Mistake 1 – Not Seeking Treatment
You may feel fine at the scene of the accident as you finish talking with the police officer about your crash. But a few days later, you wake up with a stiff neck, a sore back and bruises on your chest from the seat belt. You should always seek some medical attention right after the accident or very soon after you notice something is wrong.
Mistake 2 – Neglecting to Factor in Your Injury with Your Ability to Work
When you visit your doctor, you should discuss how your injuries and pain affect your daily activity. If you cannot sit, stand or lift, you may not be able to work until you recover. Most employers require a doctor’s note stating that you are unable to perform your regular job until you’ve healed. If you’re filing for lost wages with the insurance company, it is also important to show proof that you lost income due to the accident.
Mistake 3 – Failing to Keep Up with Treatment and Appointments
Your insurance company wants to make sure that they’re paying for legitimate injuries. If you’re missing scheduled doctors' appointments or not following doctors' orders, it makes it sound like your injuries weren’t that severe. There’s a good chance that your accident case could be dropped if the insurance company thinks you’re bluffing about your injuries!
Mistake 4 – Failing to Keep Good Records
You should have pulled your medical records as soon as the accident occurred because those serve as the benchmark for how much your current injuries are impacting your life. As you get new lab reports, test results and diagnoses, you should keep copies of these documents in a file with all of the other important paperwork related to your accident case.
Mistake 5 – Talking to Your Doctor about Accident Claims
Your doctor is a doctor, not a lawyer. While many doctors, especially chiropractors, are familiar with accident claims and lawsuits, they’re not experts on legal matters. It may even be detrimental to tell your doctor you’re filing an accident claim or lawsuit. Doctors rarely want to get involved with legal cases, and it could impact their willingness to provide treatment or give official statements on your condition.
What if I made these mistakes? Is my accident case ruined?
Not necessarily. The basic rule of working with your doctors is to follow their instructions, tell them what they need to know about your health and do what you need to heal. If that means seeing a specialist, go see that specialist. Remember that your health is not something to be taken lightly.
As long as you have proper insurance coverage, either on your own or supplemented by the other driver’s policy, your minor injuries should be covered by the policy limits. If your medical bills are getting higher than the limits you have available, it may be time to seek a lawyer’s help.
Why hire a lawyer to settle your accident case when you don’t need one?
Your doctors are there to heal your injuries, but if you don’t know how to handle seeking the right medical documentation, you could jeopardize your accident case. When you’re attempting to settle your case on your own, you won’t need a lawyer – unless you don’t take the right steps when working with the doctors!
If you think you’re ready to handle your accident case on your own, I encourage you to visit my website and download a FREE digital copy of my book Get It Settled! The Accident Victim’s Guide to Settling Your Case without Hiring a Lawyer. Of course, I won’t leave my clients hanging in the wind. If you think you really need a lawyer to help you settle your case, contact Ben Glass Law at 703-584-7277, and we’ll set up a consultation.