Personal Injury Case Mistakes
If you have been injured due to someone else’s negligence, you may be worried about how to proceed with your case. Here are the top personal injury case mistakes that you want to avoid. This includes cases from car accidents to nursing home negligence.
Personal Injury Case Mistakes | Car Accident
Some of the most common mistakes that we see with people who are in auto accidents take place shortly after the accident. Sometimes your insurance company, or even the other insurance company, will call to get your statement. I have many clients who have an appointment with me, and when they call I let them know do not give any statements unless I’m present or I am there on a conference call because the other insurance company will try to ask questions in a certain way that are often not helpful to the case, and sometimes misleading, and then we are stuck with that recorded statement because you gave it freely.
Other things that some people forget is to take photos of the accident scene itself. I had one client come in with photos of the cars as they sat after the impact, and that alone was critical to proving to the insurance company that the story that their insured was giving them was completely false and it allowed us to show them that their insured was at fault, that we were completely within our lane, and that they needed to pay our property damage, and then eventually maybe pain and suffering bodily injury recovery.
Personal Injury Case Mistakes | Construction Accident
With construction accidents, the mistakes that we see sometimes relate to trying to identify the contractors and subcontractors that are present on that site. Often times, you’ll see the big board out front that lists all of the contractors and who the general is, and sometimes they have contractors that will come on in a more temporary basis and they won’t be on the sign. I need pictures of not only the sign but also maybe of trucks, any signs on the trucks or uniforms that people are wearing that might identify what the subcontractors are, especially if they’re responsible for contributing to the cause or whatever dangerous condition caused either the fall or the injury.
Also, of course, with these premises cases on construction sites, photographing the area where it happened can be critical because it’s often against proper safety standards, these areas are often not safe for workers or passers-by, and those photos can show an insurance company or a jury or a judge just how dangerous the condition was that caused the injury.
Personal Injury Case Mistakes | Dog Bite
The most common mistakes we see with dog bite cases are the failure to collect any witness information at the scene, and also not noting specifically the address where it happened, for example. If you’re just walking through the neighborhood and something like this happens to you, you don’t first think about trying to nail down where the attack came from or how it happened.
The other issue, of course, is trying to lock down information regarding any prior bites or prior vicious propensities. Neighbors are often the best resource for that because they’ve seen the dog over the years, often times lunging at the mailman, for example. If they can knock on a door, show the neighbor what happened to them, the neighbors become much more helpful because they don’t want their children attacked or they don’t want to be attacked themselves. When you see the damage that this dog has done, they tend to be much more cooperative, and then we have information that we can use with the insurance company to let them know that this was not some freak occurrence, but that this dog did, in fact, have problems beforehand.
Personal Injury Case Mistakes | Motorcycle Accident
The most common mistakes with motorcycle accidents that we see is the failure to ascertain witness information and to take photos of the placement of the motorcycle in relation to the car after they come to rest. Most often these accidents are the fault of the driver of the car and the motorcyclist is severely injured because they lack that protection. It’s often helpful if a loved one who comes on the scene, once the person is safely taken care of, to take photos before anything is removed or to ask those people who are standing around the scene – people pull over, they put their hazards on, to walk over and ask them if they saw it and if they wouldn’t mind giving their name and phone number.
Witnesses don’t have a choice, though. People often say well, I didn’t want to get involved. By way of the court’s subpoena power, they have to get involved. If they saw an incident, they have an obligation to testify honestly about what they witnessed. If you cannot get information at the scene from them voluntarily, please take down plate numbers and a description of what they look like, and that will help us track down a witness that might not be eager to help.
Personal Injury Case Mistakes | Nursing Home Negligence
With nursing home neglect cases, the most common mistakes that we come across often are the family’s dealing action. They don’t want to believe the worst-case scenario even though the evidence is in front of them. I’ve had a number of clients in the past say I wish I had taken photos of those sores or those bruises before they healed up, but because my father or mother is not communicating very well, we didn’t realize that that pattern was actually abuse until it was too late or until the abuse becomes so violent that the injuries are very serious.
Failure to document things as you’re experiencing them – if you have a hunch, if you have a real strong gut feeling that something is wrong, often you’re right, and it’s at that time that you need to start documenting what’s happening. Start asking the right questions and maybe have the nursing home resident start to request copies of their own records so you can get a copy of those things to preserve them before somebody might go back in and either change it or records – you don’t want them deleted, you don’t want them to disappear. I’m not saying that any nursing home would ever do that, however, you have the security in knowing that you have these records as they are, unchanged, and to preserve whatever information or evidence that you might need to show somebody else when you’re telling them what’s happening to your loved one.
Personal Injury Case Mistakes | Slip and Fall
When we talk to clients, we see sometimes they make some mistakes after a slip and fall case. When they come to us and they may have forgotten to take photos, for example. When you’re injured, and you fall, you’re often embarrassed. That’s the biggest response I get is I just wanted to get up, I wanted to get out of there, I was embarrassed. The biggest mistake they make is not documenting by way of photos that dangerous condition they fell upon. For example, if it was a large puddle of water, or if something was spilled, or if a carpet was overturned, getting that in a photograph to show why they fell is critically important to the case.
Another thing that they fail to do is to request a copy of the incident report, or they give a statement when they’re there, when they’re all shaken up, when they should just maybe pause, not give a statement, talk to their attorney first. The third mistake I think I see with slip and fall cases is people fail to get names and phone numbers of people who may have seen it happen, seen them fall, because those witnesses, not only to the fall but also to the condition that caused the fall, can be critically important to any slip and fall case.
If you are worried about what personal injury case mistakes that you might have made, please call our office today to get a free consultation with one of our highly experienced Buffalo personal injury lawyers.