How Can I Help My Personal Injury Case?
There are two components to all personal injury cases: liability and damages. You have to take both of these into account separately. The first part is the liability, which is really the most important one, because that establishes who is at fault. In order to do that, immediately preceding the accident, or the injury, you need to have witnesses, statements, and photographs from individuals that will support your position as to who is responsible for causing those injuries. Those are important, including the names, and addresses of those witnesses.
If it is a car accident, you can always use the police report, but it is often a good idea to supplement the report with your own information that stems from your own discussions with witnesses. When it comes to damages, after the initial incident, you need to follow up with healthcare providers. Most people will go to the doctor, or the emergency room, and may follow up with their personal physician, but they often would drop the ball. The longer the ball remains dropped until something becomes a major problem, where something really starts to become aggravated that never healed right, or did not heal properly, because of treatment issues, they will seek treatment for those injuries that were in the initial incident, but a gap of time in treatment is not favorable towards your case.
The defendants, their counsel, and insurance adjusters will typically look at that skeptically. They will try to assert that maybe there was an intervening injury that caused the aggravation, and that was not theirs, or their insured’s fault. It is very important to maintain a course of therapy from the date of the injury throughout the process, and do not take much time off. If you make appointments, make sure you keep them, and do not cancel, or not show up at all, because that looks bad. They will review the records thoroughly, and they will be able to identify if you canceled any appointments, and if things were that bad, then you really would not miss any doctor’s visits. That information will be used against you if you do not seek medical treatment properly, and follow the doctors’ orders.
What Are The Common Tactics Used By Insurance Companies To Avoid Paying Out Claims?
In Maryland, you have an assumption of a risk type defense they can use, and in Pennsylvania as well as other jurisdictions, you have comparative negligence. This is where they will try each of those three types of defenses, which are all similar in nature in the sense that they will say that you were somewhat responsible for causing your own injuries. That is the number one way they try to defend these cases. They try to push liability or blame it on the victim, and they are often pretty good at it.
The other kinds of defenses that the insurance companies will use are more of a scuttle defense. They will use policy language to try to back themselves out of being responsible for having a duty to defend and indemnify their own insured. The minute it becomes a significant case, the insurance companies try to get out of settling. They are looking for a way out, and that means if they can push the ball back on the victim, they will, or alternatively, if they can cut their ties with their insured through the policy language, they will do that too. That happens more often than people realize. Insurance companies will deny coverage because they will say it was not a covered event.
In that case, you definitely need to hire a lawyer. You have to be able to handle those denials properly, and oftentimes you can challenge their denials through separate litigation, called declaratory judgment action.
What Additional Information Can Be Useful For The Attorney Handling My Claim?
The first thing we need to do is we are going to need the names, and address of all of your treating physicians. We will need to collect all of the bills from all of your treating physicians as well. Once we have the bills, we will also ask for the medical records, and review those records. The interesting thing about the bill is that they serve two purposes. One, they tell us how much money you either owe, or you paid for your care, but all the bills have CPT, and ICD-10 codes. Those bills have diagnostic and treatment codes so we can cross-reference with the insurance companies database, to make sure those bills represent the treatment you are receiving, and your claim against the defendant or responsible party is founded.
As to other evidence, it comes back to liability. We need to review all the witness statements, and any accident reports, we need to see all of those things before we can file a claim.
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