Putting Your Car Crash In The Rearview Mirror
We all make mistakes but not all mistakes are accidents. Law firms and insurance companies typically refer to your trauma as a motor vehicle accident. However, it doesn’t really feel like an accident. Someone crashed into you. Car crashes are tough on the body but they are also tough on the spirit. They involve lengthy medical care and annoying correspondence with numerous insurance companies—medical and auto. Most clients who come to our office want the pain of a “crash” to just end. While you must consult an attorney for legal advice on your specific case, here are some thoughts on putting the crash in the rearview mirror.
#1 Follow through on your medical care.
Following the accident, you just want life to return to normal. No one wants to work doctor visits into the schedule. Unfortunately, this is critical. If don’t follow doctor’s orders or you delay in follow up appointments for too long, the insurance company will likely claim that you had a “gap in treatment” and therefore you weren’t really hurt.
#2 Be 100% honest about your injuries.
While you might feel terrible, it is not the time to be dramatic and make claims that are untrue. Any untruths will significantly damage your credibility and jeopardize the entire case. Be very detailed in how you feel, how any injuries are impacting your daily life, and whether you had injuries from the past. Just because you had a previous injury, it does not mean you won’t be entitled to some compensation for your current injuries. However, if you fail to disclose past injuries, it will appear as though you are making a false claim.
#3 Don’t sign medical release forms without consulting your attorney.
It is not unusual to receive medical authorization forms from the insurance company following an accident. It is very important you discuss any and all forms that you receive with an experience personal injury attorney.
#4 Be aware of lien letters.
Lien letters or subrogation agreements (your insurance company wants you to repay them from the settlement for any bills they paid) might seem acceptable. Sometimes these arrangements are requested by an insurance company and sometimes medical service providers, or both. There are several issues that can arise with lien letters. In particular, it takes time and money to remove these liens once they are filed. Additionally, not all bills paid by the insurance company are required to be reimbursed. You need to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss these issues. Every case is unique.
#5 Keep paperwork.
Whether it’s a receipt for medical bills or police reports, all paperwork is critical! It is best to get a file to keep all of your receipts and any correspondence from insurance companies. You should also keep a file for correspondence with your attorney. You will likely receive a tremendous amount of paperwork or emails in the months following an accident, so be ready and organized with your information.
#6 ALL “evidence” is important!
You might not consider your totaled car “evidence” (assuming a police report is good enough), but your attorney does not want to see ANY evidence disappear! It is not unusual for one or both insurance companies involved to claim that the facts in the police report are incorrect. They might offer an alternative version with an eye witness. If an expert is needed to refute how the accident and damage occurred, it will be critical to have the car for an examine.
If you are reading this information and you have been injured in a car crash, please don’t hesitate to contact our office. General information is no substitute for legal advice from an experienced attorney. Every consultation is free and you can ask questions that are specific to your unique situation. You can reach an attorney 24 hours a day 7 days a week. If we aren’t in the office, our calls our routed to our cell phones. So, don’t delay in having your questions answered. We are here to help. During business hours, you can reach our Bremerton office at 360-792-1000 or our Gig Harbor office at 253-312-3838.