This is NOT your first concern right after the wreck – your health and pain is – and the insurance knows this very well. They use this state of you being in shock to their advantage. So, they want to throw you off your game and sidetrack you with a much smaller issue like the condition of your car. They will present it as an urgent time-limited matter (which is not the truth) in hopes that you are not thinking straightly to make a reasonable judgment.
When you come to think about it, however, settling for the vehicle is a big deal, because living in most places in the United States, you will NOT be able to get around for treatment or work without a vehicle, and most importantly you will not be able to able to continue your fight with the insurance. This is especially true for some new insurance policies where FULL-COVERAGE does not include a rental. Continue reading What to Do When Accepting a Car Settlement
If you chose not to continue to deal with an insurance adjuster on your own and not get a lawyer, you have a couple of resources to resort to:
(1) Call their manager directly. Don’t just say you will call them or threaten with this, because words will NOT help you much. Speak with action. Call the manager and ask him/her to call you back on their office’s expense. Discussing the situation with the manager will upset your adjuster, which will probably NOT help much, but let’s face – they will continue to treat you in this way, so at least for now you will have the upper hand.
(2) Described your situation in a brief 1-2 page complaint and submit to your State Insurance Commissioner’s Office. While they cannot pressure your insurance for a settlement, they are obligated by law to register your complaint, contact you back and force the manager of your insurance’s local office to contact you and discuss your case. Again, this may not help you much, but it does help public records. If every mistreated customer files a complaint, the insurance will eventually have to deal with the State Insurance Commissioner on a higher level.
1. CHECK IF THIS PERSON IS ACTUALLY LICENSED AND/OR BOARD CERTIFIED.
2. BE THE CONCERNED PATIENT & ASK WHY YOU ARE RECEIVING A CERTAIN COURSE OF TREATMENT OR A CERTAIN MEDICATION.
3. ALWAYS CHECK WHAT YOUR DOCTOR’S REPORT SAYS. ASK FOR A COPY EVERY NOW AND THEN. IT IS YOUR RIGHT! IF IT DOESN’T MAKE UP WITH WHAT YOU HAVE BEEN REPORTING, THEN SOMETHING IS OFF.
4. MAKE SURE YOU ASK FOR ALL MEDICAL RECORDS BEFORE ACTUALLY DISCONTINUING SERVICE, BECAUSE AFTER YOU ARE NO LONGER A PATIENT, THEY WILL NOT BE AS WILLING TO WORK WITH YOU.
This following is based on a TRUE STORY, but is only a personal perspective from a REAL person after a REAL auto accident:
Whiplash is a tricky thing. After you have been in a car accident, you check yourself; you look good, no broken bones, no brushes, no bleeding, and you say to self, “self, I’m okay”. And in the moment you are okay, because your pain is masked by the overwhelming rush of adrenaline that is going through your body after such a trauma. And yes, even though you may have been in only a minor finder bender, you have gone through a trauma. Our bodies were not intended to be jerked around like so.
Then what happens with whiplash is you wake up the next day and are a little bit stiffness in your body and you try to convince yourself this is natural and you take a minor pain reliever. The medication is now the thing that is masking your problem and you say to yourself, “self, I’m okay”. You are embarrassed to make a big deal out of a non-obvious problem and try to convenience yourself it does not exist.
So, by the time you actually recognize you have a problem and go to a doctor, the x-ray show you have lost the natural curve in your neck and your spine is off-line. And of course you think no big deal and your doctor says give me 3-5 weeks and you will be fully recovered. Yes, you will feel okay because of being under current treatment and your alignment will look better, but for some reason you will never fully recover. When the treatment stops, your pain comes back. It can also come back accompanied with numbness, migraines and other problems you would never imagine. Then years down the road your problem with your loss of curve in your neck becomes so bad, your bones start to fuse together and surgery is the only relief you find.
And the trick here is that you have already signed a general release with the insurance company and you are stuck with a life time of pain, suffering, loss of life, and medical bills after medical bills.
CLICK HERE TO SEE CHART OF WHIPLASH INJURY: PHYSIOPEDIA.COM
The first thing to do is immediately after an accident is without hesitation, go directly to the emergency room. If an ambulance is not called, then have a friend take you. If you take yourself, then the legitimacy of your physical injuries might be questioned.
