Our job as your Las Vegas car accident attorney is to maximize your recovery for injuries you’ve sustained as a result of the negligence of another. Let’s assume you have been rear ended, and there is no question of liability. Now the question is how much the insurance company will eventually have to pay you. Many of the same or similar claims have very different outcomes. OFTEN TIMES THE CLIENT’S CONDUCT CAN COST THEM SIGNIFICANT MONEY!
The insurance company has many defenses available to it, so you don’t want to help them by doing (or not doing) things that will compromise your claim. The following are some do’s and don’ts. It is certainly not a comprehensive list, but some things to consider after you’ve been injured.
1) WHEN IN DOUBT, TAKE AN AMBULANCE FROM THE SCENE, OR GET TO A DOCTOR THAT DAY
A lot of times the adrenaline of the accident kicks in and most people don’t realize how injured they are at the scene, and if there are no broken bones or blood, the instinct is to refuse medical assistance. People want to go home if they can. But if you are feeling pain and it is significant, you should accept the offer by the police of an ambulance. If it is an accident where the police do not respond, get yourself to a doctor as soon as possible. The longer the delay between the accident and initial medical treatment the more adverse affects it can have on your claim. It is almost certain that a client who seeks medical attention within 48 hours will not be questioned as hard compared to someone who waits a week. This is especially true of soft tissue injuries, which are not visible, and more difficult to convince an adjuster, and eventually a jury if it goes to trial. The type of person who figures “I’ll give it a week or two to see what happens” is doing the insurance company a favor. If you wait 3-4 weeks to seek treatment, you probably will never get a settlement in a soft tissue claim, barring unusual circumstances. It is a common sense argument by the insurance company that often works. If you were that hurt, you would have gone to the doctor within a few days, because it is an acute injury; not to mention they can argue anything else could have happened in the intervening 3 weeks that caused the injury. So go to the doctor or urgent care right away! Then come to see us and we will set you up with the appropriate medical providers.
2) NO VACATIONS WHILE YOU ARE IN TREATMENT
Insurance companies love this one. You’re hurt and going to therapy 3 times a week for back and neck injuries. You’re reporting pain levels of 6-7/10 on the pain scale. You’ve been going for a month, but you and your family have a prepaid vacation to Hawaii for 2 weeks. RESCHEDULE. If you can go on a plane for 6 hours, and have fun in the sun for 2 weeks, the defense attorney will have a field day. How hurt can you be if you can fly to Hawaii for 2 weeks and then resume treatment when you come back? The adjuster who is evaluating the claim will in all likelihood cut your treatment off when you left for Hawaii.
Even worse than the 2 week vacation is the 1-2 months in Korea, Ohio, or Mexico. Even if you get sporadic treatment while out of the country or state, it hurts your claim. Some trips are unavoidable, but reschedule anything you can while you are in active treatment.
3) GAPS IN TREATMENT
The above creates a gap in treatment, but you don’t have to travel to help the insurance company out. If you go regularly for awhile and then stop because of work, school, transportation or lack thereof, and start missing appointments, you’ve made a choice in the adjuster’s mind that the pain is not that bad anymore and the acute phase of your injury is over. If you don’t go for 3 or 4 weeks and want to start up again, they won’t usually accept that treatment. So keep your appointments.
4) BE TRUTHFUL WITH YOUR DOCTORS
This is a real killer. If you had prior back pain in the year or two before the accident, and treated with a chiropractor or physical therapist, DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES TRY TO HIDE THAT FACT. You can be assured that if your case is in litigation they will find that out and your credibility is shot. And do not try to be cute when you’re at a deposition and the lawyer asks why you didn’t tell your doctor about your prior back pain….”Well the pain before was on the right lower back, now it’s the mid back”. That answer won’t be believed. Unlike just going in for treatment, when there is an accident and you’re asking to be paid money, everything changes; everything is scrutinized. Conduct yourself accordingly and you will do better in the end.