Delaying hiring a lawyer after a serious accident can seriously damage your claim. A recent case reminded me of this, because by the time the client got around to hiring me, the commercial trucks involved had already been destroyed. Why does this matter? The vehicles involved in a wreck are vital evidence. Not having them means you are limited in proving information about what happened and who was at fault.
When you’ve suffered a personal injury, whether it be vehicle-related or otherwise, it’s hard to think about anything other than getting over the shock of the event and recovering. But taking the first steps of legal action also needs to be at the top of your priority list. Delaying action on your own behalf means that memories fade, physical evidence disappears, and it becomes more challenging to make your case.
Delaying getting legal advice can lead to other problems. If you’ve waited to reach out to a lawyer who can educate you on your rights and options, an insurance adjuster may question you about the incident before you’ve been advised on what’s appropriate to say and what not to say. Adjusters are experts at getting you to say things that are good for them and bad for you. Remember: Although they may be friendly, the insurance adjuster is not your friend. His job is trying to figure out a way to pay you as little as possible or nothing at all.
Delay is as harmful to legal statements as it is severe for medical procedures. Not only is it physically dangerous to delay getting the treatments you need, but it also creates more problems for your case. Not getting treatment right away suggests to the opposing party that your injuries were not serious, which they can and will use against you. Even though there may be extenuating circumstances, like being unable to afford the procedures or simply not having time for them, seeking medical attention as soon as possible helps with both your physical healing as well as the legal health of your case.
Another reason to contact a lawyer immediately after your accident is the difficulty of getting medical records. Medical record companies are often very slow in providing the records you need to document your injuries and pursue your legal rights. And getting medical lien records regarding how much you owe a health insurer if you settle your case can also be very time-consuming. Medicare and Medicaid often take six months to provide lien amounts. Even private insurers can take months to gather and turn over records. The sooner you start the process with all these entities, the sooner you get results. You only have a certain amount of time after an accident to file a lawsuit. Otherwise, you can never sue over your injuries. Waiting too long to start gathering evidence and records can make it hard to meet this deadline. At a minimum, this delay lengthens your case, which adds to expenses and wears you out emotionally.
If you’ve been injured by someone else’s negligence, don’t wait. Take the first step now by educating yourself about your rights and how to pursue your claim. Before you contact a lawyer, download my free legal guide “Win Your Texas Injury Case”.