Failing to meet the applicable filing deadline, signing a settlement agreement without talking to an attorney, and not tracking injury-related expenses are common mistakes people make when filing a California TBI claim. Other errors include exaggerating injuries and not following doctor recommendations. Many of these errors are inadvertent, but they can greatly impact a victim’s claim. If you have any questions about the process of filing a lawsuit or negotiating a settlement with the at-fault party and their insurance company, consider contacting an experienced attorney who can help.
GJEL Accident Attorneys are here to help TBI victims tell their stories and pursue justice.
Filing Exaggerated Personal Injury Claims
One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a personal injury claimant is exaggerating your claims. You might be overwhelmed about calculating the exact amount of your expenses, so you take a shortcut and simply round up significantly. Or you might overstate your injuries, thinking this will help the court or the at-fault parties take them seriously. Regardless of the reason for the exaggeration or misstatement, typically, this type of conduct only hurts your claim.
You should be as accurate as possible when describing the reason for the accident and the consequence of the injury. Accurately explain the cause of the accident, how the injury impacts your daily life, and the projected recovery timeline. Misstatements or exaggerations about the other party’s behavior will likely give the court a negative impression of your honesty and your case. Combat this by being truthful but persuasive.
Not Filing Your TBI Lawsuit on Time
California requires you to file a lawsuit within a certain amount of time after you have been injured in an accident. In many cases, the deadline, called a statute of limitations, is two years after the accident. The filing deadline is typically around six months if the at-fault party is the government. If the injury victim is a child, they may have additional time to file. Consider contacting a personal injury attorney to find out your application deadlines.
One mistake TBI victims commonly make is waiting until the last minute or until after the applicable deadline tolls to file a TBI claim. Unfortunately, the California court may not allow you to file a case if you try to do so outside the deadline. It’s natural to be hesitant about initiating an injury claim. But if you wait too long, the deadline may come and go and bar you from getting compensation—no matter how high your costs run. Therefore, you should take swift action if you believe someone else is at fault for your injury.
Not Following Your Doctor’s Recommendations
Another common error many injury victims make is not following their doctor’s recommendations. Strict adherence to the doctor’s treatment recommendations is essential to your claim. The insurance company or the at-fault party typically scrutinizes your medical records, looking for signs that you did not do what the doctor instructed. They may use these missteps to argue that your injury did not stem from the accident—but instead stems from or was exacerbated by your deviation from the treatment protocol.
Victims can save themselves from the potential hassle by following the doctor’s orders as closely as possible. Of course, if the doctor’s instructions are making the symptoms worse rather than better, it may be time to get a second opinion. But overall, following your doctor’s instructions and attending all appointments can go a long way in helping your claim.
Signing a Settlement Agreement Without Talking to an Attorney
Another mistake many injury victims make is signing a settlement agreement without talking to an attorney first. Insurance companies and at-fault parties want to minimize the amount they pay to victims. One way they accomplish this is by offering quick-fix settlements right after you file a claim. Unfortunately, this initial offer is often much lower than the claim’s actual value.
The insurance company hopes this quick money offer will persuade you to sign on the dotted line quickly before you even know the true extent of your injuries or how much it will cost you down the road. Once you sign the settlement agreement, the at-fault party and insurance company are typically off the hook. You can never go back for more money, regardless of how much more it ends up costing you.
A lawyer can help immensely by evaluating the circumstances of the injury and engaging in negotiations with the at-fault party and their insurance company to get a fair settlement. They can also advise victims on the estimated value of the claim so they can decide if signing the insurance company’s offer is in their best interest.
Not Tracking Your Injury-Related Expenses Carefully
Finally, another common mistake is not carefully tracking injury-related expenses. TBIs can cause debilitating symptoms, such as difficulty concentrating, altered states of consciousness, memory challenges, migraines, or loss of functions. Therefore, the costs associated with managing and treating this condition can vary greatly. To help increase your chances of receiving fair compensation, you should carefully track your expenses.
Keep clear records of anything that might be related to the accident. If you are unsure if something is injury or accident-related, track it just in case.
GJEL Accident Attorneys Can Help
When you experience a traumatic brain injury, you are bombarded with many pressing matters, such as unexpected medical expenses, altered cognitive functioning, memory problems, accident-related property repairs, and more. You may file a legal claim to help recoup your losses and hold the at-fault party responsible. Many accident victims are counting on the compensation to help them make ends meet, and you may feel the same.
The last thing you want is to hear that your TBI claim is denied because of an inadvertent error. Following the steps in this post can help victims avoid common mistakes people often make.
GJEL has decades of experience helping TBI victims pursue compensation. Since 1972, we have helped clients recover over $951 million from businesses, insurance companies, and others who negligently injured them.
If you experienced a TBI because of someone else’s action, contact us today to schedule a free consultation.
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