If you are in a car accident in Virginia, you need to know that the details of the accident and your decisions during recovery can greatly impact a settlement should you need to take an insurance company to court. These are the five rules you should follow post accident when seeking medical treatment and trying to fully recover.
Rule #1: Seek Medical Treatment
Even if you feel "fine" at the scene of an accident, you may wake up days later with a stiff neck, a sore back, or bruises from your seatbelt. The safest and smartest choice is to seek medical treatment after the accident, or as soon you notice that something is wrong. Don't give the insurance company any excuse to claim that your pain and injuries are not significant.
Rule #2: Your Doctor Is Not Your Lawyer
It is good to be open and honest with your doctor about your medical situation, and they should know the details of how you got injured. However, doctors are not experts in legal matters, and most of the time don't want to touch a lawsuit with a ten foot pole. If you tell your doctor that you are filing a lawsuit, it may unintentionally affect their testimonies or official statements. While many doctors are familiar with legal matters, they are not experts, so you should save your legal questions for your lawyer.
Rule #3: Factor In Your Injury With Your Ability to Work
When you visit your doctor, you should discuss how your injuries and pain are affecting your daily life. Can you sit, stand, and lift comfortably? If you are unable to perform your job duties due to your injuries, many companies will require a note from your doctor. This is important should you be claiming lost wages in your case. If your insurance company thinks you're bluffing, you now have proof to counter with.
Rule #4: Keep Up With Your Treatment and Appointments
The insurance company is only going to pay for legitimate injuries, and they'll see how many holes they can poke in your story before they write the check. If you lapse in attending your appointments, or don't follow your doctor's instructions, the insurance company will argue that your injuries are not as severe as you are claiming.
Rule #5: Keep Good Medical Records
You should pull your medical records as soon as possible after your accident. These documents are the benchmark for the impact these injuries are having on your life. When new test results or diagnoses come out, keep copies of these documents in a file and keep all of your accident data together. Should your insurance company choose to fight you, you want your ducks in a row ahead of time.
If you have been in a car accident in Virginia, please accept the offer of my free book Five Deadly Sins That Can Wreck Your Car Injury Claim, and give us a call at 703-584-7277. The conversation is free, and we want to help you make the best decision for your situation.