How to Maximize Your Recovery in an Auto Accident Case
Posted on June 17, 2015 by Matthew Paré
Insurance companies want to resolve your personal injury claim for the smallest amount of money possible. However, by knowing some of the common ways in which insurance companies, their adjusters, and the defense attorneys attempt to devalue an auto accident claim you will be in a better position to ensure that your case is strong and will settle for the maximum value. In this article some of the common criticisms of auto accident claims will be discussed. This information should be considered by everyone involved in an auto accident case. The same basic principles apply to all types of personal injury cases as well, although these issues most often come up in an auto accident case.
One of the first things that defense attorneys and insurance companies will harp on in an auto accident personal injury case is if there is a delay in treatment. The logic goes something like this: If you were significantly injured in the accident you would go to the doctor right away, right? They believe that is what a jury would think, and there may be some truth to that. In reality there are a number of possible explanations as to why someone might not go to the doctor immediately following a car crash. For example, some people do not have health insurance or a means to pay for a doctor’s appointment so feel that they cannot realistically go receive treatment, despite being in pain and suffering. Some people might think that they will just get better with time. Other people’s injury is not immediately obvious but only with time will the symptoms more fully develop. Despite these possible explanations, the fact of the matter is that if you delay in seeking treatment in an auto accident case it will hurt your case. Knowing this, it is clearly in your best interest not to delay in seeking medical treatment if you are in an accident. You should do so immediately. Additionally, receiving prompt medical attention is not only in the best financial interest of your claim, but also best for your health as well.
Another common criticism that insurance companies will highlight is if there is a gap in treatment. This is similar to a delay in treatment, but also covers situations where someone was in a course of physical therapy, for example, and did not show up to some appointments, or stopped going and then restarted at a later time. The logic is again simply that this type of evidence suggests that someone was not very hurt because the injured person was not making it a priority to receive treatment. Knowing this in advance, claimants in personal injury cases must be mindful not to have gaps in their treatment. Again, by consistently receiving the necessary medical care and not missing appointments you are doing what is best both for your health and the value of your claim.
The third thing that insurance companies and their attorneys will use against personal injury plaintiffs is credibility problems. Now, most people have not committed perjury or completely fabricated the claim, but more subtle inconsistencies can be used against you when making a personal injury claim in an auto accident case. For example, if you gave a statement to the insurance company voluntarily following the accident, and then said something different in your deposition or in written discovery responses that is the type of thing that would be damaging. Similarly, if you report one thing to the doctor and then describe it very differently at the time of your deposition that will be a problem for your case. The solution for this is really quite simple, which is to be honest and consistent throughout the entire process because even what might seem as minor differences can be twisted to challenge someone’s credibility.
Finally, the last things to be mindful of in pursuing a claim for personal injury damages following an auto accident are the related problems of either downplaying or exaggerating your injuries. You need to tell it like it is. Based upon differences in personalities, some people are more inclined to fall on either end of this spectrum. For those that downplay their injuries, they can be tough and want to deny the true extent of their injury and will tell themselves and others that their injury is not that big of a deal. Given that the value of a personal injury claim depends upon the severity of the injuries, obviously that type of approach is going to be counter-productive. The other extreme is those that believe their life has come to an end and will report problems throughout their entire body following a relatively minor accident. Those sorts of claimants will be portrayed as trying to take advantage of the accident and blowing it out of proportion. As with most extremes in life, it is best to avoid them, and your personal injury claim will be best served by a more measured approach somewhere in the middle. In other words, it is important not to downplay the extent of your injuries, but also not to exaggerate. Rather, the nature of the injuries and the impact that they have had on your life must be described as accurately as possible.
These are just some of the things to keep in mind in order to maximize the value of your auto accident personal injury claim. These above-described considerations are important to be aware of in ensuring that your personal injury claim maintains the most possible value. Of course, in addition to these considerations, the single most important step you can take to make sure you resolve your personal injury claim for the most money is to retain the right attorney to represent you. Attorney Matthew Pare of Chula Vista, CA is very experienced in representing plaintiffs in auto accident cases and will help to ensure that your case resolves for the most that it can. He can be reached at 619-869-4999.