Insurance companies are like bloodhounds. As soon as they sniff inconsistency or flawed argument, they search far and wide for any information that can be used against you in your personal injury claim. Medical records may be your biggest boon in strengthening your insurance claim, but liability adjusters know the game, as well. They will read through every quote in the records to find any tidbit of information that discredits your version of events. Speaking with your medical providers after a motor vehicle accident is an important lesson in using words to help yourself and prevent the insurer from taking advantage of you.
Here is an example – Mary was involved in a motor vehicle collision and went to her primary care doctor. Her back and neck were tremendously painful, but she had this nagging headache and felt slightly nauseous since the wreck. Mary told her physician all about her neck and back because they were so much worse than everything else, but she did not have the chance to talk about her headache or nausea. Mary starts treating and feeling better and a month or two later goes back into the medical office explaining that her spine was feeling a bit better, but the headache and nausea was only getting worse.
The liability insurer for the at fault driver knows that it is very likely Mary’s headache and nausea were likely related to a post-concussive syndrome sustained in the car crash. However, failing to provide her doctor all the relevant information gave the insurance company an easy out. The carrier may now claim that the concussion symptoms were brand new and unrelated to the accident since they appeared so far after the incident.
The main rule for talking with your doctor after a car crash is simple. Be open, honest, and remember to tell them everything. Forgetting about your headache might create a defense for the insurance company. Playing tough and describing how little your pain complaints are actually hurting you may unsurprisingly lead the insurer to declare that you were not that hurt in the accident. Even exaggerating your complaints may lead to inconsistency.
Now, this would not be a good rule if it did not come with an exception. You also need to be careful about what you tell your doctor. Telling your doctor that you went out running the other day is just fine. Same with explaining that you felt okay after a day in your garden. What is most important, though, is to remember what happened next. If you are going to tell your physician every detail of your life, remember to describe the problems you had, as well. Maybe you went running for a couple miles, but the next day you were laid up in bed for hours on end. The garden was fine for a bit, but your back started aching far more than normal and you ended up lying on the kitchen floor to straighten out.
When it comes to motor vehicle accidents and personal injury claims, knowing what to say and how to say it is half the battle. Doctors and insurance companies deal with these issues on a daily basis. This may be your first car accident ever. A qualified and experienced litigator will help you through this process. At Magnuson Lowell PS, our attorneys will answer your questions and help prepare your claim to its strongest. Call today for a free evaluation.