Posted on June 21st, 2017 by Zane Cagle
We are Car Crash Injury Attorneys
If you are looking for a formula to negotiate with an insurance company following an injury in a motor vehicle crash—STOP! You will not find correct information online.
Daily, I talk with individuals who have been injured in motor vehicle accidents and mistakes can be made quickly and easily by unrepresented individuals. Thus, I would like to share the most common mistakes in hopes a reader can avoid them.
An injury case is not a Do-It-Yourself kind of thing.
There are several common mistakes that are common when I talk with injured individual after a crash. I’ve shared these errors before and they remain the same- Five Mistakes to Avoid After a Car Accident in Missouri It doesn’t matter the state–they are common mistakes everywhere.
These mistakes can greatly reduce your injury claim or cause it to be denied altogether.
#1–Fail to Get Medical Treatment
Too often I talk with an injured person from a motor vehicle crash, and they think that medical treatment works differently. It does not. You need to seek medical treatment for your injury. Go to the hospital or your primary care doctor, again depending on your pain, urgency and type of injury and go through the appropriate process. You do not have to approach your medical treatment in a “special” way. No, you should get to your doctor ASAP and get the help that you need.
Then, actually follow your doctor’s instructions and follow up with your doctor if your condition does not improve shortly. Keep following up and going through the appropriate referral processes and treatment as you would with any kind of disease or other injury. I tell people everyday, “Put your health and well-being first”.
#2 Share All of Your Medical History with the Insurance Adjuster
In an effort to be honest, too many people “overshare” with the insurance adjuster in the first few phone calls. In fact, the day after a crash and ER visit, you often do not know the full extent of your injuries thus trying to share a diagnosis with an insurance adjusters is not smart. Also, early sharing can cause an insurance company to devalue your case or deny it all together. The adjuster does not have medical training so discussing your medical condition just works against you. As well, they are not “counselors” meaning, you cannot rely on their advice about getting medical treatment.
Refrain from sharing your history and condition with the adjuster–just tell them you are “under medical supervision” and get the medical help that you need.
Let me explain in this common scenario. You are rear-ended and go to the ER via ambulance with a neck and back injury (common MVA injuries). At the ER, they perform x-rays and maybe a CT and diagnose you with cervical strain and lumbar strain. What does this mean? It means they’ve evaluated you and you do not have broken bones and you are not in need of emergency surgery. However, you may need a little or a lot of future medical treatment depending on how you feel in the days following, and if you have damaged discs or other parts of your neck/back they may not be detectable on a CT or x-ray.
You do not need to share an update with your insurance adjuster daily, weekly or even monthly. In fact, if you are hurt, we suggest you not discuss your injury with the adjuster PERIOD, but hire an attorney ASAP.
#3 Press the Insurance Adjuster to Hurry and Settle Your Injury Claim
A quick injury claim settlement does not work to your benefit if you are hurt. When it involves your property damage, then yes, the insurance company should handle that in a quick manner. But, if you have physical injuries, then you do not want to even begin talking about numbers and a settlement for a minimum of 60 days. Why 60 days? Refer to above stated paragraph. It may take many days, weeks or even a few months for you to know exactly the extent of your injuries. Signing a release or cashing a check is agreement and acceptance and forever bars you from seeking any more compensation even if you find out you need surgery. Thus, wait.
After your initial ER trip, it is not the time to talk to your insurance adjuster about your injury for the simple fact that you do not know the extent of the injury. If you feel better in a few days, great. However, if you do not, you must get in to your primary care doctor, or other medical provider referred by the ER, etc and proceed until you have a thorough diagnosis, have an idea of what type of medical treatment it is going to take to get better and then, you want to actually see improvement before making statements about your injuries. Sometimes, this can take many months.
#4 Fail to Consult an Injury Attorney
So, you are a week after your car crash and you are still having pain and you believe you can handle this claim by yourself if you do your “research online”. Researching things online is great for many things but it is not great for legal advice. Anyone can read the laws of their state (if you have the patience) and anyone can read an insurance policy–it’s not rocket science. But, application can be a much more complicated issue.
You may decide to go online and look up the “formulas” that insurance companies use to determine your settlement. Good luck. As anyone can author an online article, there are many self-proclaimed experts out there that will try to give you a “formula” or try to tell you that they can determine the value of Whiplash. No, that is not logical and simply not true. Again, Whiplash is a general term for neck strain and in simple terms means you have not broken a bone. However, “whiplash” and cervical strain can end up requiring a great deal of medical treatment. Failing to consult a legal expert is dooming to your case if you are really hurt.
Consulting an experienced motor vehicle incident attorney is free, thus you should take advantage of the free consultations. At The Cagle Law Firm, we answers questions every day from individuals who may not know whether or not they need an attorney or how the process works.
#5 Fail to Hire an Expert Car Crash Attorney
There is a really good reason why I do not try to fix electrical or plumbing problems at my house or fix my car for that matter— I need someone who is an expert and knows what they are doing. Invariably, Do-It-Yourself Projects can be extremely costly because you may get it wrong the first attempt and have to pay heavily to fix your mistake. In some projects, you only get one try and that is true with your injury claim. If it gets messed up early, it can be extremely difficult to recover. Makes sense, right? I attempt to fix an electrical problem at home, I may be the cause of my house burning down. Or, I try to treat my own medical issues, I may get really sick, or worse.
Our attorneys represent people injured in motor vehicle incidents. We get involved early in the case and let you focus on doing the things you are good at doing and most importantly, getting the appropriate medical treatment you need. We are available seven days a week to answer your questions. One of those questions may be simply, “Do I need an attorney?” You do not always need an attorney. We can evaluate your information and help you determine the best path for your situation.
Make the call and find out the information you need to best navigate the process.