What A Personal Injury Client Should Know. . .
Insurance companies and defendants, in general, do not pay money willingly. In any type of personal injury action, whether it is from a car accident of a slip/trip and fall, the value of the case is determined by the injured person’s medical condition. The injury is what determines the actual damages. Therefore, insurance companies will thoroughly investigate the facts of any type of accident, the claims for medical treatments, and any past injuries or claims to evaluate the injured person’s damages.
It is absolutely necessary that you tell your attorney about any prior injury or prior pain to any and all part(s) of your body. You should be sure to furnish your attorney with the names and addresses of all doctors who have treated you in the past. Insurance companies keep a computerized record of any and all claims against any insurance company. The insurance company will find out if you have ever made any previous claims.
The insurance company or the attorneys in injury cases may hire a private investigator to take videotapes of any physical activity that you may engage in. Many good cases are compromised by the injured person concealing or forgetting a previous injury. You should be certain that they will obtain all copies of all past medical records. If you lie it will only be to your detriment.
Additionally, you should tell your doctor about all of your complaints. The doctors’ records can only be as complete as the information you give him or her. If you do not tell the Doctor about an ache or pain, the Doctor will not put it in the records. If the treatments are not helpful, tell the Doctor. If your condition worsens, tell the Doctor. Communication with the Doctor is as essential to your health and your case as is hiring an experienced attorney. Remember it is these complete records of the doctor that will determine your damages.
Keep track of all prescriptions and medicines you take. Save the receipts and send them to your attorney as they are incurred. Keep a day by day diary of all your complaints and restricted activities. Some day it may be necessary to have friends, neighbors or co-workers testify regarding your disability, pain and suffering; therefore, start thinking about such witnesses for possible future reference.
Keep your attorney informed about anything that in any way might affect your case. Applications for insurance benefits, reports to the State, any change in doctors, returning to work, any change in treatment, etc., should be reported to your attorney to ensure it does not negatively affect your claim.
Please keep the following in mind. It sometimes takes many months to make a claim and settle. In fact, it is ill advised to settle certain types of claims too soon because it often takes a long time for serious injuries to become evident. There is no set formula or time taken for resolution of most types of cases. Some will not be resolved without litigation and yet, some will require Trial or Binding Arbitration. Cases can be resolved in a few months or take years to complete. You are expected to be patient.
The first step in you personal injury matter is the claims process. This is not a lawsuit; there are no court dates or decisions made by a Judge. If a claim has been denied by the insurance carrier or the offer for settlement is less than the value of the case, a lawsuit may be filed. Once a lawsuit is filed, a great deal of time is put into preparation of the file for Trial and/or Arbitration. You must be patient as you attorney is only following the guidelines provided under the law. A professional attorney will provide you with regular updates of the actions taken on your behalf.
This column is produced by Mary Der-Parseghian, Esq. For questions or comments, please send your message to 4727 Wilshire blvd., Suite 301, Los Angeles, CA 90010; E-mail: Mary@MaryDLaw.com or call at 323-937-2727. For additional articles please visit our webpage at www.MaryDLaw.com.
© 2011. Der-Parseghian Law Group