How To Settle Your Own Bodily Injury Insurance Claimby Contributor
A bodily injury claim comes about when, through the negligence or fault of another, you are hurt. Most of the time you will be dealing with the insurance company of the person who hit you (if they have insurance), but sometimes you will be dealing with your own insurance company if that person did not carry liability coverage. You will be making an uninsured bodily injury claim. The process is the same, except that you will be settling against your own insurance company.
There are many ways to handle and settle a bodily injury claims. However there are certain things you can do to get the most of the process and settle for what you deserve.
Go to the doctor and completely describe your symptoms. Your bodily injury claim starts when you go in to the doctor. If you are in a car accident and you believe you are injured, it is prudent to go in and get checked out at the emergency room. If you carry personal injury protection in your policy, the medical bills will be paid by your own insurance company first. Going in to the emergency room will help you show that your injuries deserve immediate medical attention. Go to the emergency room as soon as you can, even if that is two or three days after the accident (sometimes that is when the pain will be the worst).
Disclose all your symptoms to the emergency room doctor. Do not try to be stoic or heroic; do not, in other words, minimize whatever pain you are feeling. The doctor will take close notes about your symptoms. If you forget or for whatever reason you do not disclose this information, they will never be noted in the initial report. You will find out that insurance adjusters will review those records very closely and will try to diminish the value of your injury by telling you that "you did not report that type of pain or injury the day you went to the emergency room."
Be careful with what you say. Doctors like to ask open-ended questions like "how are you doing" and "how was your weekend". Many patients just start talking about how they went golfing, boating, and they mowed the lawn. All these activities will be reported on the medical records. The insurance adjuster will review those and will point out that in such and such date; you stated that you went boating. This implies that you were not injured or your pain was not that bad to stop you from going out.
Ask the examining doctor for a work release even if you believe you do not need one. Most whiplash injuries do not appear until the next day or two. Coming back in to see a doctor to give you a work release can be a hassle. However, if you ask for it, most doctors will be willing to give it to you on the spot. If you do not need it, then that is great. But if you do, you will be happy you have one. This also helps you show that the doctors felt that your injury could keep you away from your work location. This is strong evidence that your injury was substantial and should increase the value of a pain and suffering award.
Ask the doctor for a referral. Emergency doctors will only see you because of an emergency (car accident). They will not continue treating you. Insurance adjusters are wary of people who just go straight to a chiropractor or a physical therapist. So ask for a referral or go to your primary practitioner and ask for a referral there.
Go to that doctor. It is important that you follow up with the doctor soon after the initial visit. Any delay could make things worse for your back and neck. Be sure to express all your symptoms, even depression (if that is present). Adjusters will review those medical records and will find exactly what you tell the doctor. If you keep your pain silent, then the adjuster will assume that you did not have any.
Stick to your treatment schedule. If you start skipping dates and not doing everything in your power to get better, adjusters will decrease the value of your claim. Adjusters will justify gaps in treatment as an injury that was not very significant. If you were in pain, then you would have gone to the doctor.
- check When dealing with insurance companies, documentation of your damages and injuries will help you settle for what you deserve
- check Put everything on writing. Everything must be documented, if not, the insurance company will not take it into account
- close Always consult with a local attorney before making any decision on your claim
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