At Steffen's Law Office, we've handled hundreds of personal injury cases. From car accidents to dog bites or slip and falls, there are several do's and don'ts you must follow to protect your right to fair compensation.
- Seek medical assistance immediately. The most important thing you can do when you suffer a personal injury is to make sure you receive the necessary medical treatment. You do not want your health to be jeopardized because of a failure to go see your doctor following the injury.
- Take photographs and collect evidence which will be valuable for your case. Take three times as many photos as you feel are needed, from several angles with different lighting conditions, in the days and weeks following the injury. Photos are vital in proving the extent of your injuries.
- Acknowledge and accept that your situation is essentially "you" versus the insurance company. "They" (the insurance company) are not on your side. "They" will try to frustrate you into giving up by denying or delaying medical treatment or property damage payments. Hiring an attorney is the only way to fight back and protect your legal rights.
- Realize you are being watched. Insurance companies do this through surveillance, reviewing your medical records, and sometimes by talking with you or someone you know over the telephone. Protect yourself by restricting your contact with the insurance company, and its representatives.
- Take your medication. If you have objections to pain relievers, muscle relaxers, or other prescribed medication, discuss your concerns with your doctor instead of just refusing to take the pills. The insurance company will not accept your reasoning unless you explain your concerns to your doctor and ask him/her to put this explanation into your medical records. If you have a problem taking the medications which have been prescribed to you, please review this with our law office for further advice.
- Follow any restrictions given to you by your doctor. Your restriction may be that you can only lift a certain amount, work a certain number of hours, or not move in certain ways. You need to pay careful attention to follow these restrictions for two reasons: your health and your legal claim. Insurance companies will spend thousands of dollars trying to catch you doing something you shouldn't in order to prove that you are a fraud. If they accomplish this, your case becomes virtually worthless.
- Get a note from your doctor if you are not able to return to work. The note protects your job and supports your claim that you were forced to miss work because of your injuries.
- Stay in touch with our law office. Keep us informed of significant events. We do not recommend that you call every day, but you should contact us after each medical appointment with your primary doctor.
- Assume that it really doesn't make any difference which doctor you see. One of our major objectives is to help you find the best medical care available. We would like to review the names of medical specialists, in your area, with you before you make a decision. Remember that we have done many, many injury cases like yours. We know there are some medical specialists you really should not see if you want to build a strong case for damages.
- Make an appointment to see a specialist yourself. The appointment should be made by your family physician. This is called a medical referral and is usually accomplished by a telephone call, or letter from your doctor to the medical specialist.
- Ignore the advice of your medical doctor. The doctor's advice will always appear in his or her medical records. If you ignore it, the insurance company assumes that you are healed or are no longer in pain.
- Discontinue or put off medical help just because an insurance company won't pay for it. By passing up medical treatment when it is needed, your injuries can worsen. You can lose more time from work and hurt your legal claim for damages. Your best strategy is to receive medical treatment as soon as possible. If you're worried about the cost, ask us to explain your options.