We hope it will never happen, but at some point in your life, you may get into a car accident. If that happens and you have an injury, here are the three biggest mistakes to avoid with your personal injury case.
1) Permitting any gaps to appear in your personal injury health treatment
Don’t postpone any necessary healthcare. Follow your physician’s guidance, and do all follow-ups as prescribed. If you fail to do this, it becomes “evidence” your injuries were not very serious.
A lot of people go to the Emergency Room immediately after a car accident. Yet, they neglect to see the chiropractor for quite a few weeks afterward. That’s a giant error to make. What would happen if you went to the Emergency Room after a car accident and complained of a hurt knee? That knee pain might actually be hiding pains in your neck that you may not notice until the next day. These neck pains could worsen and may be symptoms of a herniated disc in your back. Then you go in for the neck pain at a later date. Do you realize how an insurance adjuster could spin that? Should you have another injury appear in your health records, they will likely think:
- Wow! Three weeks went by and this person is only now going back for a follow-up? I bet they saw some commercial on TV with some get-rich-fast lawyer and want to make a claim..
- It’s been 3 weeks. This person wasn’t in pain and now he’s making a doctor appointment? And he claims the pain was due to his car accident? What made his neck hurt? I bet it’s actually something he injured months ago and now he’s trying to get the insurance to cover it. He may have even injured himself at his house. Nope, case denied.
Insurance agent’s Rule #1. If something’s not included in a person’s health records, or there aren’t any notes from the doctor, the case gets denied.
This isn’t fake information. Insurance agents are trained to be pessimistic, so you can’t blame them. It’s actually the environment in which they operate. I notice it all the time in my business. One time a defense lawyer for an insurance company called me. He said, “I know the plaintiff isn’t telling the truth because their lips are moving.” For God’s sake, don’t assist them by postponing your care.
Ensure you inform the physician about ALL the injuries caused by the car accident. Don’t think the physician will be able to put it all together or that they can make a guess on it. If the car accident made previous injuries worse, tell your physician what happened.
I am not inventing the rules; the insurance companies do that. I simply want to help my clients win their cases.
Takeaway. If you become injured in a car accident, schedule an appointment with a chiropractor. They will document every hurt or injury. Be sure to specify the injuries were likely caused by the car accident, if that’s what happened.
2) Not informing your physician about everything
Following an accident, patients will complete new patient paperwork for their chiropractor. An insurance adjuster and a defense attorney inspects that paperwork. Anything submitted that’s written in your personal handwriting will be meticulously studied. They will attempt to use whatever they have to disapprove a claim.
There will be some basic info about the time frame your pain began on the form. It will ask you something such as, “What’s the time frame for you feeling this pain?” If that pain started at the same time as the car accident, ensure you tell them.
But beware. If the pain existed before your car accident, ensure you make a note of that on the doctor’s intake form. Particularly if your chiropractor was already treating you for that pain. A lot of people end up in that trap. They believe, “Well, it’s been several weeks or even months before this car wreck. Anyhow, I am feeling better now, so I am not going to put that down.” That’s the wrong way to think. You’ve then hurt your current case.
What if that knee injury from several years ago hadn’t been causing you any problems? Yet, now it’s hurting again due to the car accident? If the insurance or doctor’s form doesn’t have a place to list previous injuries, you may forget to mention it. “Well, because no one asked, and because the injury is old and now it’s gotten better, I guess I won’t put it down or talk about it.” That’s the wrong way to think. You’ve then hurt your current case.
Inform your physician about prior injuries despite the fact no one asks.
Plus, put them down on any kind of healthcare form, despite there not being a place for them on any forms. That may seem like overdoing it. But, if you fail to tell them about previous injuries, it could come against you at a later time.
Takeaway: Always ensure you are sharing every previous injury with your physician. This rule applies even if they aren’t related to the new injury.
3) Treatment with the wrong physician
If you do not like your physician or you think they aren’t on your side, you should fire them immediately. If your physician doesn’t respect you, they will not assist if you need some notes put into your medical records. They will also be unlikely to assist with a deposition, if you need one at a later date.
Medical specialists are able to do numerous things that may damage or even ruin your personal injury insurance case.
- They may put down notes saying you are making up the pain or they believe you are doing that. Always be truthful with your physicians. They are always paying close attention to patients to make sure they aren’t fakers.
- A physician may not trust that there are any permanent pains due to your current injuries. A few physicians don’t believe people can have permanent lifetime pain because of a neck injury. That’s wrong! Plus, there’s plenty of science to prove them incorrect. Yet, their opinion makes a big difference in a court case. Still suffering from constant neck pain a year after the car accident? You’ve likely sustained a permanent injury. If the physician doesn’t want to give you their support, you won’t receive a bit of credit for your pain at a later date.
- Your physician may believe the pain you have isn’t significant. Should the case end up in court for your personal injury, the jury may believe the same thing. Bad physicians are like poor influences or a poor relationship. You need to get rid of them immediately and defend yourself.
Takeaway: You want a physician you can be comfortable with that will also provide support for your personal injury. If you hate your physician, likely they also hate you. So, get rid of that physician immediately.
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