The following is a list of the problems I frequently encounter where the injured victim failed to do one or all of these and this failure adversely impacted the case. This list is not an exhaustive list and is not intended to be. There is not enough time to cover every conceivable problem.
- Write Everything Down
Don’t just depend on your memory. Write everything down about the accident as soon as possible. Having these notes to rely on seven to ten months after the fact will prove far more helpful than relying solely on your memory. Take photographs!
- Notes About Your Injuries
In the days following your accident, keep a diary of pains, aches, cramps, cricks, distress, irritation, misery, soreness, spasm, strain, tenderness or discomforts your injuries cause.
Also writing these down will help you remember to report them to your medical provider at your next appointment. If there are visible cuts, marks, scratches, or bruises, take photos of these for documentation. Photos are difficult to challenge. And, as the old saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words.”
- Get Medical Treatment Immediately
Beware of solicitation immediately following your motor vehicle accident. You have the right to choose your own healthcare provider and attorney. If anyone makes contact with you to refer you to a specified health care provider or attorney, BEWARE. This can be devastating to your claim. Get immediate medical treatment and let your health care provider know of all of your injuries including pain and discomfort.Right now, You are probably thinking that anyone who has been injured in an auto accident would seek medical care, right? WRONG. Many who are injured refuse emergency medical care from the emergency medical technician at the scene of the accident or refuse to go to the emergency room to be seen by a doctor. Under these circumstances, it is much easier for the insurance adjuster to deny or even diminish the value of your claim. Your explanation that you did not know how badly you were injured will be difficult to sell.
You have to be able to show that your injuries were caused by the auto accident. Medical records documenting your injuries are the proof you need. By receiving an examination by the doctor immediately after the auto accident, you obtain the documentation you need to assist you in your claims process. The crux of your claim is based entirely on the medical care you receive. Therefore, if you did not receive any medical care or very little medical care, the claim will be determined accordingly. If you wait a lengthy period of time before you receive medical care, this will also impact your claim. Remember the adjuster’s job is to save the insurance company money. So if you wait to seek medical care, the adjuster will likely try and devalue your claim by insisting that the injury you are currently seeking medical care for is not related to the auto accident claim.
There are some injuries that may not manifest until 24 to 72 hours later. These injuries can include the soft tissue injuries such as whiplash or mild concussions in a head injury. If that is the case, these types of injuries may result in delayed medical treatment. Neck sprains and strains are the most frequently reported injuries in the United States. It is estimated that the cost of claims in which neck pain was the most serious injury was approximately $8.8 billion dollars. This is representative of approximately 25% of the total costs that were paid for all crash injuries combined.
Failing to seek medical attention can and likely will, weaken your Auto Accident Claim.
Auto accidents are the leading cause of death for those who are 34 years of age and under. Research shows motor vehicle accidents are responsible for over 40,000 deaths every year. Estimates show 115 deaths per day due to auto accidents. It is no surprise then, that motor vehicle accidents cost $150 billion dollars annually. The reality is: you are likely to be involved in at least one auto accident in your lifetime.
If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, you should call the police immediately. Bottom line is you should call the police even if no one was injured and file an accident report. Insurance companies examine these reports to determine fault. Make sure the auto accident report is accurate and thorough. The auto accident report should include interviews with all involved persons and any witnesses. Photographs and/or diagrams of auto accident scenes are frequently provided by the police. However, this does not prevent you from taking pictures of the auto accident, and gathering as much information as you can. In fact, it is recommended that you obtain the names and phone numbers of any and all auto accident witnesses, including anyone involved in the accident itself.
- Communicate the Pain and Discomfort You Are Experiencing From Your Injuries
Insurance Companies and possible potential jurors are not inclined to believe you are experiencing pain just because you say so.
They want to see documentation of it in your medical records. Because after all, if you were in so much pain, you would have informed your doctor and he or she would have documented it in your medical records.
One way to help make sure your complaints of pain, discomfort or limitations make it into your medical records is for you to write it out before you visit your doctor or healthcare provider. That way you don’t have to depend only on your memory to recall the details. You could even give this list to your doctor in an attempt to ensure they document your complaints in your medical record.