Expect that your auto insurance company and at-fault driver's insurance company will conduct surveillance and hire investigators to take photos and videos of you at some point 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.
Signing Away Your Rights
Do NOT sign ANYTHING until you check with your auto accident lawyer. Even seemingly innocent papers such as car damage (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. Always check with your car accident lawyer first.
Divulging Information Online
Defense attorneys and insurance adjusters will investigate your MySpace, Facebook and related Web pages, blogs or Twitter accounts -- even when set as 'Private' -- and look for things that can help their case against you. The purpose of this Internet research is to attempt to show that you are not as injured as you claim. So be careful about postings and photos of your activities. Avoid posting new items and remove any items that can be used to discredit you. One example is a truck accident victim who posted pictures of himself skiing on Facebook. Even though the activity occurred before the accident, the mere accusation of fraud by defense lawyers can be enough for suspicious jurors.
Forgetting to Document Your Injuries
Anytime you have a surgery or a visible injury, take pictures. Or contact your auto accident lawyer and he will send a photographer to document your injuries before it's too late. Videos are also great tools to show a jury or an insurance company adjuster just how difficult things have been in the days and weeks 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.
Poor Communication With Your Lawyer
The best way to avoid mistakes in a lawsuit is to maintain excellent communication with your car accident lawyer. There are so many confusing laws that can wreak havoc on an automobile accident case, even when people are trying to be truthful, honest and do the right thing. The best advice remains the simplest: Call your car accident lawyer if you have a question, and certainly before doing something that can have an important impact on your case.
Additional resources provided by the author
For more information on auto accidents, visit the Car Accident Resource Center where you’ll find helpful information on dealing with insurance companies, documenting injuries, FAQs and what to do following an accident.