18 Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Lawsuit
These innocent errors can affect a case
There are many ways an unsuspecting auto accident victim’s case can be harmed – even when you’re trying to do the right thing. Here are 18 mistakes identified by our car accident lawyers that unfortunately, play a crucial role in hurting good people with legitimate cases.
- Mistakes on your No-Fault forms
- Do not talk about your case
- Facebook, Twitter & more
- Signing your rights away
- Applying too late
- Doctor appointments
- Disposing of important evidence
- Insurance medical examinations (IMEs)
- Being forced to apply for SSD
- Voice mail
- Renewing licenses
- New doctors, new medical tests
- Job changes & moving
- But I heard…
- Poor communication
This mistake is pretty easy to avoid, and the consequences can be disastrous for those who don’t. For example, recent Michigan cases have held that providing false information on an insurance application can be used to VOID PERSONAL INJURY CLAIMS you may have, such as for uninsured motorist coverage.
Paperwork involved in No-Fault claims include the submission of forms for replacement services (household services) and attendant care (nursing care) claims. These forms are required for you to receive reimbursement/payment for the services provided. But the accuracy of these submissions is critical. In the Michigan Court of Appeals opinion in Bahri v IDS Property, the court held that inaccurate submissions can result in a person losing all No-Fault benefits. In summary, the court stated the Plaintiff committed fraud because her replacement service claim was 19 days before the accident occurred and defense surveillance showed her doing things on certain days by herself, which her replacement services submissions claimed other people were doing for her. So please ensure your No-Fault submissions are accurate. Mistakes – even innocent a mistakes – can get any accident victim labeled a “fraud” under this new case and result in the termination of all of your No-Fault insurance benefits.
Expect that your insurance company and the at-fault driver’s insurance company will conduct surveillance and hire investigators to take photos and videos of you at some time during your case. If you have tried to do a task, admit you’ve tried it. Most people will understand if you had a good day, and attempted to do something. But no one understands when an auto accident victim denies something that is later caught on surveillance video.
Insurance adjusters, defense lawyers, and sometimes jurors may try to contact you. Do NOT talk about your case with ANYONE hired by the at-fault driver or insurance company. If an adjuster wants to ask about your case, have her call your car accident lawyer.
Insurance adjusters and defense attorneys will investigate your Facebook, Twitter and related social media accounts, blogs or web pages – even when set as ‘private’ – and look for things that can help them avoid taking full responsibility for the harms they’ve caused. The purpose of this Internet research is to attempt to show that you are not as injured as you claim. Please be very careful about postings and photos of your activities. Avoid posting new items.
Do NOT sign anything until you check with your car accident lawyer. Even simple mini tort releases sometimes have fine print waiving future injury claims or allowing an at-fault insurance company to access your medical records and violate your privacy. Check with your lawyer first. Call Michigan Auto Law at (800) 777-0028 if you have questions.
There’s a one-year time limit to apply for benefits for a first-party No-Fault case in Michigan. Michigan’s No-Fault law covers important auto insurance benefits such as wage loss, medical bills and mileage, replacement services (chores, help around the house) and attendant care (nursing services). These benefits are generally paid by the car accident victim’s auto insurance carrier. If you do not apply within one year, you will not be able to receive your No-Fault insurance benefits.
Listen to your doctors, and follow through on their advice. There’s never a reason or excuse to miss a doctor’s appointment. Not going to the doctor may be interpreted as a sign that you are not hurt, or don’t take your car accident lawsuit seriously. It’s very important for you to show that you are working hard to get better and keeping appointments is an important part of that. Also, when you are at the doctor’s, be mindful of what you say. For example, never say “My attorney said…”.
Save all pill bottles, casts, braces, prescriptions and any other items from your doctors. This is evidence of your personal injuries, and it must be preserved.
Anytime you have a surgery or a visible injury, take pictures. Or contact your car accident lawyer and he will send a photographer to document your injuries. Videos are also great tools to show a jury or an insurance company adjuster just how difficult things have been in time following your personal injury or after a surgery. In addition, take pictures of car damage. Crash repair estimates are often misleading and don’t reflect the full amount of vehicle damage.
You will be sent to an insurance medical examination (IME) at some point. Sadly, these doctors are not “independent” and this is really an insurance company physician who makes a lot of money finding “nothing wrong” with auto accident victims. You must call your car accident lawyer immediately when your insurance adjuster tells you to attend a medical exam.
Many insurance companies force people to apply for Social Security Disability. When this happens, you are required to apply, even if you are hoping to recover and return to work. But what happens next, such as appeals and how an application is filled out, can directly impact your case against the wrongdoer’s insurance company for economic damages. Michigan Auto Law works with attorneys who specialize in SSD, to help with your application and ensure you do not harm your case. Please discuss applying for Social Security Disability with your lawyer first, to avoid costly mistakes.
Insurance adjusters, investigators and others may call you for information about your car accident or truck accident. If you have a message or music on your voicemail or answering machine that could offend a jury one day, we suggest you change to a more basic greeting, to give the best first impression.
Defense attorneys and their investigators can easily obtain access to commercial driver license (CDL) information from the Secretary of State, as well as hunting and fishing license information from the Department of Natural Resources. If you have serious injuries that prevent you from driving a commercial vehicle and/or participating in outdoor activities, we suggest that you do not renew those licenses until you speak with your lawyer first.
Anytime your doctor refers you to a new doctor, or sends you to take a new test, please advise your car accident lawyer immediately.
Anything after your auto accident regarding changes in your job, job duties and salary is very important to discuss with your attorney. Inform your attorney if you are moving, if you have been put on further restrictions at work or have to miss more work due to your personal injuries.
When we’re working on a case, clients often tell us they heard about a friend’s financial recovery. Please be aware that every case is different, every injury is different and every client is different. It’s important to understand our car accident lawyers are as interested as you are in getting you the best possible settlement. It’s our job and we do it very well. Here are some of our verdicts and settlements.
The best advice remains the simplest: call your car accident lawyer at (800) 777-0028 if you have a question, and certainly before doing something that can have an important impact on your case.
Our lawyers have been completely specializing in serious car accidents, truck accidents and motorcycle accidents for more than 50 years. We understand the physical, emotional and psychological hardship you’re experiencing from your injuries. We care; and our relationship with you is very important now, and in the future.