Virginia Personal Injury and Accident Law

Personal injury claims should not be handled alone, as common mistakes can have negative consequences. Mistakes can prove fatal to or diminish the value of a claim. Either way, you are not made whole. Our mission at PLDR Law is to obtain maximum, but fair, compensation. We share this free information with the public to help you choose a knowledgeable attorney.

  1. Fail to Contact the Police. The police will document the accident in a report, which later becomes accessible to you and the attorney. The accident report will contain the offending driver’s contact and insurance information, describe how the accident occurred, give details about the road conditions, among other useful information. The officer will often provide helpful testimony at trial about the accident scene and, perhaps, any admissions of fault made by the other driver.
  2. Fail to Document Injuries and Impact to Daily Activities. Evidence is the lifeblood of your case. Photograph your injuries, as it will help the jury understand the pain it has caused you. Photograph your vehicle, as it will portray the severity of the crash. Keep a daily log of how the injuries have prevented you from performing normal tasks, such as mowing the lawn or walking stairs.
  3. Fail to Promptly See a Doctor. Insurance companies may claim that you waited too long to seek medical treatment, arguing that your injuries were unrelated to the accident or are seeing the doctor simply to build a case. Do not ignore physical symptoms, as it could be evidence of a significant medical problem that may need immediate attention.
  4. Fail to Obtain Work Release Order from Doctor. If you are unable to work due to injury, advise your doctor of the problem. The doctor, depending on your circumstances, may excuse you from work via a written order. The order will generally cover a specific period with an expiration date. Consult with your doctor prior to the expiration date to see if you are medically cleared to return to work. If not cleared, you will need to get another order extending your absence. These work release orders will help support a lost wage claim.
  5. Miss Doctor’s Appointment or Ignore Doctor’s Orders. When you miss a doctor’s appointment or ignore orders, a window of opportunity is created for the defense team to argue that you are not taking the injury seriously or contributing to your medical problems. If you need to miss an appointment, call the doctor’s office in advance and promptly reschedule.
  6. Give Recorded or Written Statement to Insurance Company. When you make a claim with the defendant’s insurance company, you will speak with a claims adjuster, an employee of the insurance company. The claims adjuster is paid by the insurance company and his allegiance is to his employer, not you. The claims adjuster will ask you to give a recorded statement, either in writing or by phone. The claims adjuster will look for facts and issues that will lower the value of your claim. Giving a statement may “box in” your version of the events. For instance, you call on the date of the accident and report that you were not injured. On the next day, your lower back hurts and you cannot get out of bed. The statement, although truthful at the time, has negatively impacted the value of the case.
  7. Sign Insurance Company’s Check, Release or Medical Authorization. Do not sign any document that the insurance company sends you. An attorney can advise you of the implications of your stroke of the pen. By signing a release or check, your claim could be fully settled, even though you may be entitled to additional recovery. For example, you received physical therapy for two weeks, believing to be fully recovered. The insurance company sends you a check and a release. You sign the documents but later find out that you need back surgery. The release will preclude you from recovering for any additional treatment. Similarly to your disadvantage, a medical authorization will allow the insurance company to directly request records from your health care providers, perhaps disclosing similar but unrelated injuries or sensitive information.
  8. Post to Social Media. Any post, whether a statement or picture, to Facebook, Twitter, or other social media can prove harmful, even fatal, to your case. Avoid social media until your case is fully resolved. Do not make statements about the case or post any pictures. Even the most innocent post can unknowingly impact the value of your case. For instance, you claim that your lower back injury makes it difficult to stand or walk long periods of time. You, however, post a photograph of yourself walking a dog after the accident. This photo can be evidence to refute your claim.
  9. Fail to Hire an Attorney. While you do not need an attorney by law to represent you, a good, experienced attorney will help you properly structure your case, help you maximize your recovery, and avoid pitfalls that could kill, such as missing a filing deadline, or diminish the value of the case.
  10. Fail to Keep a File. An organized and prepared client is an attorney’s best friend. Photographs, accident report, letters from health care providers and insurance companies, and all records related to the accident and injuries should be kept in one location. These records will be used by an attorney to pursue your case.

PLDR Law Chad Mooney 1

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Lynchburg, VA 24504 

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