The immediate days and weeks following your accident are some of the most crucial. The advice you seek and the actions you take will set the stage for determining if you will receive proper compensation for your injuries.
Seek Treatment Immediately
If you’ve been injured in a collision or a fall or another type of accident, it is not the time to be stubborn and attempt to tough it out. In the long run that mentality will only hurt you. With many injuries, early detection can be the difference between long term and lifelong pain. You need to get the treatment needed to recover from the injuries you’ve suffered.
If you do consult with a doctor, follow their orders. If they tell you to go to physical therapy, do it. If you treat with a chiropractor, complete the recommended treatment plan. An insurance adjuster is going to base any settlement offer on the medical care you’ve received. Your failure to follow the treatment recommendation of your doctor is a strong argument by the insurance adjuster that you never needed to follow treatment because you were never injured.
Don’t Underestimate the Insurance Adjuster Who Contacts You
An insurance adjuster is paid to do a job by their employer, the insurance company. Their job is to try to minimize what they pay on each and every claim. That doesn’t make them bad people. However, it does mean that despite how nice they seem on the phone, adjusters aren’t looking out for you. Never underestimate their effectiveness in doing their jobs. It is up to you and your lawyer to look out for your interests, not the insurance adjuster.
Don’t Provide a Statement to the Other Party’s Claims Adjuster
If you’ve been called by an adjuster, simply tell them you’ll talk to them some other time and you’re not currently prepared to make a statement. You do not have to be rude, but you need to be firm. They cannot force you to talk. When you find your attorney, he or she will take care of all communications with the adjusters for you.
Don’t Sign Any Medical Authorization Forms at the Request of the Other Party’s Insurance Company
Your lawyer will obtain any medical records necessary and relevant to your claim. Do not give an insurance adjuster blanket authority to rummage through your entire medical history that may or may not be relevant to your claim. The adjusters request your records with hopes of finding a reason to devalue your claim, not bolster it.
Start a File to Document Everything Connected to Your Case
One of the best things you can do to help your lawyer pursue your case effectively is to gather everything that’s available to you in an organized fashion. Keep your bills, the police report and driver’s exchange information if relevant, and any correspondence you get from the insurance company. Keep any photographs of your car, bike, the accident scene and injuries, notes of any statements of witnesses or the identification of witnesses to the accident, as well as any notes and scraps of information you gather at the scene or in discussing various aspects of your claim with property damage, medical, or bodily injury adjusters.
In addition, keep track of any wages you’ve lost because you’ve been unable to work. Remember to get a copy of any “off work” or light duty order from your doctor so you can seek reimbursement for your time without pay. Many times these do not end up in your medical records when your lawyer requests them but they are needed to get reimbursed from PIP.
Honesty is the Best Policy
One of the most critical factors that will help you receive fair compensation is being honest and maintaining your absolute credibility. Anything you say to a claims adjuster and to your lawyer must be honest and accurate.
If you’re not in pain, don’t get unnecessary medical treatment. It will only drive up your bills and won’t help your case get resolved. If your case does happen to be one that requires a trial and the jurors feel you aren’t being honest, they won’t give you the compensation you deserve.
You must also be absolutely straight with your lawyer. Most lawyers won’t handle a case if they believe you’re not being honest with them. Your lawyer must know what is really happening in your case in order to represent you effectively.
Hire a Lawyer Who Devotes Their Entire Practice to Personal Injury
If you’ve been injured in an accident due to someone else’s negligence you probably have a lot of questions. You are likely under a considerable amount of stress. The days and weeks following an accident can be extremely stressful and you might not know what you should do next. You may be worried about making a mistake that could hurt your legal rights in the future. You may be wondering how to hire the best lawyer.
If you decide to pursue legal action, you want to make sure that you are hiring an experienced lawyer who specializes in personal injury. You don’t want to hire a lawyer who you will never see personally, who isn’t used to handling insurance companies, and who doesn’t work with your best interest in mind.
At Jim Dodson Law, personal injury is all we do. For more than 20 years we have been helping people who have been injured in accidents, aggressively pursuing their claims, and seeking justice and reparations for their injuries. Regardless of the circumstances, we will give you our best opinion about what you should do. If you have been injured in an accident and have any questions or concerns, call us today. Let us help you.