Every year, vehicle collisions in the United States seriously injure more than three million people. Although most people faithfully pay the premiums every month, most group health plans use loopholes to avoid paying the medical bills in these cases. Furthermore, since these victims cannot work as they recover, unpaid bills usually pile up.
That’s just the beginning. Head injuries and other accident-related injuries are very difficult to recover from, both physically and mentally. It’s very tough for these victims to make new memories and put these accidents behind them.
A New York personal injury attorney can obtain compensation for both economic and noneconomic losses. So, these victims can pay accident-related expenses and move on with their lives. Unfortunately, many people do, or don’t do, certain things that hurt their claims later. So, we put together a quick do and don’t guide, so your claim for compensation bets off on the right foot.
DO Speak to a Lawyer
If you completely ignore our other well-thought-out suggestions, take this one to heart. As mentioned, a lot is at stake in these cases. Partnering with an attorney sends your chances of obtaining fair compensation through the roof. Do-it-yourself kitchen renovations never turn out the way they should. A DIY personal injury claim could be a real disaster.
Some people don’t reach out to lawyers because they think a lawyer is too expensive. Others think that if an insurance adjuster or first responder said they were at fault, they don’t have a case.
A partnership with a lawyer is an investment. That’s for sure. However, the investment almost always pays big dividends. That’s because an attorney is a good litigator and a good negotiator.
Assume Derek’s car crash medical bills were $100,000. Most likely, the insurance company would offer to pay the medical bills, and that’s about it. However, Derek is also entitled to compensation for his noneconomic losses, as outlined above. The insurance company lawyers could easily beat Derek in a legal battle, so the company probably won’t raise its offer, unless Derek has a New York personal injury attorney to even the odds.
There’s more. Derek’s lawyer can negotiate with his doctors and convince them to lower their fees. As a result, he gets to keep more of his settlement money, thanks to New York’s complex collateral source rule.
As for fault, that’s a preliminary determination based solely on the immediately available evidence. Liability is a final determination, based on all evidence and all applicable legal principles.
The difference between fault and liability is like the difference between a halftime score and a final score. A halftime deficit often means a loss, but that’s certainly not always the case. So, don’t let the F-word deter you from getting the compensation you need and deserve.
DON’T Talk to the Other Driver’s Insurance Company
Telephone insurance adjusters are trained to sound like Flo. But in reality, they’re more like Darth Vader. The big difference is that Vader hurts people when he pulls information out of them. Telephone adjusters pull information out of people without hurting them, or even without them knowing it.
Additionally, adjusters always record these conversations “for training purposes.” So, once a victim makes an admission, there’s no denying it later.
Follow the same rules when you speak to your own insurance company. TV commercials imply that the insurance company is “on your side” and wants to make things right. That’s baloney. The insurance company only cares about its profits. So, during this conversation, keep things as general and vague as possible. Your lawyer can fill your company in on the details later.
DO See a Doctor
Only a lawyer can evaluate the legal aspects of your case, and only a doctor can evaluate the medical aspects of your condition.
Some victims don’t see doctors because they don’t have insurance or money. Other victims don’t see doctors because they feel fine.
Don’t let financial concerns stand in the way of medical treatment. An attorney can connect victims with doctors who charge no money upfront.
The “feel fine” excuse is much more common. Adrenaline masks injury pain. Furthermore, if the victim sustained a head injury, the brain conceals its own injuries. That’s why athletes with concussions usually beg their coaches to let them back into the game. They quite legitimately feel fine.
Moreover, head injuries are almost impossible to self-diagnose. Initial symptoms, like headaches and disorientation, mimic accident shock. So, many victims feel like they just need to “walk it off.” Unfortunately for these victims, head injuries are degenerative. Unless victims get prompt treatment, the symptoms get worse and soon become life-threatening.
DON’T Say I’m Sorry
This final point relates back to the “don’t talk to an adjuster” discussion. Insurance company adjusters know how to extract words , and insurance company lawyers know how to twist words.
Usually, when people apologize in these situations, they’re expressing sympathy. “I’m sorry” basically means “I’m sorry your car and/or your body was messed up.” An apology could also be an admission of liability, as in “I’m sorry I caused this collision.” An attorney can usually minimize the damage in these situations. However, a stitch in time saves nine. Don’t apologize, or better yet, don’t say anything, and your lawyer doesn’t have to do damage control later.
Injury victims who partner with an experienced personal injury attorney in New York usually receive substantial compensation. To get this party started, contact the Pianko Law Group, PLLC for a free consultation.