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Making a Personal Injury Claim
Steps 1 to 5
What are the necessary steps to take to make a personal injury claim successful? There is no one specific way to handle injury claims. However, there are certain things you have to ensure to protect your interest.
The first step to take in an injury claim process is to visit the emergency room.
If you go to the emergency room you are documenting the initial trauma. Depending on how bad the accident was, emergency room doctors will order X-rays and would do an overall assessment of your health.
The second step to make in a personal injury claim is to ensure that your injury is being documented correctly.
Be sure you describe all your symptoms. Do not worry about sounding like you are complaining. Do not play the tough guy card.
Nurses and doctors will make an objective assessment of your condition in the Emergency Room and include that in their report. If you are telling the doctor and everyone else that you are okay and that you will be okay, then that will be reported - even if you are mistaken or trying to sound better than you really are.
The insurance adjuster will deduct from your settlement on the grounds that you were not that injured. Making a personal injury claim is more about documentation and medical records than about the actual injury.
I am not telling you that you should misrepresent your injury. That will not get you anywhere and it is called insurance fraud.
What I am telling you is this - you should give your real symptoms and you should not make things sound better (or worse) than they really are.
This is very important even if you are making a personal injury claim that only involves soft tissue claims.
There is not much objective documentation other than your testimony about your pain and health complications, so make sure you express your real condition when you are asked.
Going to the emergency room is crucial to any bodily injury claim. It is always a good idea to go directly to the emergency room to get double checked.
You never know what could be wrong with you or your kids until you have a medical doctor see you. Your personal injury protection coverage should cover your emergency room expenses as long as they are reasonable and necessary.
Making sure you are okay is reasonable and necessary. You will have coverage for that, make sure you use it! Your family’s health is at stake.
The third step in a personal injury claim depends on your present condition. If you think it is necessary, you may ask your doctor for a work release.
Most accident pains and aches will not surface until the next day, or the day after that. You need to make sure you have a doctor’s note to show at work.
Sometimes, staying at home can make you feel better. Most people report that they feel like “a train ran them over”. Believe me; staying at home because of a car injury is not fun. You will be feeling the pain.
It is easier to ask the emergency room doctor to give you a work release the day of the accident, than having to come back and ask for one. If you ask for it and do not use it, then it will seem as if you are in a better position than what you claim.
Do not leave the emergency claim without a work release. There is reason why you should ask for one.
Again, if you can work the next day, then go to work. But if you cannot, the insurance adjuster will remind you that the doctor you saw did not release you from work. Trust me, they will make you feel like you are complaining (whining) and that you do not deserve your loss of wages.
The fourth step to make in a personal injury claim is to visit your general practitioner. You should follow up with your doctor as soon as you can. Do not allow too many days to go by.
Seeing your doctor adds validity to your claim. If the visit is only related to the vehicle accident, then your personal injury protection will cover those expenses. While you are at the doctor’s office, ask for a referral either to a chiropractor or to a physical therapist.
This will also show to the claim adjuster and to a jury that you are not out there to take advantage of the insurance company.
Also note, doctors will document everything you say or write (I know, I already told you). Be aware of that fact.
If you are telling your doctor that you are 80 to 90% feeling better, then that goes on the record. If they give you a chart to fill out, and you mark that you feel considerably better, that goes on the record. Your adjuster will see this record as well.
The adjuster will tell you that you noted on that date that you were 90% better, so you should not have a lot of pain after that date, and therefore, you should not be entitled to payments for suffering after that date.
The fifth step is to go see the doctor you were referred to. All the rules above apply.
They will provide you with an intake form and charts to fill out. They will ask you how you feel, how you are doing and questions similar to that. You may also be asked about what other factors in your life is affecting your injury.
This is the question that kills many soft tissue injuries. Many unwary patients write down things like, I am very stressed at work, or I went to pick up a box and I threw out my back trying to lift it. If you tell them that you were able to mow, but afterwards your back was on pain, this will go on the record.
The adjuster will be looking at your medical bills with a magnifying glass. Remember, making a personal injury claim is more about documentation than the actual injury.
Adjusters will tell you that the reason why you are injured is because you injured yourself after the accident. There is evidence that you are feeling good enough to mow or to pick up boxes, and that is how you injured yourself.
All of these arguments are completely legal. They would not owe you for any exacerbation of the injury. You did that to yourself. Therefore, be wary of what you say. The doctor’s office is a friendly place, and that is probably why just about everyone tells the medical staff all their life's affairs. Be careful.
If you’ve been injured and do not know what to do next, a local personal injury attorney can answer your questions and help you decide what to do.
Insurance claims can be complicated, and insurance companies do not always advocate for you. Fill out the form below to be able to reach and talk with a personal injury lawyer near you.
Insurance companies are not on your side. You can either get this personal injury eBook or talk to a personal injury attorney before you make any decisions!
Follow the links below for more information about accident injuries, bodily injury claims, and what to ask when making this type of claim.
1. Who can make a bodily injury claim
2. Reserving your bodily injury claim
3. Soft Tissue Claim Part I
4. Permanent Injury Claim
5. Medical bills, medicine, expenses
6. Loss of Wages
7. Loss of Earning Capacity
8. Loss of Business Income
9. Loss of Consortium
10. Loss of Quality of Life
11. Loss of Essential Services
12. Future Treatment and Expenses
13. Pain and Suffering
14. Prior Injuries
15. Psychological Injuries
16. Personal Injury Claim Settlement (evaluation of a claim)
17. Car Accident Injury Claim and Burden of Proof
18. What affects compensation for back and other injury claims
19. A word about Head Injuries
Making a Personal Injury Claim: Steps 1 to 5
Making a Personal Injury Claim: Steps 6 to 10
Pain and Suffering Reimbursement
Injury Demand Letter - How to write one
When to write an Injury Settlement Demand Letter
The Actual Injury Demand Letter (Format)
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