Are You Hurt? Don’t Hurt Yourself Worse….Get Some Good Advice!
OK…I am back in the saddle after being out a few days last week for the July 4th holiday. As I returned to the office I resumed preparation for an upcoming personal injury mediation. Upon reviewing the entirety of my file—-which is now almost two inches thick with medical records, bills, and related information—-a few general points and pointers came to mind. Allow me to share some of them..
The importance of seeking medical treatment immediately after any accident. Let a doctor or experienced healthcare provider tell you if you are truly OK. Guessing and/or waiting can be hazardous to your health (and sometimes your case).
The importance of organizing your accident- and injury-related paperwork. Spend a few dollars (or sometimes cents) and purchase folders or envelopes to hold your receipts, medical bills, prescription receipts, out-of-work notes, accident report, property damage estimate and repair invoice, etc. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to create a different folder or envelope for each type of paper/item and don’t worry about having any specific classification. It is far better for you and your attorney to have all of your documents and be able to reorganize them versus realizing some documents are missing. Scanners are a wonderful thing as you can now keep electronic copies of paperwork and save space. Bottom line: create an organizational system that works for you and stick to it.
The importance of consulting with an attorney soon after your are involved in an accident. Clients sometimes hurt themselves by listening to the “advice” of family and friends and persons who were involved in accidents. I would like to believe that the “advice” from these people is meant to help you but often it is a bit skewed and sometimes it is just plain incorrect. Contacting and consulting an attorney about your accident early can result in answers to many of your questions and an easing of the burden of having to figure out what to do, where to do it, when to do it, and how to do it. I would venture to say the vast majority of attorneys offer free consultations for personal injury and accident cases so take advantage of this opportunity.
The importance of listening to your attorney’s advice. Once you consult an attorney it is important that you listen to your attorney especially when you ask an important question. Though you may not agree or even like the answer it usually is worth consideration by you particularly if it impacts a decision you must make. The most often example of this dynamic is the “what should I accept to settle my case?” question. Often clients devise their own settlement amount without regard for important relevant factors. You may believe your lower back strain which caused you to go to the orthopedic physician for six months and physical therapy for almost two months is worth no less than $50,000.00 BUT think further…..are there any issues about who was at fault for the accident? Is there a plausible argument that you could have been partly to blame? (If so, this could be a problem)…did you have any prior back injuries and, if so, were they more serious than the current one?..did you follow all of the treatment recommendations of your doctors? When the doctor released you did he or she believe you were fully healed or something less than that? Is there a possibility you may need surgery in the future? Did your doctors grapple with a diagnosis of your ongoing complaints of back pain or could they clearly state and show the reason for your pain and injury? How confident are you and your attorney that your doctor would say the accident was the cause of your injuries for which you had treatment? What would a jury think of all these facts? (Remember: if you cannot settle your case and you go to trial, you have to convince twelve people to agree with your perspective of the case and agree that you are entitled to the money you are demanding. This is not nearly as easy as one might often think). Who must you pay from your settlement and how much are you legally required to pay?
Click here for additional tips when faced with a personal injury case. Do you need an attorney? It remains to be seen but when you are involved in an accident you need to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to determine how to proceed. The consultation will likely be free but the information and guidance you receive could prove invaluable. Contact me for your free consultation.