The best strategy for how to win a car accident lawsuit is to avoid these common mistakes that can reduce an innocent crash victim’s ability to recover full compensation and damages. Remember also it is never a mistake to tell the truth and provide accurate information. You should avoid any car accident lawyer who tells you otherwise.
An experienced auto accident attorney can also help you and your family recover full and fair compensation that you are legally entitled to after a car accident.
Telling the truth is an important first step to win a car accident lawsuit
Telling the truth is always important. Remember, juries – and for that matter claims adjusters at insurance companies – tend to want to help people they like, respect, and trust. Getting caught in lies such as denying past injuries or accidents that are often easily discoverable in this age of computerized medical records and social security numbers is one of the easiest ways to lose a case. Lying about anything – your injuries, your prior or pre-existing pains, how a crash occurred – can all have disastrous consequences. It makes the defense lawyer’s job easier and it can quite literally kill your car accident lawsuit.
In fact, many insurance companies now have contractual provisions in their policies that say providing false information on an insurance application can be used by your insurance company to VOID CONTRACTUAL CLAIMS FOR PERSONAL INJURY, such as for uninsured motorist coverage. That means you will quite literally lose the right to file an uninsured motorist car accident lawsuit, even if you were completely innocent when the crash occurred and seriously hurt. These are easy mistakes to avoid. Always tell the truth.
Always be accurate on your No-Fault submittals
Be as accurate as you can when submitting No-Fault forms for wage loss, replacement services, out of pocket medical costs, attendant care, mileage, and anything else that you submit to your insurance company. This, along with the tip above, goes more to avoiding mistakes that can lose a car accident case than it does directly with how to win a car accident lawsuit. This also applies to forms and information you provide to your health insurer and your insurance disability carrier. Understand all of these forms are going to be carefully looked over when you are in a lawsuit by defense lawyers, claims adjusters, and paralegals. They are deliberately looking for evidence of fraud and misrepresentation that they can use in the car accident lawsuit case against you.
Paying close attention to the accuracy of the information that you provide to an insurance company has never been more important because some insurance companies are now attempting to use the smallest, most insignificant, even the most innocent of mistakes so they can accuse you of attempting to commit deliberate “fraud” so the insurer can then deny your claim and refuse to pay No-Fault PIP benefits.
Sadly, this unscrupulous activity by insurance companies is all quite legal under Michigan law. In Bahri vs. IDS Property Casualty Insurance Company, the Michigan Court of Appeals held that inaccurate submissions to the auto insurance company can result in a crash victim losing all No-Fault insurance benefits.
As a result, especially if you’ve been seriously injured in a car accident and have a potential claim that will be costly for your insurance company, you must assume all of your submittals will be looked over with a fine-tooth comb. If you’ve been seriously injured and you’ve hired a lawyer to file a car accident lawsuit on your behalf against the at-fault negligent driver, assume that the insurance defense lawyer on the other side will also be going through all of your submittals to your own insurance company, health insurer, and employer, carefully reviewing every insurance form and application that you have submitted.
Staying off social media is important to win a car accident lawsuit
My advice to all of my clients for how to win a car accident lawsuit is to stay off social media. You cannot delete what you have already put out there – and you will be severely sanctioned if it is discovered you deleted posted information. But without deleting information, you can and you should stop posting anything new to social media immediately. This applies to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Snapchat, You Tube and LinkedIn. You should also make sure to immediately set all of your accounts to private. You need to understand that social media is now the first thing that adjusters and lawyers on the other side will look at – and they are looking for things you post to hurt your case and to try to show prove that you are not as hurt as you claim you are.
Why is avoiding social media so important to winning a car accident lawsuit? Because insurance adjusters and defense attorneys will scour your posts, comments and photos – even when your accounts are set to “private” – to try to find something they can use to say that you are not as injured as you claim. Posts and pictures (especially without dates) on social media can and have been deliberately used out of context to destroy legitimate cases for people who are really hurt.
To learn more, please watch this video:
Avoid talking to others about your case is another important step in how to win a car accident lawsuit
Refrain from talking to anyone other than your own personal injury lawyer about your case. If a claims adjuster, private investigator or defense lawyer wants to speak with you about your case, tell them to contact your lawyer. And never tell others what you and your lawyer have discussed.
Communications between you and your lawyer and his or her legal team are protected by attorney-client privilege, but you lose this protection if you share with other people what your lawyer has said to you. Never talk about your lawsuit with doctors, especially the defense medical examiners that you may be required to see as part of a car accident lawsuit – even if these doctors ask you about your lawsuit. Remember also it is a small world. Talking about settlement offers or demands or how much you will really take has a funny way of getting back to people. Nearly everyone knows someone that works for an insurance company.
Remember surveillance is common
Keep in mind that the insurance companies – both your own No-Fault carrier and the insurance company representing the person you have sued in a car accident lawsuit – may and likely will have you under “surveillance” at multiple times during a lawsuit. Surveillance most often involves investigators who are watching your activity and comings and goings.
Insurers may use “surveillance” to try to show you are not as injured as your claim, but what they really are hoping for is to “catch” you doing something you have already claimed you are too disabled from doing.
Remember that everyone can have a good day. Pain often has cycles of aggravation and cycles where the pain is less severe. Everyone can have a good day where they want to try something that they previously have not been able to do because of pain and restrictions. If you have tried to do something, that’s perfectly fine, as long as you can admit that you have tried it. People only get in trouble when they deny something that is already on video. Trust me, as a car accident lawyer who has tried as many car accident and truck accident cases as any lawyer in this state, a jury will understand if you admit you tried something, as long as you can also explain the proper context so they understand, such as that you were having a good day or you were taking strong pain medication and you wanted to try to do something.
