YOUR INJURY CLAIM & WORKING WITH INSURANCE COMPANIES:
IMPORTANT THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
The Facts: What Happened? Don’t let anybody twist your words or change the facts.
- If injured, call 911.
- SOMEONE ELSE’S FAULT: Take as much information as you can about the individuals involved, what vehicles, license plate, insurance information, and contact information. Don’t assume that they are going to take care of you!
- SOMEONE ELSE’S FAULT: Consult an attorney. The initial consultation is free. This is an important opportunity to ask questions, and learn more about your claim.
- SOMEONE ELSE’S FAULT: DO NOT GIVE A RECORDED STATEMENT to the other insurance company. Consult an attorney.
- DO NOT SIGN ANYTHING without consulting an attorney.
- YOUR OWN INSURANCE: Call your own insurance company as soon as possible to open a claim. If you are asked to give a recorded statement, consult an attorney. You are required to cooperate with your own insurance company, but I am present during my clients’ interviews to hear that only appropriate questions are asked.
- DON’T WAIT: WRITE DOWN in detail the facts of what happened as soon as you can. It is important to prove who was at fault, but if information isn’t gathered right away, the information can get lost when you need it. Who was involved? Where did the crash or incident happen? Take names, addresses, and phone numbers of witnesses.
- DON’T WAIT: Take photos of the scene, lights, intersections, all vehicles, or the premises involved. Though it may feel strange, take photos of injuries—cuts, bruises, or other. These photos may later become critical in proving your claims.
Dealing with Injuries: Listen to your body. Don’t let the insurance company tell you that you have little or no injury.
- If you have been injured in a car crash, a fall, dog bite, or other incident, pay close attention to your body. For example, what is hurting, do you have a headache, are you in shock, are you disoriented, did you hit your head on the headrest, steering wheel, dashboard, window, ground? When did you feel pain, and can you describe your pain? What position was your body in when the impact occurred? Did you lose consciousness?
- Call 911
- DON’T WAIT: WRITE DOWN notes of your pains, and what body parts (from head to toe). What other symptoms do you have? Nausea, achiness, pounding, stabbing, pinching, numbing, tingling, weakness? Anything else?
- DON’T WAIT: If you are injured, don’t wait to get medical treatment. If you wait, insurance companies will tell you that you must not be injured, or you’re not that hurt. Don’t let the insurance company speak for you.
- DON’T WAIT: Meet with an attorney for a free consultation. I always welcome meeting with individuals and families who are going through this. Meeting with me will answer questions, tell you the truth about your rights, and provide you with an explanation and truths of the insurance process.
TALKING TO YOUR DOCTORS: BE VOCAL, CONSISTENT, AND TAKE ACTION:
What is in your medical records?
Be vocal with your doctors about your pains and symptoms. Your medical records are critical in proving your injuries. If your injuries are not documented in your medical records, the insurance company will tell you that you must not be injured, or you’re not that hurt, or make you feel like you’re lying, hiding something, or that it’s all in your head. Don’t let the insurance company speak for you.
What treatment are you getting? Is insurance going to pay for it?
You have a right to pick the medical treatment, and the medical providers for you. However, the law says that insurance only has to pay for treatment that is reasonable and necessary for your injuries. If your current treatment is not, or is no longer, benefitting you, or makes you feel more pain, have a discussion with your medical providers about the best medical plan for you, what other medical options are available.
If you are not getting better, follow-up with your doctors.
How long before you lose your rights to bring a personal injury claim against someone else?
- DON’T WAIT: This depends on the type of legal claim and who is at fault. It is important that you consult with an attorney. You may have a legal right to recovery against someone else for causing you injury, but you may lose this right if you do not bring a claim on time.
Washington Injury Lawyer