If you are involved in any kind of accident the most important action you can take is to get medical attention right away. Of course, if it’s a serious injury you’ll be cared for immediately.
Many injuries, however, are less obvious; for example, concussions, soft-tissue spine trauma, and joint injuries can feel okay at first, then become painful and debilitating days or even weeks later.
If you wait more than a day or two to get medical treatment, insurance companies love to argue that you weren’t really hurt, and so you shouldn’t get any compensation. It makes sense—if you’re injured you go to the doctor. So protect your claim by getting immediate medical help after an accident, even if just to be told you’re okay.
The goal of the insurance company is to pay you as little as possible for your injuries. From the very first contact, the adjuster is trying to record any comments that may be used against you. Take this example. The insurance company adjuster is calling the injured person for the first time:
Adjuster: Question: Hi, Ms. Smith, how are you today?
Injured Person: Answer: Pretty good. How about you?
Trying to be polite, the injured person answers normally even though in pain from her injuries. Ten months later, when denying any settlement, the adjuster says Ms. Smith told him she was “pretty good” just a week after the accident, i.e., she couldn’t have been hurt.
It’s dangerous to talk to insurance company adjusters. To protect against hurting your claim—let your lawyer do it for you.
How can you assure you’re paid maximum compensation for the injuries you’ve suffered? With no experience or knowledge of how a personal injury case is handled, many people accept settlements for far less money than is fair. The insurance company adjuster’s goal is to save his company’s money—that means get you to take the lowest offer possible. That can even mean denying you were injured and offering nothing! An experienced personal injury attorney knows the value of your case and how to negotiate a fair settlement.
Many health care providers (doctors, chiropractors, physical therapists) will reduce the amount you must pay them for care they give related to your injuries. Your attorney can negotiate those repayments, reducing the bills by 1/3 or more in some cases. That can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars, leaving more for you and your family.