15 Top Mistakes Personal Injury Clients Make Series Part One: Not Getting or Delaying Medical Treatment

You’ve just been hit by another driver. The police arrive at the scene and cite the other driver with a violation. There are a million things running through your mind. If your car is totaled, how are you going to tow it? What about a rental car? You need to call your insurance company and open a property damage claim. How are you going to get home?

With everything going on, you are also dealing with the shock and stress of the situation. You’re so busy with the logic of being hit that you may neglect your physical health.

Many individuals involved in auto collisions are physically injured. If the collision is minor or moderate, you may feel muscle pain in your neck, shoulders, and back accompanied with a headache. These are common symptoms of whiplash. You may have also hit your head on the window or back of your headrest or hit your knees on the dashboard. If you were holding onto the steering wheel when you were hit, your hands and arms may have tensed, straining the muscles upon collision.

With your long list of to-do items following a collision, going to the emergency room or your primary care physician may fall to the bottom of the list. Many individuals attempt to self-treat with rest, ice, heat, and over the counter medications. However, self-treatment rarely completely resolves the injury. It is only after months go by and the injury either does not heal, or gets worse, that an individual may seek medical attention.

A delay or gap in medical treatment is one reason why an insurance company may try to deny your personal injury claim or significantly reduce its value. To avoid this, make sure that you seek medical treatment immediately following a car accident, even if you think your injuries will just go away. A large portion of the time, injuries get worse, not better, following a collision.

What’s My Personal Injury Case Worth?

“What’s my case worth?” This is a question that our personal injury attorneys hear almost daily. The answer is that your case value depends on a lot of different factors. The main factors are:

  • Liability – Who is at fault in your case? If you were involved in a car accident and you were not ticketed, but the other driver was, then you are likely completely not at fault. Other cases are not so simple. Fault can be apportioned between the parties, for example, in a slip and fall on an icy sidewalk, you may be found 30% at fault while the landowner is found 70% at fault. If liability is apportioned, it can greatly decrease the value of your case.
  • Medical Treatment – Did you seek medical treatment immediately after the incident? What kind of treatment did you seek (hospital, physical therapy, etc.)? Did you have to treat for a few months or a few years? How much in medical bills were incurred during your treatment? Injuries requiring invasive surgery or permanent impairment are often worth more than cases involving muscle sprains and strains.
  • Damages – Damages are the largest category for determining the worth of your case. It takes into account medical bills, lost wages, and past and future pain and suffering. If your injury has had a huge impact on your life, for example, you broke both legs and were unable to work for a certain amount of time, the value of your case is likely to be greater than cases involving a nagging or inconvenient injury.

If you’ve been injured, it is important to talk with a personal injury attorney so that you can evaluate the potential value of your case and discuss all your options.

FAQ: “If I make a personal injury claim, will I have to go to trial?”

In Colorado, individuals who are pursuing personal injury claims relating to an auto accident have three years to file a formal lawsuit against the individual at fault for the accident for compensation of their medical expenses, lost wages, physical impairment, and pain and suffering. During these three years, the majority of cases settle directly with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.

Whenever a personal injury claim is made, the insurance company who provides coverage for the at-fault driver assigns an adjuster to the claim. The adjuster evaluates the claim, reviews all relevant documents, speaks with the individual’s attorney, and may take a recorded statement from the individual making the claim. This is where it becomes vital to have a personal injury lawyer representing your claim to the insurance company. A personal injury attorney will know what documents are needed to support your claim and how to present those documents and facts in a way that will maximize the amount of the insurance company’s settlement offer. Presenting your claim to the insurance company is a comprehensive and skilled manner will often allow an injured person to fairly settle their claim without having to go through the time, expense, and uncertainty of a trial.

The Insurance Company Offered Me a Settlement. What Should I do?

If you were recently in an auto accident and have not yet had the chance to obtain a personal injury attorney, the insurance company might offer you a settlement in order to close your claim before you have had a chance to fully evaluate your injuries and your options. If you accept the settlement, you may be accepting an amount far lower than what you are entitled to.

Settlements are not offered without an absolute release on your behalf. This means that you cannot accept the settlement and cash the settlement check without giving up your rights to further payment from that insurance company. Depending on the permanency of your injury, the extent of your injury, past and future medical bills, and any lost wages that you may have incurred, it is important that a personal injury attorney evaluate your case prior to your accepting a settlement agreement.

If you’re being offered a settlement on an auto accident case and do not know if the settlement is fair, contact the personal injury attorneys at The Law Offices of Daniel T. Goodwin to discuss your options.

Halloween Safety – Staying Safe While Trick-or-Treating

Halloween is only one week away and soon the streets will be filled with trick-or-treaters dressed in their costumes as they go door-to-door in their quest for candy. Unfortunately, kids and families must share these streets with drivers who may be distracted or under of the influence of alcohol or drugs.

