Guest authored for Minick Law Blog by Byron Warnken.
If you are an injured victim, you must keep in mind that the defense will try to lower your settlement in any way they can. This means that you have to be very careful when seeking medical treatment. Here are a few hints that could help you get a fair settlement.
You must seek medical treatment as quickly as possible. If you wait to see a doctor after you have been injured, the opposition could argue that the injury was not caused by the incident. Even if you feel the slightest bit uncomfortable, see a medical professional. Some injuries may take a few days to appear. Always better to be safe than sorry!
Even though you may want to confide in your doctor, it is best to limit any casual or cordial conversation. The opposition will get notes from each every doctor you see, so you need to make sure nothing you say can be used against you. Do not exaggerate your symptoms, but do not minimize them either. Just be honest and thorough with the doctors; it is important that all of your symptoms appear in the doctor’s notes. This way, you can be eligible for more money.
Even if the doctor, (or insurance adjuster), seems empathetic, his kindness may be a ploy to get you to disclose information that could help the opposing side.
Make sure you complete all of your medical treatment. If you do not go to your doctor appointments, the opposition could argue that you are not as injured as you say you are, or that you are irresponsible with your health. This could decrease your compensation. Similarly, even if you feel better, do not stop going to the doctor until your treatment is complete. Just because you are no longer in pain does not mean you are finished healing; your doctor knows the complications that could arise from incomplete treatment.
Document & Investigate
In addition to taking pictures of the scene of the incident, you should take pictures of your injuries and damages. If you think there are pictures of the scene, but you do not have them, tell you lawyer so he can try to get them. In the same vein, you should interview all witnesses and collect their contact information. Remember to keep your pictures, notes, bills, and receipts safe. Without them, you and your lawyer will not be able to prove the amount of your damages.
Trust Your Lawyer
After you’ve seen a doctor, you should consult with a lawyer. An experienced trial attorney will listen to your situation, review your case, and provide the expertise and support you deserve. Your lawyer will help you understand what your insurance policy covers, what steps you should take to recover damages, and when you have reached a fair agreement with the insurance company. Keep in mind that throughout the process, the insurance company will try to get you to settle for less than your case is worth. An attorney will be able to recognize if you are being mistreated and fight on your behalf. Don’t hire a lawyer who is scared to go to court.
James Minick is a criminal defense attorney in Asheville, NC and is the owner of Minick Law, P.C.