Things You Need to Know About Personal Injury / Motor Vehicle Accidents
Being involved in a motor vehicle accident (MVA) without ending up seriously hurt is something to be thankful for. Many people report just minor injuries following a motor vehicle accident. But sometimes things don’t go as planned. To avoid the pitfalls that many motor vehicle accident victims make, here’s a crash course in what you’ll need to know following any motor vehicle accident.
You Might Feel Worse Later
Some injuries are painful right away. Others can take weeks to be noticed. Research conducted by Dr. Arthur Croft at the Spine Research Institute of San Diego suggests that as many as 45% of people with chronic neck pain attribute that pain to past motor vehicle accident trauma. Crashes are notorious for injuries that take some time to show up.
Taking the time to get examined by Dr. Brown, who has Advanced Certification in Whiplash & Brain Injury from the Spine Research Institute of San Diego, is always a good idea, even when only minor aches are present. Below are a few symptoms that may suggest that you could be more hurt than you think:
- Neck pain or stiffness
- Back pain
- Confusion or trouble concentrating
- Tingling or numbness in the arms, hands, or fingers
- Ringing in the ears
- Depression or irritability
- Blurry or double vision
- Sudden intolerance to alcohol
There is a common five-word phrase regretfully spoken by motor vehicle accident victims who have let their injuries linger, “Maybe it will go away”. If it doesn’t, you end up with medical bills that the insurance company refuses to pay. Or even worse, injuries that could have been healed are now more difficult to rid yourself of.
The Insurance Company Doesn’t Care About You
After an accident, you might be inclined to handle the insurance claim yourself. The problems that often follow are unnoticed expenses or ongoing medical problems. What most victims don’t consider during this crucial time period is how your actions (or inactions) after the accident can have serious implications on both your health and your legal rights. Unfortunately, this lesson is often learned the hard way. By the time a person is aware, the case can suddenly become unexpectedly complicated, time consuming, and expensive. Most personal injury lawyers, doctors, and motor vehicle accident victims come to understand that the auto insurance companies are businesses above all else.
As such, there is nothing they are more interested in than saving money on your personal injury claim. If they settle your claim early and free themselves from the expenses you later incur, they save money… lots of money. Their goal is to minimize exposure and risk by getting you to settle before you speak to a personal injury attorney or incur medical expenses. In this country medical testing, medication, and therapy aren’t cheap. Insurance companies know this, and that is why they spend a lot of money researching ways to minimize their exposure to personal injury claims. Insurance adjustors often mislead motor vehicle accident victims about their rights in an effort to get them to settle quickly, before they incur additional medical expenses or speak with a personal injury attorney.
Some common tactics insurance companies employ are:
- Implying that they are helping you by getting your case settled right away to prevent having your claim denied later
- Implying a “one time offer”
- Implying that your actions following the motor vehicle accident relieves them from financial responsibility
- Implying that your doctor’s decisions or treatment relieves them from financial responsibility
- Stating that part of your personal injury claim was denied without providing a reason
- Giving you misinformation about their obligations and policies
One wrong step during this process can quickly leave you empty handed. The tactics are part of the process that insurance companies use to convince someone to settle their personal injury claim cheaply. Always keep in mind that all of the companies representatives you may deal with are trained professionals, and they are not trained to make sure that you are treated fairly.
You May Need a Personal Injury Lawyer (Even Though You Don’t Want One)
Some people say they didn’t use a personal injury lawyer because they don’t want to appear to be seeking money for frivolous reasons. It’s really the first step to letting the insurance company begin their adjusting process. Other people believe that they can save money by dealing with the insurance company themselves. The insurance company enjoys this as an opportunity to save themselves money. Especially in Arizona, you are trying to win a game that you don’t know how to play.
Nobody wants to be forced into a “game” with the insurance company. Unfortunately, they’re ready to play whether you are or not. They’ve been playing it for a long time, and are very good at it. That is their job, and they have built billion dollar corporations by playing it. Dealing with them without an experienced personal injury lawyer lacks the leverage of being able to file a lawsuit if the insurance company refuses to settle the claim for a reasonable amount. The point in having your personal injury claim handled by an experienced personal injury attorney form the get-go is so these problems don’t arise. And you can bet they treat people represented by an experienced personal injury lawyer much differently than the ones who are not.
Most personal injury attorneys will discuss the merits of your case with you at no cost. Many will also work on a contingency fee, which means they are willing to suspend their fee until the end of the case. This allows all motor vehicle accident victims to protect themselves by hiring a personal injury lawyer. Numerous sources show that the amount collected by a personal injury attorney is substantially more than when not using one. So in a way, you never have to pay them out of your own pocket. Perhaps most importantly however is that you can have the peace of mind to know that a professional, bound by ethical rules and a common interest in making sure you don’t get taken advantage of, is in your corner.
If you truly do not need a personal injury attorney, most will tell you so, and at least then you have covered all your bases. Many cases that at first glance may not appear complicated or troublesome can get out of hand very quickly. This is often the case when an motor vehicle accident injury does not go away as quickly as hoped, or even gets progressively worse with time. You may also be leaving money on the table if you are unaware of exactly what claims and damages you are legally entitled to recover following a motor vehicle accident.
A personal injury attorney can make sure that you are compensated for:
- The diminished value of your vehicle after the accident
- Proper amount for your vehicle damage
- Loss of use while you are left without a functioning vehicle
- Lost wage claims
- Pain and suffering
- Damage and destruction to personal property
- Future medical expenses
Remember once you sign a personal injury settlement, it’s final, so being sure that you have seen a doctor and at least spoken to a personal injury attorney on the phone. Dealing with the aftermath of a motor vehicle accident and related injuries is painful enough without compounding it with insurance claims, vehicle damage repairs, legal issues and emotional stress. These accident related issues can quickly become overwhelming especially when balanced against taking care of a family and working.
Strategies Employed by the Adjustors
For the most part, the strategies employed by the adjustors will fall into some variation of two very different approaches:
The Intimidator is going to do all they can to scare you into settling your personal injury claim ASAP. They may begin by telling you that your medical treatment is unreasonable, unnecessary, or overpriced. He or she may even accuse you of doing something illegal by doing anything less than following their orders.
The Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing
This adjustor is the exact opposite, this person will be a shoulder to cry on after the motor vehicle accident, sympathizing with your situation and reassuring you that everything will be taken care of, once you give them the information they need to process your personal injury claim. Most people don’t realize that they are being manipulated until it’s too late. Once you have voluntarily given them the information they need, this adjustor will turn around and use comments you made as a rationale for denying your personal injury claim.
Two different styles, with the same unfortunate result for you. These people are trained specifically to save money on your motor vehicle accident claim.