PERSONAL INJURY LITIGATION IS NOT DIY: 8 COMMON MISTAKES

Don’t be fooled into thinking by Insurance Companies or, indeed, by the Personal Injuries Assessment Board that you are best served in conducting your own Personal Injury Claim as a DIY Project.

Instead, it is essential that you contact your Solicitor as soon as can be after an accident.   Your Solicitor will have a wealth of knowledge and experience and is best placed to ensure that you are not shortchanged.   Generally, costs of Litigation are paid by the Insurers.

An injured Person cannot be expected to have the requisite expertise in the following:-

  • Identifying the correct Defendant.
  • Dealing with Concurrent Wrongdoers.
  • Understanding Statutory Periods of Limitation
  • Organising Pertinent Medical Analysis
  • Securing Actuarial Assessment of Loss of Earnings etc.
  • Dealing with Mitigation of Loss.
  • Defending Counterclaims of Contributory Negligence.
  • Marshaling and preserving the Evidence.
  • Interviewing and analysing the information of Witnesses.
  • Conducting Settlement Negotiation
  • Claims Valuation

Definitely not one to do yourself !

Giving statements to Insurance Adjusters without first consulting a Solicitor.

The Third Party’s Insurer may try to get you to meet with its Adjuster. He or she will seem friendly and sympathetic. But remember, the adjuster really wants you to make damaging statements so that the Insurance Company can pay you less. So don’t make the mistake of giving a statement to an Insurance Adjuster without first consulting your Solicitor.

Signing Insurance Company documents without getting Legal Advice.

Consult your Solicitor before signing any Insurance Company documents.

Not getting information at the accident scene.

Getting the right information at the accident scene will help your Solicitor prepare the best case. Key information to get includes the name, address and work and home phone numbers of all witnesses. After a car accident, be sure to get the other driver’s personal and vehicle information plus his or her Insurance Company’s name and policy number. Also make notes of the accident and save any physical evidence. On our Homepage (www.oshearussell.ie) you will find a Downloadable ACCIDENT CHECKLIST. Please feel free to print off and leave in the Glovebox of your car.

Waiting too long to get medical care.

There are several reasons why you should see a doctor as soon as possible. One is so that any injuries you have will be treated as soon as possible and won’t get worse. Another reason is that a doctor’s report provides a good record of your injuries and this plays a key part in determining the amount of compensation you receive. Finally, if you wait too long before going to a doctor, many Insurance Companies (and courts) may unfairly conclude that your injuries must not be as serious as you claimed them to be.

Not following your Doctor’s instructions.

Accident victims have an obligation to mitigate their injuries. If you disobey your doctor’s instructions for getting better this can lower the amount of compensation you receive.

Keeping poor records of expenses and problems caused by the accident.

Accident victims are entitled to be compensated for many things including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and changes to their lifestyle. Keeping good records of all accident-related expenses and physical and other problems caused by the accident will help make sure you get compensated for everything the Law entitles you to receive.

Waiting too long to seek legal help.

The longer you wait to get legal help, the harder it can be to find evidence and witnesses, and the more likely something will happen that hurts your case. By waiting to get legal help, you also risk losing your claim because the deadline for making claims has expired.

Settling too fast, before all your injuries are known.

Many accident victims think they suffered only minor injuries and will accept a fast settlement just to end the matter. When they later discover that their injuries are much worse than they first thought, they are prevented from getting more money from the Insurance Company. Always remember that many injuries take time to fully develop.

You really do need to leave the processing of your Claim to the Experts. Your Solicitor is always “in your corner”.

CONTACT: Mary R. O’Shea

O’Shea Russell Solicitors

Tel:  059 9724106

Email: nicholas@oshearussell.ie

www.oshearussell.ie

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