Personal Injury – A Common Mistake
Personal Injury lawyer Scott D. DeSalvo explains the common mistakes injured people can make in a personal injury case that might hurt their chances at a fair recovery.
The most common mistake we see in our law practice is people talking to insurance companies and giving a written or recorded statement before they really understand what is happening and what is at stake.
Insurance companies hire a lawyer to help them develop and improve 'outlines' for insurance adjusters to use when interviewing or taking a statement from a witness.
Insurance companies like to take statements from people who have been injured because they want to get the injured person to say something that will later hurt their chances at a fair recovery for a personal injury. They do this on purpose, and the types of questions and the way they ask the questions are designed to save the insurance company money.
When they talk to you, they sort of pretend that they are just collecting information. That's true enough -- they ARE collecting information. But the information they are collecting is primarily related to figure out a way to beat your injury case and pay you nothing, no matter how severe the car crash was, or how severe your injuries might be.
The most common kinds of cases where they want to get a statement from you before you can consult with an injury lawyer include car accidents, and slip and fall cases, but they do it I many kinds of case. In Workers Comp cases, they will often hire an investigator to follow you around and take video of you, hopefully to show that your claimed injuries do not stop you from doing strenuous physical activities. In other words, they want to show that you are lying or exaggerating.
Injury lawyers give free consultations, and I will be straight with you here: I tell every one of my clients NOT to give a statement to ANYONE unless I have a chance to talk to them first, and usually, I must be present to represent them during the statement.
This is key because if you say something or get confused and it hurts your case, once you have given a statement, going back and changing an answer affects your credibility. If a Defense lawyer can call you out over mistakes or inconsistent testimony, then your whole case is in jeopardy. If a Judge or Jury or Arbitrator does not believe that you are a reliable witness, or that you have a bad memory, or especially that you are lying, your chances at a good outcome go down the drain.
Anytime someone has given a recorded statement before hiring me, my main priority is to get a copy of it. They are not obligated to give us a copy until we file a lawsuit, and I try to settle cases before filing suit. So many times, we do not even know exactly what was said until well into the case. Sometimes, I can fix the problems, and sometimes, the problems really hurt the case. Be safe and don't give a recorded statement.
Protect yourself and get a free consultation, and hire a lawyer for your injury case. It is the best protection you have, and contingency fees mean we do not charge until and unless we win your case. There's no risk and all reward for you.
"Hiring Scott was one of the best moves I have made in my life. Scott is a down to earth person and attorney. Scott is a 5 star first class act who really knows his stuff. The Judge said his presentation was one of if not the best he had ever seen. Take my advice, hire Scott. I’m sure you’ll be 200% satisfied. I was."
Cab Driver, Fall Down