While you are at the ER, be sure that you actually get to see a doctor and not just a physician assistant. If X-rays are not taken, request them without being stuck up or bossy. Also, be aware that you will be treated differently due to that most ER personal will not want to get personally involved in your case so to avoid a legal case associated with most auto accidents. So, having said this, you sometimes have to be insistent with your treatment because you may have a serious injury that could be overlooked.
The next thing to do would be to follow the recommendation of the ER physician who will more than likely tell you that if you are not feeling better within the following “x” days, you should see your personal physician.
Regardless of whether you have a personal physician you should make sure you see an MD as opposed to an OD or chiropractor whom are not taken as seriously by insurance companies. However, this is not to say that after you see an MD you cannot go to a chiropractor. If possible and you are suffering with a soft tissue damage and have intentions of going to a chiropractor, get your MD to recommend one to you so this conversation will go in your medical records. This will come in handy in the future when the insurance company attempts to say they will not pay because you are not seeing an MD or physical therapist.
1. Make sure you are okay. Your health is first priority.
2. Call the police so there can be an official report – remember if the wreck is honestly not your fault do not say you’re sorry or this could latter be understood as fault.
3. Take a quick picture with your phone – even if a car has come to a stop and the driver gets out they sometimes freak out and still leave the scene.
4. Exchange info making sure they are who they say they are. Ask for a drivers licence and not just take their word that they are “John Doe”. If they are illegal or a criminal at large, they don’t want you to have their real identity and may give you the name of whom the car they are driving is registered to for example. Also, if they give you a cell number, make sure you call it and it rings the phone if their possession.
5. Take more pictures. It is always funny that if you have plenty of pictures of the damages, the insurance company never needs them, but if you don’t have pictures they are all the sudden a must.
6. Stay on the scene until you are allowed to seek medical attention. It is always the best policy to get checked out just in case because of all the emotions and adrenale going through your system.
Most of the time, when an ER doctor knows you have been in an automobile accident they seem to keep their distance. They quickly refer back to your personal doctor (even if you tell them you don’t have one) in order to not get involved in your case. If they do not see anything majorly wrong with you such as broken bones, concussion, or obvious trauma they probably won’t even order x-rays. (TIP: ASK FOR THEM)
If they are the first doctor which is aware of your post-trauma condition, then they may be subject to being deposed or even called in to court as an expert witness of your injuries.
The easy thing is to have plausible deniability and put in their report “No obvious trauma present, minor soft tissue damage, if any pain presents past 3 days patient should contact their personal physician. Gave patient a minor pain medication.” See, the trick here for the ER doctor is to say everything is minor and sometimes they will not even report your actual words referring to any major trauma.
So if an ER doctor can refer you, then they are referring a potential problem or potential lawsuit. Because there are so many scam artists who will claim an injury when there is not, doctors are becoming very wary as to say that a wreck is a direct cause to a current condition. And if your injury is only a short-tissue injury or whiplash type one, then they will more than likely chose to stay away from direct treatment or any recommendations.
Even though you are probably right that an ER doctor is going to be a waist of time and money, you still need to go see them to be on the safe side as well as for documentation purposes.
If you are in a car wreck, even if it is a minor accident:
(1) Call 911 immediately if you can. If you cannot, have someone else call them and request the police and an ambulance. You cannot be too careful.
You may think you are okay at the moment. The adrenalin rush you have experienced with the car wreck can minimize your level of pain. But the reality is you are NOT OKAY. Minor car wrecks, even at speeds of 15-25 mph cause tension in your body, which you DO NOT experience under any normal circumstances in your life. Even minor whiplash type injuries which appear insignificant can cause permit damage. Continue reading What to Do After a Car Wreck, Even If It Was a Minor Accident?
If you do not have immediate proof that you were injured, which is documented in a police report and the fact that an ambulance was called to your accident, this can be damaging to your case as the opposing counsel may attempt to show that your injuries occurred after and not as a direct result of the wreck. Sounds unreal? Well, this is what happened to me! Continue reading Do I Need to Call an Ambulance After a Car Wreck?
I am not a lawyer and I am not a medical expert, but I did spend eight long years fighting my own insurance company in person, in mediation and in court, because an uninsured motorist hit us from behind injuring both myself and my passenger and totaling our vehicle. I won my case against the insurance and this victory is a matter of public record, which anyone can check and consider that if you were in a car accident, which was NOT your fault, you will beat any insurance in court. How can you do this, is the subject of this website. Follow these links for questions on: car accidents | adjusters | lawyers | courts.
I hope this website is helpful to you and I hope you win. Godspeed!