Statistics suggest that 9 out of 10 drivers will eventually be involved in an accident at some point in their lives. On average, 11,000 personal injury accidents occur every hour in the United States. In many cases, the injuries are not life-threatening, but that doesn’t mean they are not serious. Musculoskeletal injuries such as sprains, nerve damage, and whiplash can become chronic health problems if not properly treated. Chiropractic care is especially suited to treat such injuries.
But in addition to getting physically healthy, personal injuries suffered in a car accident often result in an insurance case or civil litigation. So don’t forget to prepare yourself for the legal aftermath of an accident.
Personal Injury Attorney
Even if the accident is not your fault, you should immediately consult a personal injury attorney. Whether you are in a car accident, get bit by a neighbor’s dog, or fall on a wet floor in the grocery store, there is a limited time-frame to file a personal injury lawsuit. While you can represent yourself, it is a mistake. An experienced personal injury lawyer will protect your rights and make sure the insurance company pays you everything you are due, from medical bills, lost wages, rehabilitation, and even emotional pain and suffering.
Even if you don’t go to trial, an attorney will interview witnesses, consult with medical personnel, design a legal strategy, and assist with any paperwork the insurance company may require. Personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis, meaning you don’t have to pay a retainer; their fee comes from your settlement, so it is in their best interest to get the best settlement they can for you.
Dealing with Insurance
In the time before you get an attorney, it is best not to talk to an insurance adjuster. You are not required to make a recorded statement to any insurance company. If the insurance company insists they can’t settle your claim without a recorded statement, tell them you will do it but only after conferring with your attorney. You can also insist your attorney be present during the entire interview. Your attorney can compel the insurance company to provide a copy of your recorded statements.
The insurance company will likely ask you to sign a release so they can gather information for processing. Do not sign it, because it will let them compile a treasure trove of information on you, including old medical records, school records, employment records, and even divorce settlements, in an attempt to find some bit of information they can use to justify not settling your claim.
Similarly, the hospital or doctor may want you to sign a medical lien, which requires you to pay for your medical expenses directly by what you get from your claim. Medical bills placed on a lien are generally much higher than those normally charged because in reality, doctors know that their services won’t be scrutinized by an insurance company. So if you don’t get a settlement or get much less money than expected, the lien means you’re still on the hook for every medical bill on the lien.
Be diligent about keeping records of your injuries, doctor visits, treatments, and all the related expenses. Detail lost wages or benefits. You can also detail emotional pain and suffering, such as post-traumatic stress or insomnia, which you can assign a monetary value to.
It is important to remain patient. The process of getting a settlement can take a while, so don’t rush into a less favorable settlement just to get money sooner. Trust your lawyer to take care of your interests and your chiropractor to help you fully recover.