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Mistakes to Avoid in a Personal Injury Claim

Colburn Law

Mistakes to Avoid in a Personal Injury Claim

Filing a personal injury lawsuit is highly complex and involves a series of important steps. Any mistakes during the claims process can delay your claim or prevent you from recovering compensation altogether. By hiring an experienced personal injury attorney to assist you through this process, you can avoid common errors and protect your right to compensation. 

Waiting Too Long to File

In Washington, all personal injury lawsuits are subject to a law known as the statute of limitations. This rule establishes a filing deadline for civil claims; if you do not file your claim within the appropriate time period, the court will likely dismiss your case. This will prevent you from recovering the compensation you need.

You generally have three years from the date of your accident to file a personal injury lawsuit. While there are some exceptions to the statute of limitations, they do not always apply. To protect your claim, it is important to initiate your claim as soon as possible.

Accepting the First Settlement Offer

When filing a personal injury claim, the at-fault party’s insurance company or attorney may present you with an early settlement offer. Since the average personal injury claim can take a year or more to resolve, you may be tempted to accept compensation as soon as possible. However, this settlement may not be sufficient to meet your needs.

In the early stages of your case, you may not have a complete understanding of the long-term impact of your injuries or the amount of compensation you will actually need. If you accept an insufficient offer, you may experience financial hardship later on. In these situations, you should not accept an early settlement before consulting with your attorney.

Not Calculating the Full Extent of Your Damages

If you want to file a personal injury claim, it is important to hold the at-fault party accountable for all of the damages you suffered—from medical expenses to lost wages and pain and suffering. Before entering negotiations or accepting a settlement, you should accurately calculate the full extent of your losses so you can accept a sufficient offer. 

Your personal injury lawyer can help you calculate your damages and identify all possible avenues to compensation. He or she can enlist the help of expert witnesses, like medical professionals and life care planners, who can estimate your long-term care costs. Your attorney will also understand the formulas that insurance companies use to calculate intangible losses, such as pain and suffering damages. 

Not Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer

If you are planning on filing a personal injury lawsuit, you need an attorney on your side. Without a lawyer, you will need to handle all aspects of your claim by yourself—which can be difficult after a recent injury. You will also lack access to the resources and the skills that a lawyer can provide, such as expert witnesses who can testify on your behalf and experience negotiating with insurance companies and defense lawyers. 

To strengthen your case, it is important to hire a lawyer to represent your claim. A Washington personal injury lawyer can guide you through the litigation process and help you avoid common errors that can harm your case. As soon as possible following your car accident, schedule a free consultation with an attorney to discuss your legal options.