Claims can fall through the cracks without proper medical treatment and legal representation.
For the vast majority of personal injury claims, it is simply no longer possible to receive fair compensation without an attorney. It is just as important to hire an attorney to represent you as soon as possible.
This is because, as soon as the claim is reported to an auto insurance or any health insurance company including Medicaid and Medicare, they all attempt to manage you and the claim to protect their interests at the expense of your own interest. Paperwork starts flooding your mailbox seeking information and requesting your signature. Phone calls begin to pour in asking questions and seeking your commitment. You should respond to some of these communications; you should ignore some and you should have your attorney respond to the rest. Any missteps in this process begin to chip away at your ability to receive full and fair recovery. A few examples of missteps are:
You may unwittingly allow your medical providers to cut in front of you and get paid for their bills right off the top of any settlement (this may actually consume your entire settlement). Any applicable health insurance including Medicare and Medicaid may, or may not have a lien related to the treatment in your case that needs to be reimbursed. Certainly if Medicare or Medicaid paid for any treatment that’s related to the case, it is extremely important that the claim be handled appropriately and that they receive proper reimbursement. Private health insurance companies may have a right to be repaid, but they have to prove they have such a right. You shouldn’t assume that they are entitled to take a percentage of the settlement out of your case. No matter who the health insurance provider is, they may claim a lien on your case that includes payment for treatment completely unrelated to your injury.
Willis and Willis carefully scrutinizes any claim for reimbursement placed against our clients cases.
- Appropriate medical treatment is critical. Do you already have a regular family doctor? Have you been told to see a specialist? No matter what your injuries are, the treatment you receive following your accident can go a long way toward proving your claim or sabotaging it. It sounds deceptively simple but seeking appropriate medical treatment and following the full course is always in your best interest.
- Do you answer every piece of junk mail you get? Of course not. Unfortunately, following a collision, you will receive a lot of junk mail from attorneys, chiropractors and other medical providers seeking to involve themselves in your case. In fact, we are aware of one local chiropractor who calls accident victims multiple times a day and actually lies by claiming to be working with the insurance company. Unfortunately, the “professionals” who use telemarketing and junk mail forms of advertising do you a great disservice. You may be referred for treatment to a doctor who has no business treating the injuries that you sustain. Every year, we have clients come in who have injuries a reputable chiropractor would not treat (knee, ankle, shoulder, etc.) However, there are the chiropractors who will incur a $5,000 to $7,000 bill treating injuries outside their purview. This sabotages your case on numerous fronts:
- That’s several thousand dollars of money taken out of the case that now can’t be used for the appropriate treatment.
- During this period of chiropractic treatment the patient is not receiving the correct treatment by the appropriate personnel. Understandably, the actual injuries may not improve or heal.
- Any insurance company looking at the above example will heavily discount the value because the actual injuries went for weeks or months without treatment. This gives the insurance company the ability to argue that the injuries weren’t that serious or were not related to the collision.
- There are plenty of attorneys, who like us, are dedicated to our justice system and want to do their best to advance your claim. Most of them do not send junk mail. The letters you get in the mail following a collision come from attorneys who put far more of their resources and attention into elaborate marketing campaigns, than they do to pursue your case. Accordingly, once represented by a marketing attorney we believe that they will look for the easiest, quickest, cheapest way to get your claim settled so that they can conclude your file and move on to the next batch of new claims. We have inherited many cases that originally started in the hands of a marketing law firm and, with some individual attention to the file, have increased the recovery to the client significantly.
Just like many things in life, the practice of personal injury law only grows more complicated every year. The longer you wait to hire an experienced attorney the more damage you may cause to your claim.
The path to a fair and full recovery in your claim is riddled with landmines, pitfalls, and assorted other stumbling blocks. A professional experienced attorney can navigate these obstacles and negotiate/litigate a fair settlement for the client.