If you are involved in an accident caused by other people’s carelessness, you’re likely going to need the help of Philadelphia injury attorneys in getting compensation for damages. But your actions before or during the damage claims process may jeopardize your chances of getting compensated. It is therefore very important to be mindful of your actions and avoid doing things that could reduce your chances of recovering damages.
DO YOU NEED TO SUPPLY A STATEMENT
A common mistake an aggrieved party could make in a damage claim is to give an unguided statement to the defendant’s insurance company. When you’re involved in a lawsuit for damages, it’s almost inevitable that you’ll have to deal with insurance companies.
You might have to deal with your own insurance company and that of the defendant in a damage claim case. During this encounter, you might be asked to provide a statement to help settle the damage claims. The budding question now becomes, is it alright to give such a statement?
Firstly, if it’s your insurance company that is asking for a statement, you should consider doing so. Since they are likely going to be on your side, your statements may not have a huge impact if at all on your damage claims against the defendant. They’ll likely request a statement in order to get a clear understanding of what actually transpired during the accident. Also, should you be found negligent in any way, it may be required by your insurance company that you give a statement for your insurance coverage to be valid.
Therefore, on the part of your own insurance company, it might be perfectly okay to give a statement. But then again, it’s quite rare for your own insurance company to ask you for a statement.
However, just as your own insurance company is on your side, so will the defendant’s insurance company on theirs. It is very important to know that you are not legally obligated to give the defendant’s insurance company a statement, so your refusal may not hold any legal implications.
When an accident involving injuries occur, the defendant’s insurance company will almost certainly need a recorded statement from the plaintiff. If this ever happens to you, the smartest decision to make at that point is to decline. No matter how innocent the questions you’re being asked might appear, it’s best to avoid them.
Remember, alongside the defendant, the insurance company is going to be the one bearing the cost for damages, so they will try all means to reduce the monetary value or avoid compensations totally. The defendant’s insurance company is likely staffed by professionals who know the right questions to ask to get you to unknowingly acknowledge some fault on your part.
PROBLEMS WHEN GIVING A STATEMENT
This is usually where the problem starts, unknowingly admitting fault here and there might eventually all add up. All the defendant’s insurance company needs would be a little percentage of fault on your part to greatly weaken your claim. The more fault you unknowingly admit, the weaker your claim gets. Also, by admitting fault in any way, you are potentially reducing the cash value of your claims.
Let’s say you had sustained a serious head injury while using a motorcycle and your damage claims in medical bills were worth $10,000. If you subtly give any clues to the insurance company that you weren’t wearing the approved helmet stipulated by law. The defendant’s lawyer could establish in court that though you purportedly used a helmet, it didn’t meet the approved safety standards and thus legally seen as negligence on your part.
In other words, since there’s some negligence on your part, you might not get $10,000 worth of compensations but a fairly or even significantly smaller amount. Also, in addition to not using a recommended helmet, if the defendant’s lawyer can also pin some minor negligent actions on you, you could totally lose the right to compensation.
Let’s say you unsuspectingly accepted to using muscle relaxers or any prescription drugs which could induce sleep or make you feel fatigued. You might initially think it’s okay since they aren’t particularly hard drugs neither were you using them abusively. But using substances that have the tendency to impair your decision making speed or abilities while driving could count as a fault on it on.
Remember, to be able to recover damages, you must be at most 50% at fault or less. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that the defendant was undoubtedly at fault. The law has its powers, but it also has a lot of loopholes. If other minor negligence are pinned on you and it sums up to more than 50% negligence on your part, you might be in line to lose all compensations.
However, you might be lucky enough to avoid saying things that the defendant’s lawyer can use against you. But it is still a big problem if the insurance company has your statement on record. These folks are trained professionals, so yes they are smart. In court, they’ll probably ask you to give an account of what happened in front of the jury.
To you, it might be alright to have some slight variations from the statement the defendant’s insurance company has on record. Maybe it is hard for you to remember and give the exact same statement in court. It may also be that you made slight variations to increase your chances of victory. But either way, if they find discrepancies in your statements, they’ll try using this to establish that your statement is untrustworthy, limit your claims or worst off totally deny you of them.
HIRE AN ATTORNEY
Bottom line is, never handle legal cases without the guidance of a lawyer, not even answering questions. When trying to secure compensation for damages, all your communications with the defendant’s lawyer or insurance company should be through your own lawyer. Though it seems logical to try talking up your claims with your defendant’s insurance company, nothing could be less productive as that. In the scenario that what you only benefit you, they likely never going to bring it up in court. So why take the stress?