I’ve Been Injured. What Do I Do Now?
I’m sorry to hear that you or someone you care about has been injured. Life, even under the best circumstances can be difficult.
First, the most important thing you can do now is get the medical care and treatment you need.
You need to get back on your feet so that you can take care of yourself and your loved ones.
See your doctor and if you don’t have one, now is a good time to establish a relationship with one, and follow whatever treatment s/he recommends. This is best for your medical well-being as well as your legal well-being because your injuries will be well documented, which is important to your claim.
Along these lines, you will wonder who pays for your medical treatment. If you have automobile insurance you probably have coverage called Medical Payments, “med pay” for short. Use it, that’s why the insurance company sold it to you.
Once “med pay” is exhausted use your own health insurance coverage to pay your medical bills.
Many people wonder, “Why should my own insurance company pay when this was not my fault?” It’s a fair question and a good one, but the bottom line is that the law does not require the responsible party’s insurance to pay your bills until the case is over—and they won’t. Plus, if you are paying for med-pay and health insurance it is ok to use those benefits when you need them.
What about damage to your vehicle? If you have auto insurance use it to repair or replace your vehicle. That’s why you bought the coverage, so as a consumer make sure your agent helps you through the process. Their job is not just to write you policies and charge you money; they need to help you get the protection they sold you. If they are not very helpful, find a new agent and take your business elsewhere.
I have always offered free consultations for injury victims. So, you have nothing to lose.
Sometimes I am able to walk someone through the process, give them some tips and send them on their way, at no charge. If I feel they need to hire a lawyer I tell them that, too. It’s worth a brief meeting and I’m more than happy to meet with you, cover all the bases, so you can see the big picture and assure that you are protected.
NEVER talk with the insurance company of the responsible party. No matter how personable the insurance representative seems, you need to know that they work for the insurance company. Their personal income and career advancement is based on how much money they save their company. Their duty is to save money, not pay you what you deserve. Anything you say may be held against you or even twisted and misconstrued against you. If they call you or visit you simply ask for their name and number and politely tell them your lawyer will call them shortly.
And finally, never—and I mean NEVER—sign anything an insurance representative gives you without first reviewing the document with an experienced injury lawyer.
Over the past 32 years I’ve seen many situations where someone signed away all their rights because initially they didn’t think their injuries were too severe. They got a little money up front, but ended up with permanent injuries and permanent pain. It is always a bad deal to give up everything in order to get just a little bit.
Take good care of yourself and call if you want to get together.