If you’ve recently suffered a car accident there is one thing you must do immediately to ensure your rights to proper medical care and a fair car accident settlement.
First you must know that the insurance claims adjuster has been specifically trained to thwart your attempts to receive proper care and a fair settlement. They are not there to assist you. They are not customer service representatives or ombudsmen. Please understand that they are charged by the insurance company to minimize all costs. That means they are to look for any reason, factual or not, to minimize your vehicle damage. They look for any reason, valid or not, to minimize your medical treatment. And lastly, they are tasked with finding any reason, and in fact may create reasons out of thin air, to minimize how much they pay you as a car accident settlement.
Next, you need to know that insurance companies use different methods to value your case. Most insurance companies use computer programs to make decisions on what a case is worth. These programs make their calculations based on what is inputted into them. I will leave the fact that the data can be manipulated by entering some information while omitting other data for another post. The important key here is the fact that this software is used and an important piece of data that is inputted is how soon after a car accident you receive treatment.
Insurance software gives high value for a case in which the accident victim receives treatment in the first 72 hours after a collision. Conversely, it lowers case value, dramatically, for victims who seek treatment after 72 hours. Of course this 72 hour window is completely arbitrary. There are no medical studies that indicate that injuries recover better if treated in this frame. In fact there are numerous scientific studies worldwide that indicates that many car accident injuries do not even appear within the first 72 hours. If you are injured but don’t know it yet, you are unlikely to receive treatment. Once your injury does appear a week later and you see your doctor, the insurance company’s computer says you are not really hurt or not hurt very bad. After all, if you really were hurt you would have seen a doctor within 72 hours.
If this seems absurd, which it most certainly is, the matter is worsened by the fact that the insurance company loves to get it both ways. Lets say you do receive treatment the same day as an accident, the adjuster, overriding the computer, will ask you “Why did you see your doctor so soon? Why didn’t you wait to see if the pain would just go away?”
So the once costly mistake to avoid is this 72 hour window. If you have been involved in a car accident, see a car accident medical expert right away. If you feel any stiffness, pain, headache, dizziness or other symptoms find a doctor or go to an emergency room, the day of the accident. If you suffer an accident and feel no pain, locate a car accident medical expert the day or two after the accident. Under no circumstance should you seek care later than 72 hours if you can help it.
What to do if you were the victim of an accident that occurred more than 72 hours ago and you are just now reading this? Don’t panic, all is not lost. Your case may be devalued to some degree but with the help of a competent car accident medical expert, the damage can be minimized. A doctor well versed in accident cases may be able to identify extenuating circumstances in which the 72 hour window would not apply.
The bottom line is if you’ve suffered a car accident, you need to see an experienced car accident medical expert for help. Your family medical doctor, HMO doctor or general chiropractor is not your best choices. There are intricate ins and outs of these cases that your regular family doctor, HMO primary care doctor or general chiropractor just don’t know. A true competent car accident expert will know the correct way to handle your case from filling out paperwork, talking to the insurance company and dealing with attorneys.