Medina Law

7 Huge Pitfalls That Will Hurt Your Case in Court

Most injury casesare settled without going to court. Still, you and your lawyer must be prepared to go to court in case theinsurance company does not offer full and fair compensation for your injuries.  So here are pitfalls that will harm your caseif it is necessary to take your case to trial.  Pitfall #1:  Waiting toolong before getting medical treatment.Accident victims whodon’t have symptoms immediately after the accident often decide they don’t needto go to the doctor.  Then, after a fewweeks or months, when symptoms or other problems arise, they go to the doctorand discover that their problems are related to their accident.  So even if you don’t think you are injured, makesure you go to the doctor for a complete evaluation.  Then, if your case goes to trial, the jurywill see that you went for medical attention right away.  But if you wait for a long period of time,the jury usually won’t think you have serious injuries if you waited weeks ormonths to go to the doctor.  Pitfall #2:  Going to thewrong type of doctor.Make sure you first goto a medical doctor (MD) or an osteopath (DO) for treatment that isknowledgeable in treating the kind of injuries you have sustained.    Sostart with an evaluation by an MD or DO. Later they may refer you to a Chiropractor, a physical therapist or aspecialist.  Pitfall #3:  Stopping yourmedical treatment before your doctor officially releases you.When their pain goesaway, many accident victims they are well and no longer need a doctor’scare.  But this is a big problem because,often, the first improvement you are likely to see is that you have no morepain.  This does not mean that yourinjury has healed.  Nor does it mean thatit won’t return.  So, make sure you keepall of your doctor appointments – and follow your doctor’s advice – until he orshe tells you that you do not need further treatment.  Then if your case goes to trial, the jurywill know that you properly followed your doctor’s instructions.  Pitfall #4:  Failing toreport your accident to the police.One sure way to make your injuries look minor is tonot call the police when you have an accident. It’s hard to persuade a jury that you deserve a sizable amount of moneyif you don’t think your injuries are bad enough to notify law enforcement. Callingthe police usually works in your favor because it documents how the accidenthappened and your lawyer can call the officer as a witness at your trial.  Pitfall #5:  Failing to tellyour lawyer about prior accidents and injuries.Accident victimsoften think that their lawyers are not interested in their previous accidents.  But this isn’t true.  If you were injured in a prior accident, theinsurance company will argue that your injuries were caused by your previousaccident, not your most recent mishap. In addition, your recent accident might have made a previous injury muchworse.  In either case, your lawyer needsto have this information, so he can explain to the jury how your most recentaccident affected you in light of any previous injuries.   Pitfall #6:  Exaggeratingyour injuries.You cannot fool aninsurance company or the jury.  If youoverstate your injuries – or even shade the truth just a little – the insurancecompany’s investigators will find out. Then their lawyers will make sure that the jury knows that you can’t betrusted to tell the truth.  This willaffect your overall credibility and the jury will punish you for yourdishonesty by deciding in the insurance company’s favor – or by awarding you onlya small fraction of the money you deserve.  Pitfall #7:  Failing to becourteous to everyone involved.As the old saying goes, you can disagree withoutbeing disagreeable.  Juries respondpositively to accident victims who are honestly suing for full and fair compensationfor an injury caused by a corporation or injury who violates safety rules.