On the other hand, no one understands when a crash victim denies something that is caught on surveillance video. If you’ve tried to do something – even just once – and if you are ever asked about it, you have to assume that you are already on film doing it. Always remember rule #1 and tell the truth. You can explain the circumstances, for example that you tried it once and you paid a price for trying it because your pain flared up and you never tried it again. But if you deny something and you’re on surveillance video doing the thing you denied, that’s a quick way toruin your car accident lawsuit.
Not signing away your legal rights away so you never have a chance to win a car accident lawsuit
Do NOT sign any checks, releases, waivers and/or offers of settlement presented to you by insurance adjusters, defense lawyers or claims adjusting companies that work for insurance companies unless you have first talked with your lawyer and he or she has reviewed these documents. These documents may have release language that literally will take away your legal rights to sue – and losing the legal right to sue before you can even file a lawsuit is the exact opposite of how to win a car accident lawsuit.
My advice is to always err on the side of caution because there are too many dirty insurance company settlement tactics and adjusters who will lie to you and attempt to deceive you into forfeiting all of your legal rights to benefits and compensation. I’ve even seen some adjusters attempt to put a total release of the right to pursue a car accident lawsuit in a mini tort release.
Check with your lawyer first. Call Michigan Auto Law at (800) 777-0028 if you have questions.
Filing a timely car accident lawsuit (and No-Fault application for benefits, submittals, and No-Fault lawsuit)
You can’t win a car accident lawsuit if you lose the right to even file a lawsuit to begin with. Nearly every important part of the legal process has time requirements involved.
In Michigan, for example, you have three years to file a car accident lawsuit against a negligent party. If you wait beyond three years, you lose the right to sue no matter how innocent you are or how badly you are hurt.
In addition, a first party PIP claim also has an important statute of limitation. You must make sure that you file a timely application for No-Fault benefits – which is also called your “written notice of injury” – with the responsible auto insurance company within ONE (1) year after your automobile crash. (MCL 500.3145(1) and (4))
Your No-Fault benefits will pay for your medical bills, lost wages, medical mileage and transportation costs, household replacement services (chores, help around the house) and attendant care (nursing services).
If you fail to file your No-Fault application for benefits on time – within ONE YEAR from the date of your automobile crash – then you will forever lose any benefits to which you might be entitled. Once you’ve filed too late, these benefits are gone forever.
Following your doctor’s advice is important if you are to win a car accident lawsuit
Listening to your doctor, following your doctor’s treatment advice and never missing your doctor and therapy appointments is important if you are to win a car accident lawsuit.
First the obvious, following your doctor’s advice is necessary for your care, recovery and rehabilitation. Second, it deprives adjusters and defense lawyers of a “reason” to argue you are not as hurt as you claim. People who aren’t badly hurt don’t need to treat, they will argue, and most people on a jury will probably agree. Gaps of time and big gaps in treatment also allow a defense lawyer to argue you aren’t as hurt as you claim.
For example, if a crash victim disregards the advice and recommendations of his or her doctor, an insurance defense lawyer will argue that the victim failed to mitigate his or her damages. This can be used to lower the amount of compensation that a victim will receive. As a car accident lawyer of almost 30 years, I have seen many smart defense lawyers argue that failing to follow through on doctor recommended treatment and failing to go to your doctor appointments means not only did a person fail to mitigate their losses, but also that they did not do all they could to recover. They can also rightly argue the opposite, that if you did not treat, it must be because a person is not in as much pain or as impaired as they claim, otherwise they wouldn’t be missing doctor appointments and failing to follow-through on doctor recommended care.
My own legal advice to all of my clients is to listen to their doctors, follow their advice, and always make every effort to attend all of their doctor and therapy appointments. If they do not feel well enough to attend, then they must cancel in advance and reschedule as soon as possible.
Preserving important evidence is an important way to win a car accident lawsuit
Preserving important evidence is critical to win a car accident lawsuit, especially one involving any claimed defeat such as a defective airbag or seatbelt. But preserving evidence goes beyond potential product liability claims.
In a car accident lawsuit, this evidence may include: (1) videos and photos of your injuries; (2) items related to medical care and treatment; (3) the at-fault driver’s cell phone data; and (4) the “black box” data from the at-fault driver’s vehicle.
If the vehicle that struck and injured you is a truck, it is even more important that you hire an experienced truck accident lawyer immediately who can send letters to preserve evidence before it can, quite legally, be destroyed by the trucking company and its lawyers if they are not immediately put on notice. Destruction of critical records and proofs can literally destroy potential claims or additional culpable defendants that otherwise could have added millions in recovery to someone seriously injured in a truck accident.
Another mistake to avoid: Not taking pictures
Anytime you have a surgery or any type of visible injury, please make sure to take pictures or a video. If you have a scar, it’s important that your lawyer hire a professional photographer to document the size and thickness of the scar before it diminishes over time.
Be sure to save all pill bottles, casts, braces, prescriptions and any other items that you received from your doctors and/or that are prescribed by your doctors.
Talk to your lawyer about requesting that the court order the at-fault driver to preserve his or her cell phone data and “event data recorder” or “black box” data from the time of the accident.
Do you have questions about how to win a car accident lawsuit? Call a Michigan Auto Law attorney for a free consultation
If you or a loved one was injured in a car accident in rain and you have questions about your legal rights to pain and suffering compensation, economic damages and auto No-Fault insurance benefits, you can call toll free anytime 24/7 at (800) 777-0028 for a free consultation with one of our experienced car accident attorneys. You can also get help by visiting our contact page or you can use the chat feature on our website.