If you are out trick-or-treating this year, be aware of cars on the streets. Drivers may have a hard time seeing children, especially small children or children dressed in dark costumes, particularly in areas that do not have adequate street lighting.

All pedestrians have the duty to exercise reasonable care to maintain their own safety. This year, take the following precautions to help stay safe:

  • Travel in groups;
  • Travel with at least one adult;
  • Stick to streets with good street lights;
  • Carry flashlights (turned on), glow sticks, or light-up jewelry;
  • Wear colorful costumes;
  • Trick-or-Treat early in the evening when there is still sunlight; and
  • Stay on sidewalks and only use crosswalks to cross the street;
  • Be mindful of cars that may be exiting or entering driveways.

Social Media and Your Personal Injury Claim: Part One

Social Media and Your Personal Injury Claim: Part One

If you have been hurt in an auto accident and are thinking about, or are already, pursuing a personal injury claim, and are one of the millions of people utilizing social media, there are things you need to keep in mind before posting on your online profile.

Anything you post, including seemingly harmless posts about a recent vacation or outing with friends and family, might be used by the insurance company to deny or limit your claim.

Keep the following in mind before you post:

  • Request that your friends do not “tag” you in their posts as you do not have control over what they post.
  • Change your privacy setting to maximum security, make your profile private, or temporarily suspend your profile.
  • Do not accept “friend” or “follow” requests from accounts that you do not know.
  • Do not post anything that you would not want a jury or a judge to see, even if you think you have a good explanation for it.
  • Do not post anything about your personal injury claim.
  • Do not post anything about your medical care.
  • Do not post anything about conversations between you and your attorney.

FAQ: What is Whiplash?

Whiplash, also known as a neck strain, is a common injury following a car crash. When a car is hit by another vehicle, the impact can cause your head to “whip” forward, backward, or to the sides in a sudden and violent motion. When the force from the collision is strong enough, it can stretch and tear the muscles in your neck.

Symptoms of whiplash may include headaches, tender muscles, pain, stiffness, decreased motion, and a “knotted” feeling.

The symptoms may start immediately after the collision, or they may take up to a week to manifest.

Treatments, such as painkillers, a neck brace, applied heat or ice, or massage therapy may aid in the recovery process, however the injuries may take a significant amount of time to heal. While they heal, the injury can have a significant impact on your life, from your work, to sleep, to physical activities and exercise.

At the Law Offices of Daniel T. Goodwin, our personal injury attorneys are here to protect your interests. We take the worry and stress of a legal claim away from you to let you focus on what matters most: regaining your health and healing your injuries.

Call us today at 303-763-1600 to speak with one of our Broomfield personal injury attorneys.

Do I really need an attorney?

“Do I really need an attorney?”

After being in an auto accident, you probably have a lot of thoughts and worries. You may not know what to do next or what your rights are.
“How am I going to get my car fixed?”
“Will I still be able to drive to work?”
“Will insurance cover this?”
“Can I afford to be injured?”
You have questions. We have answers.
Our team of personal injury attorneys is here to help you through every step of your claim, including assisting you in obtaining treatment for your injuries, understanding the financial aspect of your claim, and negotiating a fair settlement with the insurance company.
Don’t give the insurance company an opportunity to take advantage of you. Insurance companies may try to low-ball you and pressure you into settlement if you do not have an attorney. Make sure that you speak with an attorney first to understand the true value of your claim and the full extent of your injuries.
At the Law Offices of Daniel T. Goodwin, our personal injury attorneys are here to protect your interests. We take the worry and stress of a legal claim away from you to let you focus on what matters most: regaining your health and healing your injuries.
Call us today at 303-763-1600 to speak with one of our Broomfield personal injury attorneys.

What is UIM Coverage?

If you’ve recently been in an auto-collision, you may have been asked whether or not you have “UIM” Coverage.

UIM or “Underinsured Motorist Insurance” (also sometimes called just “UM”) covers your medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages if your damages exceed the amount of coverage that the at-fault driver has. For example, if you are seriously injured in an auto-collision and have $150,000 in medical bills, and the at-fault driver only had coverage for $25,000, you have $125,000 in damages that exceed the at-fault driver’s coverage. If you have your own UIM Coverage in the amount of $300,000, you can make a claim to have your UIM Coverage pay all of your damages in excess of the at-fault driver’s policy up to your own policy limits.

UIM Coverage is important because many drivers in Colorado only carry the state minimum amount of insurance coverage – $25,000. If you are seriously injured by a driver who does not have adequate insurance coverage, you need to have your own coverage to protect yourself. Don’t leave yourself and your family at risk of an underinsured, or uninsured, driver!