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4 ways to tank your personal injury case

If you have a viable personal injury claim against a defendant, it's important not to "count your chickens before they hatch." If you are careless or irresponsible, you could watch a lucrative settlement or judgment slip right through your fingers.

Avoid the following four things if you want to prevail with your claim for damages.

Stop going to the doctor

People who are injured seek treatment that is documented in their medical records by their health care providers. If you blow off or don't bother to make follow-up appointments, your doctor will note this on your medical chart. When you attempt to settle your claim, the value will be greatly diminished and your claim might even be dismissed outright.

Fail to collect evidence

In a personal injury claim, if there are no receipts or other evidence to support your claims of injuries and damages, it's like it never happened. You must copy and keep receipts for treatment, medical supplies, medication and other supportive documents.

That might include:

  • Police reports
  • Photos of injuries and other damages
  • Doctors' notes
  • Surveillance videos of the accident
  • Rehab and therapy notes

Post all over social media

If you claim that your accident left you unable to walk without pain, yet there is a Facebook photo of you doing the Electric Slide at your cousin's wedding, it could be used to deny your claim. The fact that you spent the entire rest of the weekend in bed to recover from your efforts will not mitigate the damage of that one shot.

Taking the first offer

Insurance companies realize that many claimants are desperate to recoup their financial losses. So the first number they toss out will be far lower than they are willing to actually go. If you take the nibble, it's very likely that you are settling for a good deal less than the true value of your claim.

Be smart about your personal injury claim

Most accident claims settle before they ever reach a courtroom. It's expensive for both sides to take a claim to trial on its merits, which is why insurance companies will usually make every effort to settle with claimants. However, it's up to you to make them pay you the full value of your claim.

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