The more you help, the better job we can do for you
Being involved in a motor vehicle accident is stressful and scary. It can be even more so when faced with settling your personal injury case alone, which is why more and more Georgia residents are reaching out to experienced personal injury attorneys to represent them.
However, even the most competent attorney with years of experience under his or her belt will not be able to maximize your personal injury settlement without your help. Listed below are 5 simple things you can do to help ensure that your attorney is able to get you the maximum compensation possible in your case.
1. Follow your doctor’s orders
If you are in pain, even the slightest pain, it is important that you seek medical treatment sooner rather than later. Not only is this good for your health, it’s also good for your case. If you wait days or weeks to see a doctor following a motor vehicle accident, the at-fault party or insurance company could argue that the injuries you are claiming from the auto accident were in fact caused by something else due to the delay in obtaining medical treatment.
Equally important is making sure that you are communicating with your doctors. Let them know what symptoms you are experiencing. Sometimes doctors don’t accurately record each complaint of pain. This can make it difficult to explain all your pain and suffering to an insurance company.
Make sure that you fully communicate with your providers. If you find yourself in more pain after a week of intense physical therapy, or are suddenly unable to engage in an activity that you could do prior to the accident, it is important to clarify this information to your doctor so that all of the pain and suffering you are experiencing is properly reflected in the medical records for the insurance company to see.
Finally, if your doctor recommends a treatment plan, it’s important that you follow it as much as possible. This can include physical therapy, taking prescribed medications, performing a home exercise program, or seeking out treatment with a specialized doctor such as an orthopedic physician or neurologist. Not attending scheduled doctor’s appointments, skipping treatments or discontinuing your treatment without being discharged by your doctor can all lead an insurance company to believe that you were either not hurt, or that you’re not doing what you need to do to get better.
You may know that you’re in pain. But if it is not properly reflected in your medical records, then the other side can argue that gaps in treatment or non-compliance occurred because you are feeling better — or, even worse, that you were never actually hurt in the first place.
2. Update your attorney
Often, the only way that your attorney will know the facts surrounding your case is if you tell them. If you change your address or phone number, for instance, it’s imperative that you notify them immediately. If your attorney attempts to contact you and is unable to, it can be detrimental to your case. There are numerous deadlines in personal injury cases that must be met by your attorney. If they are unable to reach you or you cannot respond in a timely manner to your attorney, it could be grounds for dismissal of your case.
It’s equally important to notify your attorney about any changes in your medical treatment. There are over 130 hospitals in the state of Georgia alone, and even more physical therapists and primary care physicians. If you fail to provide your attorney with a list of the medical providers that you have seen in relation to injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident, then it will be almost impossible for your attorney to know where you’ve been treated. If your attorney doesn’t know where you have treated, then they won’t be able to obtain copies of your medical records and billing statements. These records and bills are needed because they are the only way to prove your pain and suffering.
Insurance companies are in the business of finding clever ways to deny your claim. If you can’t provide proof of your pain and suffering, they will have a hard time believing you. Your medical records are the easiest way to do that, so it should be at the top of your priority list to make sure that your attorney is aware of all of the places where you have received treatment for your accident-related injuries, as well as any new providers that you may be referred to as you continue your treatment.
In addition, you should be providing your attorney with any bills that show up in your mailbox relating to treatment from the motor vehicle accident. It’s common for bills to show up from medical providers, maybe even some that you weren’t unaware of. This can include an ambulance looking to be reimbursed for transporting you from the scene of the accident to the hospital emergency room, a physician’s bill from an emergency room doctor, or a radiology bill from any X-ray, MRI, CT scan, ultrasound, or other imaging that needed to be done.
While your attorney may still reach out to the medical provider directly to get a certified copy of these bills to submit to the insurance company, they are able to use the copy of the bill you supplied them with to make sure that requests are sent out to the right facilities, and that the billing amount provided to the attorney’s office by the medical facility is the same one reflected on the bill they sent to your home.
3. Don’t talk about your case on social media
It’s important to realize that nothing you post online is private. Once something has been uploaded to the internet, there is always a possibility of accessing it, even from the most secure, private accounts. Therefore, if you are claiming that you were seriously injured from a motor vehicle accident but your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any other social media account page tells a different story, it can be detrimental to your case.
For example, if you are claiming back pain resulting from an auto accident and post photographs of you going bungee jumping a week later, it will be hard to convince anyone that you are suffering from any type of legitimate pain.
Even when your pain is legitimate, posts and photos can be misconstrued and used against you by the opposing party. For instance, a photograph posted of you in the gym working on regaining strength following your motor vehicle accident could be used to argue that you must not be in too much pain if you are able to exercise.
Remember that it’s the insurance adjuster’s job to minimize your injuries in order to settle your claim for as low as possible — or to find a reason to deny you a settlement entirely. For this reason, it is best to be extremely cautious with what you put on social media or avoid it altogether while your case is pending.
4. Be honest with your lawyer
Your attorney is here to help you in obtaining the maximum settlement from your personal injury case. The only way that they can do that properly is to know all of the facts surrounding your case. Just because you divulge everything to your attorney about your case doesn’t mean that your attorney will choose to use it in settlement negotiations or at trial.
It’s better to make sure that your attorney is aware of everything that happened so that they are never blindsided by an argument that they may have never considered before hearing it from someone other than you. The more your attorney knows, the better prepared they can be, which is why it is always best to be open and honest with your attorney.
5. Be patient with the process
When you’re hurt and the medical bills are piling up, it can be tempting to do anything to get a check in your hands as quickly as possible. But it’s important that you are not too eager. Accepting a quick settlement offer from the insurance company will prevent you from receiving any future compensation.
Your settlement is determined in large part by the total cost of the treatment of your injuries. If you don’t know the exact amount of your medical bills yet, it leaves the insurance company to guess which can leave you short-changed. This is because it’s almost impossible to determine how much compensation is truly owed when each case is different.
Further, once you have accepted a settlement check and signed a release, there is no going back later to ask for additional money if you must resume medical treatment. This means you would be left paying for medical treatment resulting from a motor vehicle accident that wasn’t your fault. There are different types of damages you could suffer because of your injuries, and you might not even be aware of all the kinds of injuries and losses that you have until weeks or months after the accident. Therefore, you should be patient and allow your body to fully heal from all your injuries before accepting any settlement.
Finding the best Georgia car accident lawyer
Ultimately, your attorney’s job is to build a strong case against the at-fault driver. And the best person to help them do that is YOU. You were the one involved in the accident, so start by fully explaining what happened and what you experienced to your attorney. If you have any photographs from the scene of the accident, bills from medical facilities, or out-of-pocket receipts related to your accident, be sure to provide copies of them to your attorney.
Always update your attorney about any changes — including your contact information as well as any medical providers you received treatment from. And, of course, be patient. Every case is different. Some cases are straightforward and can be settled within a few months, while others can have more extensive injuries that require longer treatment or could require more behind-the-scenes work due to liability issues.
One of the best ways to ensure that your case is settled as fast as possible is to find the best personal injury attorney near you. We invite you to schedule a free consultation with our experienced Georgia auto accident lawyers to determine if Scholle Law is right for you.