Mistake #1- Failing to call the police.
It is easy to start blaming other people for the accident or immediately accept blame yourself. Calling the police immediately puts an impartial person in middle of a stressful situation. The police will create a report which may be very important later.
REMINDER-YOU ARE ON A RECORDED PHONE LINE. IN COLORADO NO AUTO INSURANCE COMPANY IS YOUR FRIEND! Nearly every insurance carrier requires that you report even minor accidents. I encourage you to do so.
Where many mistakes are made is by giving your insurance or the other parties insurance too much information. Agents are trained to have you answer as many questions as possible while on a recorded line. Any statements you make can be taken out of context or used against you at a later date.
You do not need to confirm or deny any injuries. You can answer “I do not require an ambulance; I will follow up with my doctor as soon as possible.” Insurance agents will often try to get you to say you are not injured at all, or try to get you to list all of your injuries. This is not the time to make judgments about your injuries. And you are not a doctor. See mistake #3.
Answering questions for any insurance company while in an emotional state is not a great idea.
In many cases you do not have to speak with the other person’s insurance at all. However, if you do it is wise to give very basic answers. Refer them to the police report for details about the collision. If they ask about injuries, re-direct their questions by stating “My doctor will provide all relevant medical information.”
You may be stiff or sore and you think it will go away. You may have a headache, or have fatigue and think everything is going to be all right. For many of us if were not dead, broken, or leaking somewhere we must be OK, right?
In my experience automobile accidents are the #1 cause of rapid spinal damage. I have taken many pre-accident and post-accident X-rays and I have seen the damage that even a low speed automobile collision can have on the spine. Everything from disc rupture, to ligament damage, chip fractures, misalignment, to subluxation can be seen after an automobile accident.
Doctors of Chiropractic are uniquely trained in the mechanics of the body. An accident can cause injuries that may or may not hurt, but it does cause body parts to not work properly. Dysfunction inevitably leads to symptoms. Sometimes those symptoms take weeks or months to arrive. Don’t wait until it is too late.
If you have new or unique pain you need an examination.
If you have pain that radiates- such as neck pain that radiates into the arm.
You need an examination.
If you are unsure if you are injured get an examination.
I rather enjoy telling a patient they got through their accident without injury.
If you have been injured, timing is very important. The earlier you are diagnosed, documented, and treated for your injuries the better the outcome is for you and your health.
If you have been in an accident and would like an examination click below and/or call 719-571-0070.
Mistake #4- Not hiring an attorney.
I wish this step was not necessary. But wishing it does not change the fact that many people/insurance companies do not do what they are supposed to do. They avoid doing what they are supposed to do even when they are required by law to comply.
Once again timing is important. Hire an attorney early in the process. Many attorneys are paid on a contingency basis. That means unless you use their service to sue or collect money you will not owe them any money.
Look for an attorney that is willing to try your case in court. That means, if you truly have a case, then you need someone who willing to fight for you in court. That means if you hire an attorney that settles a large percentage of their cases, you will get a smaller settlement. Do your research and know who you are hiring.
This mistake often occurs when you don’t have an attorney. Insurance agents once tried to convince a patient of mine to take a quick settlement for a $1000. The agent said “Hey go buy a TV or take a short vacation”. Luckily this patient knew that if they took a settlement- The insurance company would close the case. That means no further payment of anything.
So if you have injuries and you have not fully recovered, do not settle.
If you have exhausted your medical payments, do not settle until you have fully recovered.
There are many arrangements that can be made with attorneys and doctors to ensure that you can continue to receive care. Only settle your case if you and your doctor think that you have made the most complete recovery possible.
Is it possible there is permanent damage? Of course it is possible. Then you, your attorney and your doctor can plan for future care costs, and include that in your case.
The consequences of injuries sustained in an automobile accident can last a lifetime.
Avoiding these mistakes can make a full recovery less stressful.