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Anneke Kurt
Anneke Kurt
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Ten tips to maximize your personal injury recovery – Part I

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If you’ve suffered personal injury in an accident, the initial steps you take can make a big difference to the outcome of your case. Our Toledo, Ohio personal injury attorneys have compiled ten tips to help you avoid insurance company traps and receive fair compensation for your personal injury. Here are the first three:

1. Seek treatment immediately.

The best thing you can do for both your physical and financial health is to get the proper medical treatment for your personal injuries. This isn’t a time to tough it out and hope that you’ll miraculously heal. Returning to health should be your top priority. You need to go to your family physician or to the emergency room to make sure that you get the treatment you’ll need to recover from the personal injury you suffered in the accident.

Once you go to the doctor, follow his or her orders so you can make the best recovery possible. If your doctor tells you to go to a physical therapist, do it. If you visit a chiropractor, complete the recommended treatment plan.

This makes sense not only for your physical health, but for your financial health as well. An insurance adjuster is going to base any settlement offer to you on the medical care you’ve received because it provides a way to measure your injuries and resulting pain. Getting treatment demonstrates to the insurance company that you’re not faking your injury and that you’re taking the process seriously. Compensation for the pain and suffering you’ve endured as a result of your accident will be based to some degree on the amount of your medical bills.

Once you’ve started treatment, see it through to the end. Don’t stop the second you start to feel better if your doctor has recommended that you complete a certain amount of rehabilitation. If you stop early, you may not be fully healed. Resuming treatment months after you’ve stopped sends a message to the insurance company that you may not have been hurt in the first place or that you’re trying to take advantage of the process.

2. Don’t rush to settle your claim quickly.

If you’re reading this book because you were recently involved in an accident caused by another driver, you may already have received a call from an insurance adjuster trying to settle your claim. Typically, an adjuster will wave a few thousand dollars under your nose to settle the claim quickly. It sounds good until you realize you’re hurt more seriously than you anticipated or your medical bills end up eating into that money.

If you’re tempted to settle your case below its value just because you need money for your medical bills, hold off. If you hire an attorney, the attorney usually will be able to work out an arrangement with your health-care provider for your provider to be paid out of the proceeds of your settlement. The doctor or chiropractor will continue to treat you without requiring payment after receiving what’s called a “letter of protection” from your lawyer. This allows you to continue getting the treatment that you need, while ensuring the doctor is paid at the end of your case.

Settling your case quickly doesn’t allow you to be fully compensated for your medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages. It only benefits the insurance company because it won’t have to pay out the full value of your case.

3. Don’t underestimate the insurance adjusters who contact you.

This tip goes back to what we discussed in the introduction. Insurance adjusters handle claims for a living. They’re judged by their bosses by how they settle claims and how much money they save for the company. This doesn’t make them bad people; they’re just doing their jobs and looking out for the best interests of their employers. It’s up to you and your lawyer to look out for your interests.

It’s no shock that insurance companies often own the tallest skyscrapers in a city. They have powerful lobbies throughout the country and, along with other business interests, have done their best to get legislation passed that makes it hard for accident victims to be fairly compensated. They’ve gotten rich by collecting as much money as possible from all of us while trying to avoid making fair settlements with people suffering from accidents they didn’t cause.

So, when an adjuster representing the person who caused the accident gives you a call, keep in mind where their loyalties lie. They’ll likely be extremely pleasant, but they have one goal: to settle your claim as cheaply as possible. They do this for a living, all day and every day. Because this is probably the first time you’ve been an accident victim, you are at an obvious disadvantage. Be smart when you’re dealing with them – or better yet, hire a lawyer who deals with insurance companies on a daily basis. After all, the insurance companies have professionals working for them, so you should too.