Seeking prompt medical care is one of the most important things you can do if you’ve been involved in a motor vehicle accident. People sometimes bypass this step because they feel that their injuries don’t warrant a trip to the ER or to their doctor only to discover later that they should have sought medical attention. Some injuries may not be immediately obvious in the minutes and hours following a car accident — just because you don’t feel a significant amount of pain doesn’t mean that you haven’t been injured. A car accident injury can occur in even low-speed, minor accidents, and keep in mind that your adrenaline will be flowing after any type of accident, which may serve to mask the initial pain.
When to File
Ideally, you should seek medical care as soon as possible after becoming involved in a motor vehicle accident. If you can’t go to the emergency room or see your doctor right away, make an appointment for the first available time. The longer you wait to get a diagnosis and receive treatment, the harder your personal injury case will be to prove. Waiting more than two weeks to seek the services of a health-care professional will be used against you by the insurance company — they’ll say that because so much time has passed between the accident and seeing a doctor, it’s reasonable to think that the injuries in question may be from another cause.
One of the first things your insurance companies will try to determine is whether or not you sought medical treatment in a timely fashion after an accident. If this isn’t the case, the insurance company may attempt to have your claim dismissed altogether. However, it’s equally important that you carefully adhere to your medical treatment program in the weeks and months following the accident. Any deviation from doing so will be viewed as possible proof that your injuries as not as serious as you claim. Insurance companies hire investigators to comb through every inch of your life in order to keep their payouts as low as possible, and they will certainly be checking applicable medical records. Even missing one appointment can count against you when it comes to negotiating your claim.
You will also have to make sure to follow all medical advice to the letter. For instance, if your doctor tells you not to engage in strenuous physical activity, put off digging that drainage ditch or planting new trees on your property until you’ve been medically cleared. If the other party’s insurance company gets a photo of you doing something you shouldn’t, your claim may well be lost.
Filing Your Claim
Medical records provide evidence to insurance companies that you have a valid claim, so be sure to have them in order when you make initial contact with your insurance company. Under normal circumstances, your insurance company will be the one presenting the claim to the insurance company representing the other party, so make sure they’re armed with as much pertinent information as possible.
Please contact us at Oaktree Law for more information on what you need to do to ensure filing a successful insurance claim after you’ve been involved in a motor vehicle accident.