If you have any questions about your auto accident or your personal injury case, please feel free to contact one of our Durham Personal Injury Attorneys or Greensboro Personal Injury Attorneys. We offer free consultations, and will answer your questions by email and phone free of charge. You can contact us by completing the Free Consultation Form to the right, by sending us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling us at 888-820-5885.
This week I am going to talk about injuries that arise out of auto accidents that involve minimal damage to the vehicles.
We often get phone calls from clients that have been hurt in an auto accident, but they are not sure what to do because the damage to their vehicle is minor and they are concerned that the insurance company will deny their injury claim. The main message I want to communicate to those of you out there who have been hurt in an auto accident is that the damage to the vehicles involved in the motor vehicle accident is not a precise forecaster of whether a person is injured. Just as people sometimes walk away from a major accident with no injuries, people walk away from minor accidents with significant injuries. If you are feeling injured after a minor accident, you should not feel hesitant to seek medical treatment or file a personal injury claim with the insurance company.
Below are a few tips if you have been injured in a low-damage accident or low-impact accident:
- Seek medical treatment from your personal or primary physician (do not immediately go to the hospital emergency room (a local urgent care center is okay), a chiropractor or physical therapist) as soon as you feel any symptoms of injury. This is especially important to your case as one of the difficulties in an injury case resulting from a low-damage accident or low-impact accident is proving the accident caused the injury (often the insurance company will allege either (a) you are not injured and are faking your injuries or (b) your injuries were caused by some other incident and not the auto accident). So, it is important that your medical treatment be close in time to the auto accident, and also that you are clear with your doctor that your injury symptoms arose due to the auto accident. If you have any questions about where you should seek medical treatment our Durham Personal Injury Lawyers and Greensboro Personal Injury Lawyers can give you a referral to a local primary physician.
- Avoid treating with a chiropractor, physical therapist or acupuncturist until you have received a referral from your physician. When you are injured in a low-damage/low-impact auto accident, the insurance adjuster is going to scrutinize your every action to try to show that you are not injured or that you are faking your injuries. As a result, you will have to be extra diligent to be sure that your medical treatment is as logical as possible. Generally the most logical place to go when you are injured is to your personal physician or an urgent care center (not a hospital emergency room). These are the places people are expected to go when they are sick or have non-life threatening injuries. Insurance adjusters, and many ordinary citizens, do not expect auto accident victims to self-diagnose their injuries, refer themselves to specialists or to skip visiting their doctor and immediately go to a chiropractor, physical therapist, acupuncturist, etc. If you are considering a non-traditional or alternative course of medical treatment and want to discuss the potential impact on your personal injury claim feel free to call one of our Durham Injury Lawyers or Greensboro Injury Lawyers.
- Unless you have an x-ray or MRI that shows you have a tangible injury (such as a broken bone, torn ligament/tendon, etc. – neck/back/shoulder sprain/strain is not considered a tangible injury), the opinion of the insurance adjuster is typically that your medical treatment should generally not go on longer than 4-6 weeks. As a result, any medical treatment outside of 4-6 weeks will often be contested by the insurance adjuster. So just be aware that as you obtain medical treatment more than 4 weeks after your accident, those medical bills may not be voluntarily reimbursed by the insurance adjuster (which means you will either have to sue to get reimbursement (which will take 1-2 years) or your settlement will not include those medical bills, which could result in less money in your pocket after those medical bills are paid). If you end up seeking medical treatment outside of 4 weeks after your accident, and you do not have any tangible injury then be sure to go back to your primary physician to get another referral for additional treatment (this referral will help justify the treatment to the insurance adjuster). If you have any questions on the expected recovery date of your injury (which is what the insurance company uses to deny your medical bills) our Durham Accident Attorneys and Greensboro Accident Attorneys are happy to answer your questions.
- Never ever miss an appointment for your medical treatment. Again, with an injury from a low-damage/low-impact accident, the insurance adjuster is looking to discredit your injury. If you miss an appointment, the insurance adjuster will interpret that as though you are not injured and do not need the medical treatment. If you do have to miss an appointment, document the reason and make sure it is a great reason.
Unlike an injury from a high-impact/high-damage accident, every aspect of an injury claim from a low-impact/low-damage accident will be scrutinized. Little slip-ups such as delaying medical treatment, immediately seeking treatment from a chiropractor or physical therapist, obtaining medical treatment outside of 4 weeks after the accident and missing medical treatment appointments will really work against your case and make it difficult for you to get good compensation for your injury.
If you have been injured in a low impact accident or low damage accident and would like to ask our Durham Injury Attorneys or Greensboro Injury Attorneys any questions, you can reach us by filling out the Free Consultation Form to the right, by emailing us at email@example.com or by calling us at 888-820-5885. Even if you choose to not hire a North Carolina personal injury attorney or if you choose to hire a different North Carolina personal injury lawyer we are happy to field your questions free of charge. Also, we always offer free consultations for accident and personal injury clients.