When you are involved in a car accident and it’s not your fault, you have a lot of stress going on in the aftermath. Between the emotional adrenaline surge and dealing with the police and emergency personnel to seeking treatment for your injuries, there are so many things to have to remember. It’s no wonder, then, that so many inexperienced drivers end up accidentally messing up their own cases when they receive medical care.
Winning your personal injury lawsuits is not just a matter of whether or not you were at fault. There are a lot of aspects that come into play with you as the plaintiff since you have what is called “the burden of proof” on your shoulders. Your lawyer will do the best job that they can to paint the picture of the scene and correlate each piece of evidence, but the rest is in your hands.
Many people who have never been involved in an accident make little mistakes along the way that end up being held against them when they try to sue the at-fault party. Here are 9 of the most common mistakes that inexperienced drivers make when they are dealing with doctors and the medical staff after their accident so you can avoid making the same ones.
- 1 9 Things to Avoid Doing After a Motor Vehicle Accident
- 1.1 Neglecting to file a police report.
- 1.2 Filing their insurance claim too late.
- 1.3 Giving their insurance adjuster too much information.
- 1.4 Considering themselves the doctor.
- 1.5 Hiding or lying about their previous medical history.
- 1.6 Not keeping an accurate record of their injuries.
- 1.7 Trying to prescribe their own medical care.
- 1.8 Not telling their doctor about the effects their injuries have on daily activities.
- 1.9 Considering themselves healed.
- 2 Follow Your Medical Advice Carefully
9 Things to Avoid Doing After a Motor Vehicle Accident
Neglecting to file a police report.
It’s great to have compassion for others. In fact, there are many people who say that humanity needs a little more across the world. But when it comes to your car accident, you can’t let your heart overrule your head. This means that when the person who hits you comes to you with a sad story of why they absolutely can’t afford to have the police involved, you must put your needs first and do it anyway.
Many cases have been lost because the car accident was not reported right away. You may think that you are not injured or that your car did not sustain damage, only to find out after the other party has disappeared that you or it actually did. By that time, it can be difficult to find the person who hit you and nearly impossible for the police to accurately document the events and damage in a police report.
Filing their insurance claim too late.
You may not have realized that you have a short window of time in which to call your insurance company and report your accident. Failing to do so in this timely manner can allow the insurance a loophole that they can use to refuse to pay your claims and end up costing you in medical bills and your entire case.
Giving their insurance adjuster too much information.
Insurance adjusters are trained to hold a perfectly casual conversation with you while interspersing questions targeted at getting you to say the right thing for them – which is the wrong thing for you.
When you call your insurance company, give them the basics of your accident. Don’t talk to them about your injuries, though. Hang up with them and call an attorney and let your lawyer take it from there to protect your rights. No matter how friendly your adjuster is, it is their job to save the insurance company money.
Considering themselves the doctor.
After your accident, it’s critical that you get medical attention, whether you think you were injured or not. Medical staff are trained in looking for hidden signs that you may not notice right away, including swelling, concussion signs, internal bleeding, and more.
A lot of injuries caused by impacts like a car crash do not appear right away. Some can take hours while others can take days or weeks to start showing symptoms. If you did not get medical attention after your accident, it becomes more difficult to prove that these injuries were directly related to the crash.
In addition, insurance companies are quick to jump to the conclusion that because you did not get medical treatment right away, you must not have been badly injured. So do not try to ignore the pain and hope it goes away or play doctor yourself and automatically assume that you were not injured. Head to the emergency room or your doctor’s office as soon as possible and let the experts decide.
Hiding or lying about their previous medical history.
Maybe it’s because you don’t think it’s necessary for your current situation or perhaps you just don’t want anyone to know about something you went through in your past. Whatever the case may be, when you are thinking about hiding or lying about your previous medical history, don’t.
When you get medical help after accident, you must fully disclose any and all of your past injuries and illnesses honestly. This helps the doctor to create an accurate diagnosis and prescribe therapy that will likely work for you without side effects or essential wasted time that could have been spent healing your body.
It also prevents the defendant or insurance company from using what you withheld or lied about against you in your case. When it comes to a lawsuit, your medical history is in the spotlight. Chances are, whatever you don’t want to be found out will be found out anyway. It’s best to be up front and honest about it ahead of time to your doctor and lawyer so that your attorney can provide damage control if necessary.
Not keeping an accurate record of their injuries.
You don’t have to have a diary yourself, although this does help, but you should be discussing your pain with your physician thoroughly. Between appointments, if you have extreme or unusual symptoms, take notes and bring them up at your next visit or call your doctor to have them documented in your file. Don’t dismiss your pain just because you feel okay on the day of your appointment, but don’t exaggerate them either.
Trying to prescribe their own medical care.
Whether you agree with it or not, your doctor’s plan of care is the one you should adhere to. Remember, they are the ones with the knowledge and experience in treating car accidents and they know what to look for and what your attorney will need when it comes to proving your injuries.
Follow your physician’s treatment plan, go to all of your scheduled appointments, and show up on time. If you don’t, it will negatively affect your case and the defense can use it against you, saying you must not have been genuinely hurt.
If you have a reason for not feeling comfortable with the prescribed plan of care, talk to your lawyer. They may be able to explain to you why your doctor has suggested this treatment or find you a new physician that you feel more comfortable with.
Not telling their doctor about the effects their injuries have on daily activities.
It’s perfectly normal that you want to live as independently as you can, but what you say to your doctor goes into your medical records. If you are struggling to wash your hair because of your injuries but don’t want to tell your doctor, your injuries may not look on paper as severe as they actually are.
Similarly, if you are struggling through your workday because of pain but don’t want to lose your income or your job, this can hurt you later, especially if you end up with a worker’s compensation injury on top of a car accident claim. Just be honest and trust that your doctor has your best interests in mind.
Considering themselves healed.
A typical scenario occurs when patients feel better after a short course of treatment and stop taking their medications or going to their scheduled appointments.
There are many reasons why failing to take your medication as prescribed can be a bad idea. Certain meds don’t work until their course is fully taken, so even if you feel better, you can have a setback if you stop taking them early. Other meds may have side effects if you stop them cold turkey. Talk to your doctor if you don’t like the way you feel on a particular medication or want to quit your prescription.
Stopping your treatment tells the insurance company that you are completely healed, even if you are not. If your condition exacerbates, or gets worse, later, it may look like it was not related to the accident.
Follow Your Medical Advice Carefully
After a car accident, it’s important to let the doctors take over your care. If you feel uncomfortable with the advice of one physician, find another that you can work with, but don’t go it alone.
You are not the first person to be injured in a motor vehicle accident, so there is no reason to reinvent the wheel when it comes to getting help. Learn from these past mistakes and set yourself up for a successful outcome in your personal injury claim.