Anyone involved in an auto accident needs to take several steps to maximize their chances for a good medical recovery and also to get the most in legal damages. If the accident victim is not capable of performing some of these tasks, then a family member or friend should help. Questions? Contact an Oklahoma City car accident attorney.
Get Medical Care
The first and most important step is to seek medical attention. Many people try to put on a brave face and say they’re not really hurt. The correct procedure that state motor vehicle agencies and all personal injury attorneys will recommend is to get prompt medical care. Seriously hurt victims should be taken to a local hospital emergency room. Normally, the police and anyone who knows the accident victim will arrange for an ambulance to transport the person.
People who don’t think they have medical problems should still get checked out – either at the local emergency room or, at least, by their local general physician. Many symptoms such as soft tissue injures do not appear until hours or days later. Treating the injuries early can minimize the pain.
Treating injuries early also helps when the victim’s lawyer is negotiating with an insurance company or trying the case. Delay is often seen as a sign that the car accident victim was not hurting. Insurance companies will penalize any accident claimant who waits to see a doctor. Some will say the person is faking or is just a malingerer. Delay can also make it harder to prove that the accident was the cause of the accident victim’s injuries.
Keep Medical Records
Most insurance companies settle cases based on the type of injury, the types of doctors that are seen, the medical procedures performed and the number of visits. The amount of the medical bills is also very important. In some states, those with no-fault insurance laws and limited and full tort option, the car accident victim needs to show the injury was serious in order to sue. One factor in showing seriousness is the amount of the medical bills.
The following records should be kept:
- The name address of every hospital visit, every doctor visit, every chiropractor and every physical therapist. A skilled car accident attorney will get the full medical bills and reports from each treating doctor. The lawyer will also review the records to see if the doctor recording everything correctly.
- Medication receipts. The bills can add up quickly. The name of the pharmacy, the type of medication and the dosage amount should be recorded.
- A record of any medical equipment such as wheelchairs, walkers, crutches, canes,
- Travel time and expenses to see the doctors
- A journal of the physical and emotional problems. By the time a case comes to trial, it is easy to forget the daily pain that you endured. Keeping a journal each day of the hurts and the things you could not do is important. The journal should include all the little things the victim would normally do like teaching the children and enjoying the company of a spouse.
- Take photographs of the injuries. It is best to have a family member, friend or a professional photographer take pictures of the injuries. The black and blues and reds help verify the pain. When the injuries heal; the insurance adjustor, judge or jury can’t see how horrible the injuries were. Pictures of the injuries show bad the pain really was.
Doctors will diagnose the car accident victim’s injuries the best they can. They will then offer a course of treatment and recommend that the patient continue to see the doctors. Patients should complete the treatment to make sure they are as healthy as possible. Stopping the treatment early is a signal to the insurance company that the injury no longer hurts and the insurance carrier will not offer any money for pain and suffering after the date the doctor visits stop.
Understand the Type of Car Accident Injuries
Many injuries after an accident are fairly objective to diagnose. Objective means they can be supported by medical tests such as X-Rays, CT scans and MRIs. These tests can detect broken bones, torn ligaments and other injuries.
Some injuries are harder to diagnose.
- Soft muscle injuries such as whiplash and back pain are common after an accident. Whiplash is a soft tissue injury of the neck. Soft tissue injury symptoms include swelling and loss of motion as well as pain. Patients should consider seeing a pain management doctor to help document the injury and treat the injury.
- Concussions are another type of common car accident injury that can be hard to detect. Unclear thinking, headaches and difficulty in remembering are just some of the symptoms. Neurologists are one of the doctors a person injury lawyer or a general physician may recommend the patient see for concussions.
- Headaches are another common car accident injury that depend mostly on the complaints of the patient.
Other Tasks Accident Victims Should Do
Accident victims should do a number of things besides focusing on the medicals. With the help of a car accident attorney, the victim should:
- Take pictures of the car,
- Investigate the scene of the accident,
- Get evidence to show the person lost wages
- Many other task that an experienced personal injury lawyer will review.
The Oklahoma City car accident lawyer will also handle the negotiations and advise the client not to speak with anyone about the cause of the accident or about settling the claim unless the lawyer is present.