1. DON’T RUIN YOUR CASE. If you are injured, the law entitles you to be compensated for your injuries. You are asking the insurance company or a jury to compensate you financially for what you are going through. Just being in an accident does not entitle you to money … you must prove some significant injury.
2. MISSING WORK. In order to be paid if you miss work, you must have an “off work” slip from your doctor and a wage loss verification form completed and signed by your employer. You need to get an “off work” slip from your doctor every time you see him/her. Sometimes the doctor will give you restrictions which you must present to your employer to see if your employer can return you to work. If not, you must get something in writing from your employer that states your employer cannot accommodate your restrictions in order to get wage loss payments. You must get a copy of these documents to your attorney.
3. DOCTOR/NURSE/PHYSICAL THERAPIST NOTES. Your doctor, nurse and physical therapist will make written reports when you see them. Please realize that it is not just the doctor that writes these notes. The nurse makes notes and the therapist does too. You need to realize that what you say to the doctor, nurse and physical therapist will end up in their reports. These reports are submitted to the insurance company. The reports help support your care and your pain and suffering. The insurance company is looking for something that is bad for your case in these reports. A typical meeting with every healthcare provider starts with the question, “How are you today?” If you are hurting, be matter of fact about where you hurt and make certain that your health care provider understands if you are experiencing pain.
4. TELL THE DOCTOR AND PHYSICAL THERAPIST EVERY WHERE YOU HURT. It is important that you tell your doctor and physical therapist about each and every body part that hurts from the accident every time you see them. For example, if you have knee and back pain but only tell the doctor about your back pain and then tell him/her six months later that your knee hurts, the insurance company will deny your knee injury is related to the accident.
5. TELL THE DOCTOR ABOUT YOUR PAIN. If you are in pain, be sure to tell your doctor and physical therapist that you are still having problems from your accident. If you simply tell them that you are feeling better, they will typically write in their report that the “patient has improved” or “patient reports no pain”. If this is not true, do not tell them you are feeling better.
6. BE SPECIFIC ABOUT YOUR PAIN COMPLAINTS. Be sure to describe the pain you are having to the nurse, doctor or physical therapist. If you feeling numbness, tingling, prickling or stabbing pain, then let the healthcare provider know about it. If you have a neck or back injury, be sure to let them know if you are having shooting pain down your arm or leg or if you have numbness or tingling in your hands, fingers and/or toes.
7. ATTEND ALL OF YOUR APPOINTMENTS. If you are scheduled for a doctor appointment or physical therapy, then you MUST go to the appointment or get it rescheduled. If you miss appointments, the insurance company will assume that you must not be hurt or you would have gone to the appointment.
8. BE NICE. You need to be on your best behavior when at the doctor’s office. The receptionist, nurse, therapist and doctor are all there to help you. Do not be late. Do not argue with the staff or with the doctor. Clients who argue or are rude get bad reports that ruin their cases.
9. AVOID INSURANCE COMPANY TRICKS. If you do something outside of normal activities that make you feel pain(i.e., helping a friend move, lifting a large item, chopping wood, another auto accident, etc.) call your attorney immediately. Insurance companies love to point to these things to say that it was something else that cause your problem and they shouldn’t have to pay you for being injured in the accident.
10. FACEBOOK, MYSPACE, BLOGS and EMAIL. Insurance companies will look at your Facebook, MySpace, blogs, etc. to see if you are injured. You should not have these open to the general public and should set them so that you control who can view them. No matter if you think it is unlikely, assume that your “friends” will give something to the insurance company. Do not put anything on these pages about what your attorney tells you. Do not post anything that could damage your case; such as photos of you bull riding, partying, vacationing, etc. these things will be used against you to show you are not in pain and are not suffering.
11. YOU NEED A TRUSTYWORTHY, EXPERIENCED AND AGGRESSIVE INJURY LAWYER TO ASSIST YOU. Whether your case involves a car wreck, tractor trailer collision, nursing home malpractice, slip and fall, work related injury, wrongful death, product liability or any type of injury incident — to maximize the value of your case, you need a skilled attorney who has a successful background handling these types of cases. The attorneys at DeVaughn James, LLC have incredible jury trial records and have received some of the highest verdicts in the State!