Understanding Your Injuries and Your Personal Injury Claim
When it comes to serious injuries - and bringing injury claims to an insurance company for reimbursement - there are two things you need to be concerned about:
- Getting prompt medical treatment
- Getting all the medical treatment you need
People make mistakes in both of these areas and those mistakes can limit the amount of compensation they receive - and their physical recovery. Here's where people go wrong.
Failing to Get Prompt Treatment
Too often people take a "wait and see" attitude about their health. Sure they were in a car crash or they fell, but they've only got a headache. They decide to wait and see if it will go away rather than making an emergency room visit. They may not see their doctor until days, or even weeks after the accident. This delay can hurt their injury claim later on.
On the other hand, sometimes injuries are slow to develop. That headache may actually be a brain injury. Whiplash from a car crash may come on only after a few days. A strained back from a fall may turn out to be a significant disk injury that can degenerate over time.
At the Law Offices of David G. Smith, we work with injured people every day. Our best advice to you is this:
At your first opportunity after any accident, visit or call your primary care doctor and talk about what happened. Share any concerns you may have. The longer you wait, the easier it will be for the other side to claim your injury wasn't caused by the accident.
Accepting a Settlement Too Early, Before You Know What You Need
As soon as an accident has been reported to the insurance company, an adjuster is going to be ready to make you an offer. They want to limit the amount of money they may have to pay you so they want you to settle early, often before you know the true value of your case.
Many people have a misconception about how they get paid for a personal injury from a car or truck accident, or a slip and fall accident. They may have been injured on the job and they think that a personal injury claim is like a workers' compensation claim; that they can get money when they need it, now and later.
This is not the case!
With a personal injury claim you get "only one bite at the apple." When you accept a settlement offer, that is all the money you will ever receive. Months down the road, if you have an MRI and discover you need surgery, you cannot receive any more money from the insurance company.
That's why we advise our clients to sit tight until you and your doctor agree that everything that can be done for you has been done. Then and only then will we work on getting you an appropriate settlement. Our job, as your personal injury attorney, is to ensure you get and keep the maximum amount of money you need for your medical bills and losses.
If you have questions after a personal injury, contact our law office by e-mail or call us at 510-431-2598 | 925-308-6484. We'll be happy to give you a realistic assessment of your case and the kinds of compensation you can receive.