If I have been in an accident, what is the most important thing for me to do?
There are two things you want to remember: 1) you want to recover from your injury; 2) you want to get compensated for all your medical costs, loss of income and pain and suffering. Getting the right medical treatment will help with the first concern. Hiring an attorney will help you with the second concern.
The insurance company wants to get my recorded statement. Should I give them one?
No. Let your attorney speak on your behalf. Something perfectly innocent in your eyes can be twisted by the insurance company to deny you any compensation at all, or at least very little. Remember that no insurance company is on your side, even your own. If your insurance company requires a statement from you, speak with your attorney first. The attorney can help you prepare a statement that will not remove your rights.
What is the best way to make sure I get appropriate compensation for my personal injury?
There are certain steps that will help you get the best results from your personal injury claim.
1) Report all of your complaints. Don’t ignore any symptom. Stiffness, headache or dizziness could be early warnings of a more serious problem. Even if you have had similar symptoms before, discuss them with your doctor. Prior conditions can be severely aggravated by an accident.
2) Keep records. Keep anything that can confirm the extent of your injuries. Photographs of wounds, such as lacerations and bruises, confirm that you were hurt. Make sure you get photographs of damage to your car. Pictures of the other driver’s car, skid marks on the road, and other damaged property are important also. Remember that accidents are cleaned up. You don’t want your only proof of the accident to be a police report (which you want to have).
3) Get witness names and contact information. It’s amazing how stories can change. Even if the other driver admits that they are at fault, get the name, address and phone number of anyone who witnessed the accident.
4) Start keeping a journal. From the time you are in an accident, start keeping a journal. Record details about your injuries, treatment, and progress. Also express your feelings about things that are happening around you. If your case goes to court, your journal will be a powerful resource for defending the fact that your injury caused real harm.
5) Don’t stop treatment. Try to tell a jury or an insurance company that the reason you stopped treatment wasn’t connected with your feeling better. They may not believe you. The only proof you have that you were suffering symptoms is your continuing need for treatment. If finances due to lack of insurance are an issue, contact a personal injury attorney promptly. Many doctors will continue treatment when they know you have legal representation.
6) See the right type of specialist. Different doctors and medical experts treat and diagnose different symptoms. Here are some of the most common:
- Neurologist—See a neurologist if you suffer from severe, consistent headaches. Dizziness, vertigo, numbness, paralysis and loss of motion and/or feeling are symptoms of problems with nerve function. If you experience memory loss, fainting spells or changes in your cognitive functions, the best physician to see is a neurologist.
- Orthopedist—See an orthopedist if you experience severe or continuous neck and/or back pain. Discomfort in your shoulders, knees, hands and feet can indicate problems with the bones.
- Psychologist / Psychiatrist—Accidents often cause anxiety, depression, withdrawal, fear, phobias, and other behavioral issues.
- Physical Therapist / Chiropractor—Physical therapists and chiropractors help you recover from the muscular, tendon and ligament damage caused by many accidents.
If my car has been damaged, do I have the right to ask for a rental car?
Yes, you do. The insurance company of the party at fault for the accident must either pay for a rental car or pay loss of use payments. If your car has been totaled in the accident, you are entitled to a rental car or loss of use until they make you a reasonable offer for your total loss.
Can I get money for the time I lost work because of my injury?
Yes. If your physician instructs you to refrain from work for a certain period of time, you are entitled to full compensation for the money you would have earned during the time you are required to take medical leave.
How much do I have to pay for your attorney’s fees?
We take cases on a contingency basis. You will not be billed for my services. This means that you don’t pay anything unless we are successful in securing a settlement.