You may decide to wait a week or two to see if your sore neck or back gets better on its own. However, this thinking can kill your case. The insurance company will try to say that if you were really hurt in the accident you would have gone to the ER immediately or at the very least have seen a doctor the next day. Many jurors also believe this and expect to see immediate complaints of pain and injury in the medical records of a person claiming to be injured.
Not calling the police or gathering sufficient information at the scene.
The insurance company may dispute the facts of the case without verifiable documentation from the police. Not calling the police can also be against the law. Under California law, you must call the police if a car accident causes injury or death to anyone involved.
Giving too much information to the at-fault driver's insurance company right after the accident.
Right after the accident you may be taking pain medication or not yet have started to feel the full effects of the accident, when the adjustor calls and tries to pin you down by asking you to describe any and all problems you are having. This statement may be used against you at a later date. Adjustors may also try to make it seem like you caused or contributed to the crash based on some technical rule of the law. Insurance adjustors have been trained on how to interview you and they
may easily wind up putting words in your mouth. Again, they may use this "recorded statement" against you, saying that you admitted part or full responsibility for causing the accident.
Waiting too long before hiring a lawyer.
Many people get much less than they deserve because while they were trying to recover from serious injuries the insurance company was investigating the case, and evidence was being destroyed and witnesses lost. Hiring a lawyer early allows you to have someone investigating your case while you try to heal.
Hiding past accidents and injuries from your lawyer and/or doctors.
The insurance industry has an extensive database and they will find out about any prior accidents you have had. They will also find out about all your prior medical records. Hiding information from your lawyer or doctor can be devastating to your personal injury case!
Failing to show up for medical appointments or having gaps in treatment.
When the insurance adjustor sees "no shows" (missed appointments) in a medical record, he or she knows that they may not have to pay out much, if any, money to the injured party if the case goes to trial. Having gaps in treatment, and/or not getting medical care for long periods of time, have the same effect on jurors and adjustors. They often interpret this to mean that you were not so badly hurt or that you have healed from the injuries caused by the accident.
Misrepresenting your level of activity.
When you are caught "exaggerating," "misrepresenting," or "lying" about your level of activity, your case
will sink like a lead balloon.
Do not destroy your credibility! Tell the truth.
Making damaging statements to the doctor that show up in records.
You need to be aware that any statement you make to your doctor may show up in the medical records and then be a permanent record in the case. Be accurate in your statements to your doctor after an accident. Many clients try to seem macho by saying that their injuries don't hurt much-when, in fact, they do. Now is not the time to be a hero.
Staying out of work unnecessarily.
Many times the victim of a motor vehicle collision will stay out of work even though the doctor does not clearly indicate that he or she should do so. It is extremely difficult to prove that you should be compensated for your absence from work unless the doctor has instructed you in writing to stay out of work. You should stay out of work only for as long as the doctor releases you to return to work or if you feel capable of returning to work.
Failure to keep a detailed diary.
It is a mistake not to keep a written record of your injuries, how they affect you and the problems you are having, including the pain and discomfort. This written record is best kept in a diary or spiral notebook that you should keep with you constantly, especially during the first few weeks after the injury. It may be months, and sometimes even years, before your claim is finally concluded. It may be difficult to recall accurately all aspects of the injuries, pain, and discomfort that you suffered after the passage of time.
Additional resources provided by the author
To provide helpful information, Ross Jurewitz has written a free book and guide, The Ten Biggest Mistakes that Can Destroy Your California Accident Case. Order your copy at http://freecaliforniainjurybook.com.
Our Rating is calculated using information the lawyer has included on
their profile in addition to the information we collect from state
bar associations and other organizations that license legal
professionals. Attorneys who claim their profiles and provide Avvo
with more information tend to have a higher rating than those who do
What determines Avvo Rating?
Experience & background
Years licensed, work experience, education
Legal community recognition
Peer endorsements, associations, awards
Legal thought leadership
Publications, speaking engagements
This lawyer was disciplined by a state licensing authority in .
Disciplinary information may not be comprehensive, or updated. We recommend that you always check a lawyer's disciplinary status with their respective state bar association before hiring them.