Personal injury claims are common, but that doesn't mean they are always easy to prove. Even if you have been severely injured, there may be some hurdles to overcome in reaching a fair settlement. If you would like to know more, keep reading to learn about four common personal injury claim complications.
1. The Injuries Are Soft Injuries
Physical injuries can be separated into two categories: hard and soft. Hard injuries refer to broken bones, damage to the skull, and injury to the spinal cord/neck. Soft injuries refer to strains, sprains, bruises, etc., such as whiplash or a strained back. These affect the muscles, tendons, and ligaments, and courts tend to view them as less serious.
In fact, in no-fault states, if you suffer soft injuries from a car accident, you may not even be able to get reimbursed for those injuries. You can, however, still sue if the injuries are considered serious, or the cost of the medical bill reaches a certain threshold.
Even if the courts will pay for soft injuries, you still need to prove them, which is more complicated than hard injuries. You can't really see muscle strains and damaged ligaments on imaging tests, so the court must rely on your symptoms and what the doctor says, which hold less water than visible proof like an X-ray of a fractured skull.
2. You Haven't Closed Down Your Social Media Accounts
If you're involved in a personal injury case, just close your social media accounts until the case is finished. The insurance carrier will check your social media for any information they can use, and this information is admissible in court. At the very least, it may make you look less genuine to the jury, which can ruin a case.
For example, you are suing for soft injuries, and you complain that you can't even take your kids to the park due to the pain. However, a picture pops up on your social media account of you and your kids at the park. Regardless of the mitigating factors, the insurance carrier will use it to argue you are lying and less injured than you claim.
3. You Share Part of the Blame for the Injury
If you share part of the blame for the injury, your settlement will be reduced or denied. In many states, you only have to prove that you were less than half responsible for the injury to still receive a settlement. However, the courts will still consider your level of responsibility and lower your settlement by a fair amount. If you are more than half responsible, you get nothing.
A few states follow a different set of rules. In those states, if you are remotely responsible, you can't receive a settlement at all. As a result, regardless of where you live, it's important that you and your attorney work together to prove exactly who is to blame. Not getting a fair settlement may mean you'll have to pay for future medical bills out of your own pocket because once the settlement is decided, it can't be changed, and you can't sue again.
4. You Can't Find Any Witnesses
Witnesses are key to many personal injury cases. These third parties have nothing to gain or lose, making their testimony trustworthy. Of course, the other attorney may try to discredit your witnesses, such as claiming they were intoxicated at the time or they are blatantly lying. Naturally, your attorney can also fight to disprove or discredit witness on the other side.
Witnesses are useful for many reasons and come in many forms. In some cases, a witness may have information you were lacking. For example, they may have seen the other driver getting drunk before getting in their car, or they may have seen the other driver messing with their phone while driving.
Personal injury cases are no joke, and they often include a lot of money. You deserve a fair settlement, but the insurance carriers and the defendant want to pay as little as possible. For this reason, you need a skilled attorney in your corner. If you would like to know more, contact a company like Siben & Siben LLP.