Part IV: The Do’s and Dont’s After a Car Accident
You’ve read about the basics of a personal injury claim, scoped out whether you need a lawyer for your claim, and learned how we work at Dayani Law Firm. Now you need to know what exactly to do after you’ve been in a car accident. Here are some general guidelines:
- DO. Get into treatment right away. So many people wait on this, for different reasons: they want to get the police report first, they want to talk to a lawyer first, they want to make sure they won’t have to pay anything out of pocket. No matter the reason, waiting to get into care is a bad idea and it’s something insurance companies love to watch you do. It allows them to make their one of their favorite arguments: The Gap in Care. It goes: “Hmm, Paul didn’t have his first treatment appointment for 10 days after the accident. That’s almost two weeks with no treatment! How bad could things be for him if he did nothing for a whole two weeks?” You get the idea. Don’t help them devalue your claim.
- DON’T. Talk to the at-fault insurance company. Ignore them with relish! Hit that call decline button. Shred those letters and use it to stuff a dog pillow. Think of it this way: regular rules of decorum and polite society, such as responding to a person’s phone calls, do not apply to at-fault insurance adjusters. You protect yourself by limiting contact with them until it is needed to resolve your claim.
- DO. Follow your doctor’s advice. This means if she says come back for a follow up appointment in 1 week, you should . . . follow up in 1 week. Just do it. Make your providers’ treatment recommendations your top priority without excuses. This means that your own decision-making about your treatment plan takes the back seat. Even if you think you know what is best for your body (and you probably do), that unfortunately doesn’t hold any water when it comes to an insurance claim. Let the professionals call the shots and follow their advice. This way, no matter what happens, you can say you tried everything recommended and exhausted all reasonable measures of getting yourself better. Or, in lawyer-speak, you have Mitigated Your Damages. This helps you.
- DON’T, as in DO NOT, sign any release for the at-fault insurance company to give them your medical records. Remember: they are not your friend, no matter how friendly the adjuster may be. They have no legal duty toward you whatsoever. They will use any information they get against you, however and wherever they can. Unless and until you present your claim, you don’t owe them a thing.
- DO. Take care of yourself. Whatever that means. The most important piece, and the whole point of it all, is for you to heal.
These are some basic rules of the game. We highly recommend scheduling a one-on-one consultation with a lawyer to get an assessment of the particular facts of your own case. Every case is different, and it is best to equip yourself with a full understanding of everything at play (and there can be a lot at play) so you can move forward protected and informed.
Lauren Adler is lead personal injury attorney at Dayani Law Firm. She offers free consultations and speaks clearly and honestly about your options after a car accident. Send her a message below or call directly for a consult at (206) 777-5627
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