As a Michigan personal injury attorney, I often meet and speak with people with very good personal injury cases that have been ruined because of mistakes made by the injured person. These are almost always innocent mistakes, but they can sometimes be fatal to a lawsuit.
In my book, "The Ultimate Guide To Injury Cases In Michigan, I discuss personal injury cases in general and list The Biggest Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Case. I have pasted that section of the book below. You can request the book for free by completing the book order form.
THE BIGGEST MISTAKES THAT CAN YOUR CASE
Here are what I consider to be the BIGGEST MISTAKES that can ruin your personal injury claim. These sins are
based upon my experience and discussions with many judges and jurors.
1. Waiting Too Long To Contact the Best Lawyer For Your Case
While it is not necessary to call a lawyer immediately after you are injured, it is advisable to
contact a lawyer once you realize the seriousness of your injuries. Many people are reluctant to
call a lawyer at this time and decide to put it off for several months. The problem with waiting too
long is that it becomes much more difficult for your lawyer to find eyewitnesses, interview witnesses,
and to take photographs of damaged vehicles, broken sidewalks, and other hazardous conditions.
As you might guess, many witnesses move around or are in your area just temporarily and this can
make it difficult to interview them if you delay in calling a lawyer. Also, many damaged cars get
repaired, many scars heal, and many dangerous conditions are fixed before photographs can be
taken. Because photographs are often the most compelling evidence, it is important that they be
taken as soon as possible after you are injured.
Also, many types of cases have legal requirements and time deadlines for taking action against a
negligent person or business. This is especially true in filing insurance claims, suing drunk drivers
and liquor establishments, and governmental entities. Often, the failure to meet a required
deadline will destroy your case, even if you were seriously injured.
2. Hiding Past Accidents From Your Lawyer
Once you begin a case, the other side will be interested in knowing how many past accidents you
have been in. The reality is that they probably already know the answer or have easy access to
that information. All insurance companies subscribe to insurance databases and often the only
reason they ask you this question is to test your credibility. If you have been in other accidents,
your lawyer can investigate this and make a determination as to whether this is a valid problem i
n your case or not. If you do not tell your lawyer, however, and you misrepresent your accident
history to the insurance company, then it is almost guaranteed that you will lose your case.
3. Hiding Other Injuries
It goes without saying that you should be upfront and honest with your attorney about any injuries
that occurred before or after this accident. Again, if you saw a doctor or other healthcare provider,
then there is a record in existence that the insurance company will find. Your lawyer can deal with
this if he knows about it. If you lie about it, and the insurance company finds out, then your case is
4. Failing to Get Prompt Medical Attention
Many people do not recognize the seriousness of their injuries immediately after an accident or
simply believe that resting in bed for a few days will make the pain go away. While this may be
true, if a person claiming a serious injury waits too long to see a doctor or go to an
emergency department the insurance company will think they were not seriously hurt or that the
injury did not happen in the accident.
5. Missing Medical Appointments and Not Following Medical Advice
If you do not show up for your doctor’s visits or do not follow the recommendations of your doctors,
the insurance companies will assume that you were not seriously hurt and do not care enough
about getting better. They will assume that you have a small case, even if you have serious
injuries. Juries also do not like it when a person claims to have a serious injury but does not
go to scheduled medical appointments.
6. Misrepresenting Your Activity Level
Insurance companies routinely hire private investigators to conduct videotape surveillance. If you claim that you
cannot run, climb or stoop, and you get caught on videotape, your claim can be destroyed. It is very difficult to
overcome the eye of the camera.