In part one of this series I discussed tactics the insurance company uses to limit the dollar amount of your claim and gave you moves you can make to increase your chances of winning. In part II I continue with more tips to help you win this game and increase the value of your claim.
The following is a list of 8 things that will allow you to beat the insurance company in its own game.
- Go to the Hospital on the day of the accident—A hospital visit indicates you believe that your injury is serious and needs immediate attention. Also, every day you wait to seek treatment is gold to the insurance company.
- Prior Injuries – If you have prior accidents or injuries (car accidents, falls, sports injuries, weight lifting injuries) or prior surgeries on the body parts injured in this accident, communicate this to your attorney IMMEDIATELY and expect the insurance company to give you low-ball settlement offers for your claim.
- Consistently treat your injuries— Unless you have a catastrophic injury involving broken bones, surgery, bleeding on the brain, the value if a case is negatively affected when you skip doctor visits or have gaps in treatment. After your initial hospital visit, you should be going to the doctor 2 to 3 times a week. You have to do this to get any substantial settlement offer or jury verdict. It doesn’t matter what type of doctor you go to. They can be an orthopedic doctor, a chiropractor; a chiropractor twice; a chiropractor and a physical therapist; or, 3 physical therapist visits just make sure your treatment is consistent
- Communicate with your attorney consistently throughout your treatment—Though attorneys are not doctors, they know how your medical treatment (or lack thereof) affects your personal injury case. Remember, your doctor’s concerns are not necessarily in line with making sure your personal injury claim is set up properly. That’s why it’s important to talk to me about your medical treatment every step of the way
- Florida PIP insurance is mandatory for all insurance policies—Your own auto insurance contains $10,000.00 worth of Personal Injury Protection (PIP) medical coverage and this pays for 80% of your initial medical costs up to the $10,000.00 limit. So, regardless of fault, your own auto insurance company will pay for the initial portion of your care. PIP pays 80%, so you will be responsible for the other 20%. But, don’t pay the 20% as a co-pay at the time of the visit. It comes out of your settlement later. Make sure your providers bill your auto insurance for your initial treatment, especially the Hospital and the ER physician.
- MRIs are important—Pain and suffering damages are only available when a person has a “permanent injury.” What shows evidence of a permanent injury? An MRI. You must get MRIs in each area of your body that has pain. You can get 3 different MRIs of your spine (cervical, thoracic, lumbar). An insurance company will ultimately hire a radiologist to say that your MRIs do not show a permanent injury. Therefore, you must communicate with me before you get your MRIs to give us the best chance of fighting against the insurance company’s expert If your treatment is not improving your symptoms an MRI may be necessary. Insurance companies will schedule an Independent Medical Exam (IME) if your treatment continues beyond 3 months and attempt to cut-off PIP payments without imaging showing damage.
- See M.D.s or D.Os if your symptoms persist– Although chiropractors help many people and are considered a legitimately-recognized form of medical treatment, insurance companies hate chiropractors and believe they prolonged treatment that is not medically necessary. This means you need to go to the Hospital; you need to see an orthopedic or a neurologist/neurosurgeon; and, you need to see a licensed physical therapist referred by the chiropractor or orthopedist. Also, if you go to a chiropractor, an insurance company will only deem 2-3 months “reasonable” and “necessary.” If you treat for longer than that, they won’t offer to pay you for it.
- If your injuries warrant more invasive treatment, the higher the settlement—Chiropractic care and physical therapy is fine, but if you expect a bigger settlement, you will need invasive treatment. Invasive treatment is epidural steroid injections and surgery with your doctor and ensure that his medical records reflect what you feel and intend they do.
I hope this two-part series has been informative however if you have questions or if you’ve been injured in an accident, please call me immediately to partner with you and beat the insurance company at their own game.As a team, we can win this game!
Attorney Don Morrell 407-641-5847 or firstname.lastname@example.org