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If you suffer an injury wholly or partly due to someone else’s negligence, you may be able to seek compensation for your injury by making a personal injury claim.

But it’s not as easy as it sounds. There are many criteria to meet and potential pitfalls to avoid. In this article, we’ll look at the top 12 mistakes to avoid in a personal injury claim and why we recommend getting expert legal advice before you do.

1. Not understanding what personal injury is

The term ‘personal injury’ covers a wide range of situations. The injury might be physical, psychological or emotional – or even fatal.

There are several personal injury claim types, but most injuries will fall under:

  • public liability
  • motor vehicle accident
  • workers compensation
  • general personal injury (i.e. a victim of crime).

A personal injury can occur while you’re:

  • at your workplace
  • in a shopping centre
  • driving a motor vehicle
  • on public transport
  • walking in a park
  • in an office building.

The key is to prove that another party was negligent in some way, which caused the injury.

2. Thinking it’s easy to make a personal injury claim

TV ads make personal injury claims look simple, but it’s not usually the case. As you can see above, there’s no one-size-fits-all for personal injury – every situation is different. Some claims are straightforward, but others may involve multiple parties, differing stories, lack of evidence and other issues.

An expert personal injury lawyer, like Main Lawyers, is experienced in dealing with the complexities of these cases.

motor vehicle accident

3. Believing the claim process will be quick

Every personal injury claim is different. Therefore, the time it takes to resolve the claim depends on several factors, including the amount of evidence available, the complexity of the case and the severity of your injury.

If the at-fault party is unwilling to settle at all or for an appropriate amount, the case could go to court and the process will take longer. So it’s best to start your claim as soon as you can.

4. Assuming they don’t have a case

We see this all the time – people assuming they can’t make a personal injury claim because they were partly responsible for their injury. Perhaps they didn’t heed a warning sign or they arrived late to workplace training.

But perhaps the sign was placed in the wrong location or the trainer never covered the information you needed to prevent your injury.

This is called ‘contributory negligence’ – when parties share responsibility for the injury. You might still have a claim in this case. Even if you’re partly at fault, you might receive a proportion of the compensation you would’ve otherwise received.

Never assume that you can’t make a personal injury claim – check with us first!

5. Believing they have to go to court

One of the biggest mistakes to avoid in a personal injury claim is believing you need to go to court to get an outcome. The good news is that not every personal injury case goes to court. In fact, most cases are resolved through negotiation or mediation, without the need for court.

However, if negotiations with the other party fail, a court will need to determine who is at fault and any settlement amount you’re entitled to. But you won’t be alone – our personal injury lawyers will be fighting on your behalf the entire way.

6. Waiting too long to make a claim

Many people make the mistake of waiting too long to make a personal injury claim. Often, they’re still recovering from their injury and believe they can think about paperwork later.

However, there are strict timeframes for making a claim, depending on the type of claim, so delays could prevent you from getting the compensation you need to recover fully and pay your expenses.

Generally, you have 9 months after your injury to tell the other party you’re making a claim. And only 1 month from the time you instruct your lawyer. You have 3 years from your injury to make a claim or start court action.

Waiting too long could also make your case harder to prove. Witnesses might forget details and crucial evidence might be lost or destroyed.

So you should start your personal injury claim as soon as you can. If you’re still unwell, your lawyer can perform these tasks for you while you recover.

7. Not getting medical treatment

It’s essential to get medical help as soon as you can after your injury. Even if the injury seems minor, there could be underlying problems that come up days, weeks or even months later.

This medical evidence can also help support your claim. Without it, you might not receive all the compensation you need and deserve.

8. Not considering psychological injury

Physical injury can impact your life while you recover, but psychological injury can also affect your day-to-day life for weeks, months or even longer. It could reduce your ability to earn a living as well as your quality of life. You might need to pay for psychiatric treatment and lost income if you can’t work.

So it’s important to make a personal injury claim for any mental harm you’ve suffered, as well as any physical harm, to get the compensation you need to live and recover.

Proving psychological injury can be more difficult physical injury, so you should discuss your case with an experienced legal professional with many successes in this area – like our team at Main Lawyers.

9. Not having enough evidence

Having the right evidence is vital to proving your personal injury claim. As each case is different, the evidence you need will be different. This could be medical records, photos, dashcam footage, witness accounts and more.

From the date of your injury, keep receipts and other documents that show the related expenses you’ve paid. These could be medication and treatment receipts, medical bills, taxi costs to and from hospital, etc.

Medical records will help show the impact of the injury on your life, which is a factor in calculating the compensation you’re entitled to.

Your personal injury lawyer will tell you what evidence you need and help you gather this documentation.

10. Agreeing to a settlement too quickly

The at-fault party or their insurer might offer you a settlement immediately after your accident. But this offer may be only a fraction of what you’re entitled to. You may not yet know the full extent of your injury and the impact it will have on your life.

Insurers do all they can to limit the amount of money they pay out. Therefore, you should never accept a settlement offer too quickly. Once you accept a settlement, you give up the right to claim further compensation if something happens later, such as a worsening of your condition due to delayed symptoms. Your lawyer can negotiate settlement on your behalf.

11. Believing you don’t need a lawyer

As you can see, the process of claiming personal injury compensation can be complex with many pitfalls. If you don’t fully understand your rights and options, you could miss out on compensation you’re entitled to.

An experienced personal injury lawyer knows the legal system and negotiates with insurers every day. They know how to best prove your claim and get you a fair settlement.

Additionally, at Main Lawyers, we have a no-win, no fee guarantee. This means you won’t pay any professional fees until you win or settle your case. This takes the pressure off while we do the work and you focus on your recovery.

12. Getting the wrong type of lawyer

Often, people who have suffered a personal injury will choose a lawyer based on word of mouth. But not all lawyers are experts in personal injury law and someone else’s lawyer might not be right for you.

When you choose a personal injury lawyer, you need to make sure they can get the best result for you. Look out for these things:

  • Experience – they need a track record of success with personal injury claims
  • Qualifications – they must be qualified to work in your state, as different states have different accreditation
  • Transparency – they must be able to explain their payment system simply and answer your questions openly (rather than evade questions and over-promise)
  • Testimonials and references – they should have previous clients with similar cases who have positive things to say about their experience.

When you’ve suffered an injury, you need a lawyer you can trust to get you everything you’re entitled to. An inexperienced or ineffective lawyer could cost you thousands in lost compensation.

How Main Lawyers can help

While it may look simple enough to make a personal injury claim, many cases can actually be quite complex. If you don’t fully understand the process, you risk not getting the compensation you need to pay your bills and get vital treatment. Now that you know the top mistakes to avoid in a personal injury claim it’s important to get help to ensure you get what you’re entitled to. 

At Main Lawyers, our personal injury lawyers are experts in this area and have helped countless clients make successful claims. We offer a no-win no-fee service, so we can find out more about your case and you can learn more about how we can help.

Don’t delay your claim – contact us to start the process today!

Lachlan Main from Main Lawyers