FREE Case Evaluation

* required fields

Common Mistakes in Personal Injury Cases in Virginia

There are a whole bunch of mistakes that someone can make in a Virginia personal injury case, and, unfortunately, it’s tough to realize them if you don’t have a background in law.

#1 Delay in Seeking Treatment

One of the biggest mistakes that people make is to delay in seeking treatment. There could be myriad reasons why you might not seek treatment, whether you think you can tough it out, you think you’re not injured, or maybe you’re concerned about the cost of seeking medical care. But from the evaluation standpoint of an insurance adjuster, their state of mind is going to be, “Well, if this person was injured, why did they wait three months to go see a doctor?”

Delayed treatment is one big mistake people make, gaps in treatment is another, or failure to follow your doctor’s orders.

#2 Gaps in Your Treatment (Failure to Follow Up)

A gap in treatment might be if you go to the doctor, or maybe you go to the emergency room the day after an accident, and they suggest you follow up with your primary care physician, but then you don’t do that for a couple of months. Or maybe your doctor prescribes physical therapy, you show up for physical therapy, but you don’t feel the results immediately, so you decide not to go back. Those are mistakes that can have a very detrimental impact on a case that are really easy to avoid as long as you follow your doctor’s orders. Once the injuries have happened, your job is to follow your doctor’s orders, try to get back to work if you’ve been off of work, and we’ll take care of everything else.

#3 Trying to Interpret The Law Without an Attorney

Some other mistakes that people might make would be, if they get into an accident, looking at Google or some other media resource to evaluate their case. Most people are familiar with the general idea of a statute of limitations and they might say, “Oh, okay, well it turns out I got hurt in Virginia, that means I have two years to bring a personal injury case.” Well, that might not be all there is to it. If there’s a government actor involved, then there’s a statutory notice that will apply. It’s important to seek legal help as soon as possible because a lot of times someone might look on Google and say, “Oh, two years, that’s fine, I’ve got a lot of other important stuff going on in my life right now, I’ll just come back to it in a year and a half.” If that’s the case, a year and a half after an injury, if there’s a government actor involved, you missed out on your opportunity to recover.

In DC, most personal injury accidents have a three year statute of limitations, but if there’s a district government actor involved, then you’ve got a six month notice provision to provide notice to the correct government agency. That’s a very, very fast clock that starts ticking the day that the injury happens, and that’s a big mistake that a lot of people make without knowing. It’s not through any fault of their own because you can’t expect to be aware of these things, but, again, that’s why it’s important to seek medical and legal help immediately.

#4 Failing to Mitigate Your Damages

Another mistake would be failing to mitigate your damages. Maybe you have a serious injury and you’re not able to continue working in your current employment, for example if you work in manual labor and you can’t step onto a roof anymore and lay shingles, but you could work in a sedentary position at an office or a retail store. Mitigating your damages is something that’s very important. Avoiding activities that can lead to further injury, following your doctor’s orders, and returning to work as soon as you are able all help to minimize or mitigate the damages that you have sustained. Similarly, sometimes a delay in treatment can exacerbate your injuries, which relates back to the causation element which we talked about earlier. If you have an injury to one part of your back and you don’t seek treatment for so long, your body naturally will try to compensate for that and you might end up having a compensatory injury because your body is overcompensating; that could have easily been avoided had you sought medical care immediately, but by not doing so, you exacerbated your injuries, you failed to mitigate your damages, and that makes a big mess for a personal injury case.