What to Do After an Accident (Cont.)
Do Not Sign Medical Authorizations for Insurance Adjusters
You should not sign a blanket medical authorization for the liability insurance adjuster. Insurance adjusters will not help to build your case. They only seek medical authorizations so they can look into your medical past. Preexisting conditions, prior similar symptoms, and even unrelated private medical issues are commonly used as reasons to deny payment of valid injury claims.
Avoid Providing Written/Recorded Testimony to Insurance Adjusters
Friendly adjusters are typically the most dangerous adjusters. If you are a car accident victim, you must understand that the insurance adjuster’s goal is to minimize your injury payments. Insurance companies are forced to pay fairly for vehicle damage. However, they angle toward avoiding fair payment for injuries and medical costs. Adjusters only seek recorded statements to collect proof supporting defenses to your claims. You are not legally required to cooperate with their efforts to oppose your case. If liability/fault is in question, always speak with a lawyer first to secure advice on how to properly provide a statement and how to safely respond to the adjuster’s questions. An accident lawyer should be glad to answer these questions through a free consultation, even if you prefer to handle your case without an attorney.
Settle Property Damage Claims without Discussing Your Injuries or Your Medical Care
Accident victims should avoid being pulled into early discussions about their injuries. Your words can be taken out of context, and early discussions are only used to solicit tidbits of information that can later be used against you. Please limit early discussions with insurance adjusters to property damage only. It is entirely safe to handle and resolve property damage claims as soon as possible. Our laws protect your right to early payment for property damage without causing any loss in your right to fair compensation for injury claims.
Keep a Journal
To preserve memories and valuable evidence, keep a diary of all difficulties, missed occasions, injury-related problems, and other notes to document your road to recovery. This record will help you to later convey the complete story of your difficulties and medical experience when you present your injury claim demand. If you hire an attorney, begin the journal with “Dear Attorney …” This renders your journal a privileged attorney/client communication, which allows the lawyer to use parts of the journal based on the attorney’s discretion. The other side cannot force disclosure of the full journal if the document is an attorney/client communication due to attorney/client privilege.
Retain Pharmacy Receipts
Pharmacy receipts are often discarded. While these are small expenses in relation to overall medical bills, these receipts are vital proof. Insurance adjusters often point to a lack of pharmacy receipts to suggest that the patient was not cooperating with doctors’ orders or that the pain and symptoms were not sufficient to warrant the medication. Please hold on to your receipts!
Do Not Provide Medical Receipts/Records/Bills to the Adjuster until All Medical Treatment Is Completed
Insurance companies never pay victims’ bills as they are incurred. Rather, they make a single, lump-sum settlement payment, which should only occur after all treatment is complete and after your health has improved as much as possible. Insurance adjusters want to see medical bills and records along the way so they can cherry-pick the records for evidence that reduces the value of your car accident claims.
Document Out-of-Pocket Expenses
Medical bills are only part of the injury-claim picture. Document all other expenses, including over-the-counter medications, bandages or medical supplies, money paid to others to help with household needs, mileage for accident-related travel, and any other costs incurred in response to the accident.
Secure Medical Excuse for Lost Work Time
Insurance adjusters always attack wage-loss claims. If you miss work for medical reasons, you are entitled to full payment for all lost wages. Even if your employer does not require a work note, the insurance adjuster will. Thus, advise your doctors of your work duties and ask them to document when you can safely return to work. They are typically happy to provide this. If the doctor provides lifting or duty limitations when you are cleared to return to work, follow all medical restrictions to prevent further injury.