I Don’t Think I Need an Attorney, My Accident Wasn’t That Bad

accident chiropractor insuranceAs a physician of 19 years, I can’t tell you how often I hear this statement. In this article I hope to help you understand when and why you need representation. The laws vary from state to state but most of these apply universally.

First and foremost, an attorney is there to be sure you are not taken advantage of. You pay your insurance company faithfully every month on time year after year. Now that you need to use that coverage, you may be surprised by some of the tactics your own insurance company employs. They are focused only on the money, not your health and well being. They want to spend as little as possible, as quickly as possible to resolve the case.

In my state there is a provision in our insurance policy that when an accident occurs, the insurance company authorizes the use of used parts in “good” condition. So if you were driving a brand new vehicle, you may have an obviously used part on your car when the repair shop is done with the work. I have seen this in several situations where a headlight was smashed, they actually put an old yellow lens on a brand new car and the undamaged one is perfectly clear. Needless to say the owner was not pleased, but provided with a highlighted copy of their policy showing that this is in the policy. Your insurance company quickly becomes an adversary, not the ally you have thought you had for all these years.

Another big reason I advocate attorney representation immediately is because of what happens at the end of the case. I have been in many trials where the insurance company likes to play recorded audio of the patient answering the phone. Now follow me here, when the insurance company calls you the first thing they say is: “Mrs. Smith, how are you?” Most people have an automatic answer…. “Fine, who is this again????” That is often where they stop the recording. It is then shortened to the following: “Mrs. Smith how are you? Fine.” I have been on the witness stand when a major insurance company played this statement 40 times! Yes, 40; we had to listen to the same call done 40 times and were given the date and time of the calls. They were arguing that they checked on her often and she always said she was fine. Now, this was easy to overturn as the Judge asked for the entire recording to be submitted, but it is just one of the tactics they employ.

When you retain an attorney after an accident, the insurance company is no longer able to contact you or discuss the case. All concerns go through the attorney. The attorney in effect becomes the “captain of the ship.” They can recommend a doctor if you don’t have one and check in on you periodically to monitor your improvement. Car accidents require doctors that are specifically trained in helping people with these types of injuries.

You may require imaging to both help the doctor treat you as well as document the injuries for your case. The doctor becomes not just part of the team but the historian of your case. It is very important that you keep a journal of anything and everything that has changed since your accident and communicate that with your doctor so it can be added to your file.

The doctor and the attorney speak frequently and make sure nothing is missed during the treatment phase of your case. Once you have completed treatment the attorney will begin the process of either settling with the insurance company or beginning the process of going to trial if an agreement cannot be reached. Your attorney will keep you in the loop as this process is underway. So, any accident large or small it is wise to have someone on your side to protect your interests. The only one that will lose every time is the unprotected. You may find out that your case does not warrant an attorney but they will tell you that immediately.

It only takes a phone call to be sure you are getting the care you need to restore your health and to ensure your vehicle gets fixed with new parts by a reputable shop. I hope this sheds some light on what happens behind the scenes and helps you understand why you should be protected.

Thanks to our friends and contributors from the Natural Healing Arts Medical Center for their insight into medical care after an accident.