Factors in a personal injury claim looks at what we would call Negligence. There are four elements to that. Duty, breach, causation, and damages. In a car accident case, for example, there is a duty that you are not going to harm or hurt another person; that we owe to other drivers when we are on the road. You breach that duty when you cause an accident with your car to another person. If you have been hit by another car that means that the other person is liable to you. They have breached their duty of care and caused you damages. Anytime you contribute to your own damages, if you were jaywalking rather than using a crosswalk, where you had the green light so you could go, you are hurting your case, because you are doing things that you ought not to be doing.
If you go driving and you have consumed a beer or two and even if you are not over the legal limit, but you are now somewhat intoxicated, you have alcohol in your system, that of course is going to hurt your case, because they are going to be able to say, “You’ve had a few to drink and so you’re not as cognizant as the person who didn’t”. That is why I say all facts play a role in every case. Everything that you can do to have your best foot forward in the case is the best result. You are always going to have the best result when you did not do anything wrong. For example, we had a slip and fall case where a lady was walking and slipped in the food area, due to a spillage, everything was caught on the casinos security cameras, made the case so much easier for our client to receive a settlement.
You could see that she was simply minding her own business and she stepped on something that she did not see, there was some grease or something on the floor, and she slipped and fell. It is very clear that she did not fake this fall. Anytime you have some legitimate injuries that you did not cause, and that someone else did, you most likely should have a good case and a good outcome.
What Is The Impact Of Delaying Medical Treatment On A Personal Injury Claim?
The sooner the better is the short answer to that, delaying medical treatment is not advisable. The reason is because the longer you wait to get medical treatment, the insurance company and even a jury, if you go to trial, is going to say “Why didn’t you go earlier? It doesn’t make sense”. If you were injured and you were going to ask for an award of damages, meaning money, we have to show that it was real. If you wait, it tends to make one think, “Hey, this wasn’t that serious. Otherwise, they would have gone sooner”. The short answer is to go as soon as possible, but sometimes, especially in whiplash cases, there usually is a delay because most people claim they are fine until a few days later when persistent back or neck injuries rear their ugly head. Do not wait and say, “I’ll muscle through it, I am going to be strong”, because that is what a lot of people do.
They say, “Oh, I am tough”, especially women for some reason. They feel like they just have to bear all of the pain that comes to them and struggle through it. I do not know why they do that especially if they are in an accident or they sustained injuries from someone else. You want to get the medical attention right away because if you do not, you will not be able to say that it was a legitimate claim. Not only that, but if you are ever in treatment, and treatment goes for two or three months and the doctor says, “You’re done. You’re in a stable condition, you’re not going to get any better. You’re done”, you cannot just later pick up treatment later on and say, “Now I’m hurt again.” The insurance company is not going to pay for that treatment.
They are going to say, “Look, there is this huge gap in treatment and the gap is there because obviously you got injured some other way. Maybe you picked up something you shouldn’t have that was too heavy and you hurt your back a different way. It’s not related to this accident”.
How Important Is Following Doctor’s Orders In A Personal Injury Claim?
Following healthcare professional’s orders is detrimental to any personal injury case. If you start missing appointments, what that is going to say is, “You weren’t seriously injured because why did you miss your appointments?” Everything is going to be reviewed. We go through every medical record and believe it or not, a lot of times, the doctors ask you, “How are you feeling”, and they put that in there. So if you say, “I am doing great today”, they will put that in there, “Oh, the patient says they’re feeling great today”. On a scale 1 to 10, how good do you feel? “Oh, I’m 10”, okay, they will put down 10. Then whenever we do go to trial, and I know this because this has happened to me, they will pull out that medical record and say, “Look, you’ve reported your attendance date. Why did you continue treatment for two more months?”
Those types of things can really hurt a case. So you need to be very honest. If you are in pain, you need to say you are in pain. If a doctor says, “How are you feeling today”, don’t think “Oh, I’m feeling fine right now”, tell the truth, “I got my back hurt, I didn’t sleep good last night.” You want to bring up all the medical issues because the doctors put down exactly what you tell them. They are going to be honest and so you need to be honest about what is going on in your life. Make every single appointment. If the doctor says to do something, you do it, because if you do not do the exercises at home, or take the medications they prescribe, and go to every appointment, that is going to tell the insurance company and the jury if we ever go to a trial, that you were fine, otherwise you would have followed through.
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