At the risk of stating the obvious, the events of an accident and the resulting injuries cannot be reversed. Our civil justice system can only provide an injured party with monetary compensation. The goal is to maximize the compensation by properly prosecuting the case. Doing everything right in moving your case forward is not enough, you have to avoid doing the wrong things as well. Here are a few obvious ways to sabotage your case.
1. Have A Few Beers Before You Go For A Ride
Irrespective of how little you may think a beer or two affects your driving ability and irrespective of whether you are legally under the influence, if an officer detects alcohol on your breath at the scene of the accident, you’ve already got one strike against you. It is common knowledge that alcohol affects judgment. In some instances, even a very small amount can affect one’s ability to react quickly to a dangerous situation. In any case, if the police report indicates that the odor of alcohol was detected, you have an additional hurdle to overcome even if it may have not have had anything to do with how the accident occurred.
2. Argue With The Police
Most police officers will do their best to generate an objective report based upon the statements of the parties and witnesses and the physical evidence. If the officer says something at the scene that you don’t like or you think is wrong, you can try to correct the situation, but don’t argue. As difficult as it may be, try to state your version rationally and calmly. If you believe that the officer was given incorrect information or the police report itself is incorrect, you can ask to supplement the report with your version correcting the perceived errors.
3. Retain The Wrong Lawyer
If you are unfortunate enough to sustain injuries and you decide to retain a lawyer, choose one who specializes in the personal injury field and knows the dynamics of motorcycle accidents. Don’t go to cousin Harry who is a probate lawyer and dabbles in personal injury or to your neighbor Susie who specializes in family law. The anatomy of a personal injury claim has many facets that require the skill and experience of a lawyer who practices in that field.
4. Delay Medical Treatment
Unless you are 100 percent certain that you are not injured, you should seek medical attention within the first 24 hours. At the scene of the accident your adrenaline is pumping and you may not realize the true nature of your injuries. In one case, the motorcyclist thought he had only sustained minor bruises and cuts. The next day he collapsed and ultimately learned that he had a lacerated spleen, which required emergency surgery. Aside from the fact that it may be detrimental to your health to delay treatment, putting off treatment may hurt your case. If you don’t seek medical attention for two to three weeks or a month after the accident, the offending driver’s insurance company is going to question your motives for seeking treatment at such a late date.
5. Have An Attitude
It is often said that many cases are won or lost on how the jury perceives the plaintiff. The overall impression you create begins at your deposition. This is a proceeding where you are questioned under oath by the opposing lawyer about the facts of the accident and your damages. In addition to reporting the substantive portions of your testimony to the insurance company, he will be evaluating and reporting on your general demeanor and jury appeal. Don’t party the night before your deposition; get a good night’s sleep; and get there on time, dressed appropriately. Above all, don’t argue with the opposing lawyer. If you feel the urge, take a break. Also, do not treat your case as a personal vendetta against the offending driver. In almost every case the offending driver made a mistake, and had no intention of injuring you. It is also important to be aware of your demeanor at trial. The jury is constantly looking at the parties as they sit at the counsel table. Grimaces, sarcastic grins and displays of attitude will not endear you to the jury.
6. Have Unrealistic Expectations
Discuss the strong and weak points of your case with your lawyer. After the liability issue has been investigated, your medical condition is stable, and your overall economic damages are calculated, discuss the value range of your case with your lawyer. If you’re unrealistic about what you expect to recover, your case will never settle.
These are some of the more common ways you can hurt your case, and while it is understandable that after your motorcycle accident, you may have a level of anger, you should never let that anger become part of the insurance companies, and the defense teams tools in weakening your case!
If you or a loved one has been involved in a motorcycle accident you need an experienced and aggressive motorcycle accident attorney to protect your rights and get you compensation for your injuries and the damages to your motorcycle. Call The Law Office of Russ Brown today @1-800-4-BIKERS or visit them on the web @ www.russbrown.com