A severe injury can change your life in ways you weren't prepared for. Car accidents, slip-and-fall injuries, and other incidents can harm you physically, mentally, emotionally, and financially. If your damages were caused by the actions or negligence of another person, you may be able to recover compensation.
However, there are common mistakes that could limit the amount you recover from your personal injury claim or prevent you from being compensated at all. Reno / Sacramento personal injury attorney Raymond E. Areshenko is one of the area's top litigators. He will fight for justice on your behalf. This blog breaks down six mistakes that Ray will help you avoid in your personal injury claim.
Forgetting to Preserve Evidence
Evidence is vital in personal injury lawsuits. The better-documented your suffering is, the better your chances of winning your case or getting a favorable settlement.
If you were in a car accident, take pictures of the scene. Get photos of your injuries, too. Keep a medical journal that documents your injuries and symptoms and explains how they impact your daily life.
If there were witnesses to your accident or injury, get their names and contact information as soon as possible. You don't have to worry about personally contacting them — Mr. Areshenko will do that for you. Finally, if a police report was filed, get a copy of that, too.
Neglecting Medical Treatment
Part of maximizing the damages you receive from your personal injury claim involves proving how the injury has affected every aspect of your life. This is much harder to do if you haven't sought medical treatment.
Even seeing your doctor once after your accident won't show that your life has been seriously, negatively impacted. You'll need to demonstrate that you required ongoing medical treatment for an injury that hasn't gone away quickly or easily. Documentation from doctors will be significant evidence in your favor, as it shows that you've had to seek remedies, and it provides an itemized list of exactly how much money your treatment has cost you.
Letting the Statute of Limitations Expire
Like many other lawsuits, personal injury claims have statutes of limitations that restrict how long you have to file your suit. If you fail to bring your case during this period, you'll be unable to do so at all.
In Nevada and California, the statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits is two years. However, if your claim is against the government, California gives you only six months to file. Nevada still gives you two years to bring a case against the government.
Underestimating the Extent of Your Damages
Many people who file personal injury lawsuits only look at their medical bills when they're considering the compensation they can recover. However, that leaves out non-economic damages, a category for unquantifiable injuries that you've suffered. These damages can include:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Depression or anxiety stemming from the injury
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Impaired cognitive function
Taking the First Settlement Offer
You may be tempted to take the first settlement offer you receive to save you the physical and emotional exhaustion of going through a personal injury lawsuit.
However, the first offer will rarely be the best one. Insurance companies are not on your side. They will do everything in their power to pay you as little money as possible. It's okay to walk away from an unfairly low offer and keep negotiating. Mr. Areshenko will advise you on whether an offer you've received is fair or not, and will help negotiate until the insurance company adequately compensates you.
Posting on Social Media
Your social media accounts make it easier for lawyers and law enforcement to know exactly what you're doing. Anything you post can and will be used against you during your personal injury lawsuit, and your posts will cost you money.
If you claim you're in pain constantly, but then post pictures of yourself smiling at a party, that will be used against you. If you post pictures of yourself having fun at a family outing, that will be used against you. If you post photos where you're enjoying yourself at a football game, that will be used against you.
See the pattern? The other party's lawyers will seize any chance to show that you're not suffering as much as you claim, and a judge or jury may not care about the context behind those photos. They may not even believe that, while you smiled in those pictures, you were just grinning through the pain.
The safest bet is to stay off social media entirely while your lawsuit is ongoing.
Contact Our Reno Personal Injury Attorney Today
Ray Areshenko is one of western Nevada's premier personal injury attorneys. He has been recognized repeatedly as a Rising Star by the legal service Super Lawyers. Ray is dedicated to fighting for justice on your behalf and helping you recover the compensation you deserve.
Start building your case by calling 775-353-6611 for a complimentary case review with REA Law. We serve clients in and around Reno - Sparks and throughout Nevada. REA Law also has offices in Sacramento servicing the greater Northern California area. For cases in California, call 916-800-6090.