In 2020, approximately 190,783 car accidents occurred in New Jersey. Unfortunately, anyone who drives or rides in a car is at risk for a collision.
A collision shakes up your life and can leave you with lifelong injuries. However, you have the legal right to request compensation for the accident. But you have only one chance to settle your case.
As you prepare to file a lawsuit, you must learn some common personal injury claim mistakes. Then, it would help if you found a way to avoid them. Here are seven common ones that victims make.
1. Settling Through the Insurance Company
Car insurance covers car accidents, so you can expect an insurance company to contact you afterward. The insurance company settling the accident has two primary goals:
- Settle quickly
- Settle for the lowest amount possible
When the insurance company finds out about the accident, they’ll contact you. First, they’ll ask some questions about the accident. Then, they’ll offer you money.
Accepting the money they offer is tempting. After all, they’ll likely offer a generous amount to persuade you to settle. However, this is a mistake to avoid.
The insurance company’s offer will be less than what you could receive. So even though it might seem like a lot, you’ll receive more if you work with a personal injury lawyer.
2. Believing a Lawyer Is Too Costly
One of the reasons victims settle with insurance companies is to avoid fees. You won’t have to pay legal fees if you accept the insurance company’s offer.
Many victims assume that lawyers are too costly. After all, if you don’t hire a lawyer, you won’t incur personal injury lawyer fees. Unfortunately, this is a mistake.
Yes, personal injury lawyers charge fees. However, you’ll likely walk away with more money even after paying a lawyer.
Additionally, many personal injury lawyers offer contingency fees. The basis of contingency fees is you only pay fees if you receive a settlement.
Lawyers offering contingency fees charge a specific percentage of the settlement amount. Another benefit is that you don’t pay this fee until you receive the settlement. Thus, you won’t need money to hire a lawyer.
3. Missing the Claim Filing Deadline
Settling your case too quickly is a mistake, but taking too long is also a mistake. Personal injury law in New Jersey gives victims two years to file a claim.
This timeframe begins when the accident occurs. Lawyers call it a statute of limitations.
Failing to file a claim within two years waives your right to file a case. You don’t have to settle your case by this date. However, you must file a case before this timeframe expires.
The claim filing process is straightforward. It begins with hiring a personal injury lawyer. Next, the lawyer walks you through the remaining steps. The vital point is to file your case before the claim filing deadline.
4. Not Including All Your Damages
If this is your first time settling a car accident, you might need help understanding all the damages you can claim. Likewise, you might not ask for enough compensation if you don’t know all the types of personal injuries.
This is another reason you need a personal injury lawyer. For one, your lawyer knows the damages you can request. Then, they’ll help you maximize your settlement by claiming all the pertinent damages.
Here are some common damages you might be able to claim:
- Property damage
- Current medical bills
- Lost wages
- Future medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
Of course, you must prove you encountered the damages if you ask for compensation. Unfortunately, you might miss some of these damages if you choose not to hire a lawyer.
5. Failing to Keep Records of Your Damages
Even if you have a great memory, you might forget some details from your accident. You might also forget details about your injuries and damages.
Personal injury lawyers recommend keeping detailed records to remember the facts. After all, writing them down is the best way to remember every detail.
First, keep all your personal injury claim documents together. You might keep a file with these documents. You could also give all the documents to your attorney.
Next, keep a written journal of your thoughts, feelings, and damages. Writing down your thoughts and feelings proves their validity. You can even use this written record in your case to maximize your compensation.
6. Assuming You Must Go to Court
Do you believe that filing a personal injury case requires attending court hearings? While there are times when victims must go to court, there are also times when they don’t.
Attending court hearings is an intimidating thought to many people. As a result, some people choose to settle their cases without lawyers. They might do this simply to avoid going to court.
Most personal injury cases filed through law firms don’t require court appearances. Instead, the attorney works with the insurance companies to reach an agreement.
The only time court might be necessary is if the parties can’t reach an agreement.
7. Thinking You Can Expect Future Compensation
Finally, you must realize you get one chance to settle your case. The compensation you receive must cover all your damages, including future ones.
You can’t settle now and ask for more money later. You only receive one settlement. Because of this, you must aim for enough compensation when settling your lawsuit.
Avoid These Personal Injury Claim Mistakes
Car accident victims can sue the responsible parties after an accident. So if you’re an accident victim, try to avoid these personal injury claim mistakes. After all, avoiding these mistakes might lead to a higher settlement.
Do you need legal help for your car accident claim? Contact us at Maduabum Law Firm LLC. We operate in New Jersey and would love to help you settle your case.