Most of my clients contact me within a few days of being involved in a car crash. Once I become involved, I speak to the insurance companies about the car crash claim and advise my client on how to proceed. I explain to my client not to speak about the crash to anyone, especially the insurance company. I advise my client about “gaps” in treatment and how they can damage their car crash claim. I advise my client to follow the doctor’s advice and explain that anything said to their doctor will end up in the medical record. This usually works well and I have no problems later on in the case.
Five Common Mistakes
However, some clients contact me either weeks or months after the crash. Often, this results in some problems. Here are the common problems that come into my office when the client has waited too long before speaking to an attorney:
1) Refusing medical treatment at the scene of the crash. Refusing EMS treatment makes it look like the client is uninjured. This refusal also eliminates the possibility of a medical record documenting the specific complaints following the crash that can be useful in demonstrating a more serious injury.
2) Failing to complain about the specific injury that becomes a major problem later on. Often, an injured person will later tell me that their shoulder hurt, but not bad enough to mention to the doctor.
3) After being treated immediately after the crash, failing to follow up with their primary doctor, or a specialist for weeks. A gap in treatment after the emergency room visit is very common, and very harmful because it makes it look like the person is not injured.
4) Speaking to the insurance adjuster about the crash. Insurance adjusters will contact a person as soon after the crash as possible. Their intention is not just to investigate, but to obtain statements that harm the injured person’s claim.
5) In a worst case scenario, I have had clients who have unintentionally settled their injury claim for $500. The insurance adjuster insinuated that the settlement was for property damage only, but the signed release states that the $500 was a settlement for all claims, including the injury.
Obviously, these are problems that cannot be corrected. I have had previous clients who, years later, are injured in a car crash. They almost always call me immediately, from the scene of the crash. After going through the legal process once, I guess they have learned their lesson.
If you or someone you know has been involved in personal injury accident, don’t hesitate to Contact Us at Minick Law for a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney about your case. Call now at 828-333-5024.
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James Minick is a criminal defense attorney in Asheville, NC and is the owner of Minick Law, P.C.