Should I go to a medical professional for treatment?
Yes, if you are having symptoms related to the accident/incident, please make sure that you are going to see a medical professional. Your injuries must be well documented for us to present to the insurance company and to the jury. While there is a tendency for some people to not like going to the doctor, please remember that the insurance companies and defense lawyers view a lack of treatment as a sign that you are not injured or hurting.
Tips: It is important that you make all of your doctor’s appointments. Do NOT miss any of your appointments even if it is just for physical therapy or a routine check-up following the accident. If you cannot make it in for a legitimate reason, please call ahead and notify the doctor’s office.
It is important that you follow the doctor’s orders. The law provides that if you fail to follow the doctor’s orders for care and treatment, you may not be able to recover certain damages.
Please make sure that you notify us of each and every medical professional you see related to the accident.
If you have your medical records from treatment related to the accident, please provide them to us. Generally, it is easiest for you to get your medical records if there is no charge from your doctor or health care provider. If you will get charged, we can order the medical records (and we will be charged as a cost to your case), or we can provide a patient’s waiver to the insurance company and/or defense lawyer (who will generally provide a copy at no or a minimal charge).
Remember: If you treat with a doctor for an unrelated medical condition (such as a cold, flu, routine exam), it is important that you tell the doctor about your problems and symptoms related to the accident as well. This is important even if that doctor is not going to provide you with treatment. Based on my experience, if you fail to tell the doctor about your problems, they will note in the records that “Patient is here for a cold. No other problems to report. Otherwise, they are fine.” The insurance companies and defense lawyers will use this type of report against you.
We encourage you to keep a journal noting each time you visit the doctor. At some point in the claim, we will likely ask you to verify our summary of all medical charges related to the accident. If you have a journal noting each time you visited a doctor, you should be able to verify fairly easily that we have all of the bills related to the accident.
Who is responsible for my medical bills?
Unfortunately, the law provides that you are responsible for payment until the responsible party agrees through settlement to issue payment (usually in a lump sum), or a jury renders a verdict in your favor for your medical bills.
If my health insurance makes payments on my medical bills, will they get paid back out of any settlement or verdict?
It depends. Likely, your health insurance will get paid back on what is called a subrogation or lien claim.
Who is responsible for my lost wages?
Unfortunately, the law provides that you are responsible for making up for your lost wages until the responsible party agrees through settlement to issue payment (usually in a lump sum), or a jury renders a verdict in your favor for your lost wages. If you have access to a short term disability policy or some other form of payment while you are off work, please make use of it. But you need to tell us about any short term or sick time benefits, as under our laws, you are still entitled to make a claim for that time lost from work.
Do I need to take photographs of (1) the accident/incident scene any (2) my injuries?
YES and YES.
Photographs are extremely important pieces of evidence. Photographs of the accident scene will help us prove liability. Photographs of the accident/incident scene may help us prove liability and damages. Photographs of your injuries will help us prove damages.
Can I talk about my accident on my Facebook or Twitter account?
NO and NO.
If you have any sort of social media account, it is a good idea to eliminate all information concerning your accident, your injuries, and your treatment. Many people are torn apart on the witness stand by information distributed through these sites. In fact, it is a good idea to get rid of your social media websites during your case. At a minimum, please make sure that your settings are such that your information is intended to remain private. For those people closest to you who you may want to update on your condition, please do so through phone communication. Remember: the insurance company, the defense lawyers, and everyone else can gain access to your social media accounts. Keep in mind: ANYTHING YOU SAY CAN AND WILL BE USED AGAINST YOU
Should I talk to the insurance company representatives?
After you hire legal representation, NO.
This includes communications with (1) the responsible driver’s insurance company; (2) your insurance company; (3) your health insurance; and (4) others.
If anyone attempts to contact you concerning this accident, do not discuss it with anyone (except of course your treating doctors). The best thing for you to say is: “I’m sorry, but my attorney has given me strict instructions not to talk about my case to anyone.”
Again, keep in mind: ANYTHING YOU SAY CAN AND WILL BE USED AGAINST YOU
Should I keep a journal, and if so, what should I write about?
YES, a journal is very important.
If you haven’t started one, start now. Go back and try to journal as much about the past starting after the accident as you can. This will help refresh your memory later on.
Suggestions for things to journal about:
(1) Pain Level. What is your pain level on a 0-10 scale?
(2) Doctor’s visits. Note each visit.
(3) Missed Work. Note each day, hours, lost wages.
(4) Missed Opportunities. Note everything you weren’t able to do that day or things that you did that caused you pain and limitation.
Do I need to notify you if I intend to file for bankruptcy while my case is pending or if I am already in bankruptcy?
YES, bankruptcy affects who controls the legal claim. It is extremely important that you discuss with us PRIOR TO filing for bankruptcy.
Do I need to notify you if I intend to file for social security disability while my case is pending or if I am already on social security disability?
YES, filing for social security affects your claim. I need to know PRIOR TO your filing if you intend to make a claim for social security disability benefits.
How much is my injury case worth?
It depends. Each case is different. Each case is unique. It is impossible to answer this question until we are able to fully evaluate your case. This generally happens shortly after you either (1) finish medical treatment, or (2) are told by a medical professional that you have reached your maximum improvement through medical treatment.