least you now know what to directly avoid, and the best way to deal with the situation. For more information, check out this comprehensive list from the Citizens Advice Bureau.
*This post is written in collaboration with the aforementioned company.