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.

FAQ: What is a Traumatic Brain Injury?

A traumatic brain injury is a complicated brain injury that is typically caused by a violent force of an external object to the head. They are commonly seen in automobile cases when the victim’s head strikes something in the car upon impact, such as the steering wheel, wind shield, side window, or headrest.

If violent trauma causes the traumatic brain injury, the victim may fall unconscious at the time of the impact, rendering them unable to remember what happened or whether or not they hit their head.

Traumatic brain injuries are commonly classified as being either severe or mild. In mild cases, the victim may become disoriented, confused, or experience shock immediately after the impact. She may experience headaches, a short loss of consciousness, difficulty concentration, and changes in personality.

In severe cases, the victim may experience prolonged loss of consciousness, significant memory loss, severe changes in personality, and loss of cognitive functions.

If you have been involved in an automobile collision where you may have hit your head during the impact and are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, you should get tested for a traumatic brain injury. Testing may include undergoing an MRI, CAT Scan, and a cognitive examination by a licensed professional. Left untreated, a traumatic brain injury can severely impact your physical and emotional health, your relationships with family and friends, and your ability to work.

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.

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.

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!

FAQ: The Insurance Company Offered Me a Settlement, What Do I Do?

  • If the insurance company has already offered you a settlement, you should hire The Law Offices of Daniel T. Goodwin to  provide you with an opinion on the fairness of the offer. You cannot accept a settlement unless you release all of your rights to further payment. Accepting a settlement from an insurance company is a complicated decision that is best decided with the advice of a lawyer.

What is Whiplash?

Whiplash is often associated with car accidents, and occurs when the neck thrashes backwards and forwards forcefully at the collision.

The sudden and intense movement overstretched the muscles and tendons in the neck, causing tears and pain ranging from mild to severe.

The symptoms may include:

  • Pain;
  • Limited range of motion;
  • Tense muscles that feel like knots;
  • Pain when rocking your head back and forth or side to side;
  • Tender, sensitive muscles; and
  • Headaches

You should seek medical attention immediately after you believe you may have sustained whiplash. Depending on the severity of your injury, treatment may include:

  • Applying ice or heat to the area;
  • Massage;
  • Pain medications; and
  • A neck brace.

I’ve Been Injured in a Car Accident – What’s My Case Worth?

Judging the value of your case is a complicated procedure that involves a variety of factors. Your case evaluation will generally consider the two sources of damages: Compensatory Damages and Punitive Damages.

1. Compensatory Damages
Compensatory damages are paid to compensate the claimant for actual damages suffered from the incident. Actual damages are sub-divided into two categories: Economic Damages and Non-Economic Damages. Economic damages are damages for which a monetary amount has already been assigned, for example, medical bills, damaged property, and lost wages. Non-economic damages are essentially non-monetary damages, such as pain and suffering, physical deformities, and a loss in the claimant’s quality of life.

2. Punitive Damages
Punitive damages are intended to reform the actor and deter him from committing the same incident again. While punitive damages are not intended to compensate the claimant, the claimant may receive all or a portion of the damages award.

What Should You Do After Being Injured in an Auto Accident?

This guide briefly describes actions that you should take in the days and weeks following an accident. Contact a local personal injury attorney for an evaluation of your case.

1. Exchange Information
Always get the other driver’s license information, phone number, address, and insurance information before leaving the scene.

2. Call the Police
The police will write up an accident report and evaluate the scene.

3. Seek Medical Attention
If you think that you may need it, seek medical attention as soon as possible.

4. Retain all Medical and Accident Records and Photos
Get copies of any medical records, accident reports, and photos taken of the scene and your car. If you suffer bodily injury, make sure to take pictures of your injuries.

5. Contact An Attorney!
Certain cases have time limits, and if you do not bring your claim within the time limit, you may forfeit your right to pursue the claim and get compensation. Speak with a local attorney who specializes in personal injury law as early as possible.