Top Ten Mistakes of Chicago Accident Victims
Too often in personal injury law, Chicago accident attorneys witness people with legitimate and substantial accident injury making mistakes: and then being unable substantiate their Chicago accident case. This results in the tragedy of a victim not receiving the compensation and justice he or she is due. Familiarize yourself with these common mistakes to protect YOUR case:
- Failure to Seek Medical Attention Immediately after an Accident/Traumatic Event: Most states stipulate that the accident victim bears the responsibility of proving that they were injured in an accident or incident. Proving this becomes more difficult if you do not seek medical attention after the event – insurance companies and juries will believe that this must be a sign that you were not significantly. In short, if you were not hurt badly enough to be treated, you were not hurt badly enough to be compensated. A second reason to seek medical attention is that accident injuries sometimes arise only after days or weeks have passed, but may be detected by the doctor if examined shortly after the accident.
- Being Dishonest (or Short of Totally Honest) with Your Doctor About Medical History and Personal Habits: The accuracy of your diagnosis and treatment depends on your honesty with your doctor. However beneficial to you or your case it may seem at the time, any dishonesty (white lie) when exposed in court, will seriously weaken your credibility and therefore your case. If your doctor bases his diagnosis on false or incomplete information, the diagnosis can be called into question and rejected insurance companies and courts. You can be sure that any dishonesty will catch up with you, and potentially destroy your case.
- Talking About Lawsuits, Your Lawyer, or Legal Advice with Your Doctor: It may seem a good idea to speak with your doctor about your case – his/her diagnosis/opinion WILL have bearing on it – but it’s not. Knowledge of legal implications of diagnoses can only cloud and complicate the practice, potentially negatively impacting your care and your case. To further deter you, remember that what you say in confidence to your doctor is NOT protected information once you have filed a personal injury claim.
- Being Late or Missing Medical Appointments: This is similar to number one – if your medical records reflect a pattern of missing appointments, your commitment to your treatment as well as the severity of your injuries can be called into question. Always give 24 hours notice to reschedule an appointment.
- Failure to Have Your Pain Documented Accurately in Your Medical Records: Pain is invisible to everyone but you, and must be substantiated in your case by someone other than you. Your medical records need to document your experience of pain due to your injuries, and for this to happen you must tell your doctor about your pain. Keep a daily record/journal of your pain and share it with your doctor so it can be officially documented. Do not exaggerate, but do not downplay either.
- Failure to Inform Your Doctor of the Effect of Your Injury on Your Work: Again, just because you know that your work has been affected, doesn’t mean that the insurance company or jury will know it. If they read about it in your medical records, it is suddenly real and substantiated. Share this information with your doctor, keeping track of it as you do your pain – in a record or journal so you don’t distort (for better or for worse) your experience)
- Not Taking Medications as Prescribed: This is a problem for patients outside of personal injury cases as well, but stopping your medication early, taking it sporadically, or otherwise not heeding the directions compromises your health and your case. Share valid reasons for modifying your medication (side effects, interactions) with your doctor.
- Ending Medical Treatment Too Soon: Insurance companies and juries interpret your termination of treatment as a sign that your injury must be healed. They are also prone to interpret large gaps between treatments as a sign the one injury has healed and the second treatment must be for a different, unrelated injury.
- Failure to Follow Treatment Recommendations Due to Depression or Anxiety: Pain and/or disability are common causes of depression or anxiety. These conditions are treatable, but only if you share the symptoms with your doctor. Sharing with your doctor is also the only way to substantiate these conditions in your medical record. This is important, as “pain and suffering” often figure prominently into accident and personal injury cases.
- Failure to Create and Maintain a Personal Medical File: It is essential that your lawyer knows all of your medical care providers and every procedure that you have done after an injury. It is equally important to keep track of doctors’ orders, treatments, referrals, and work restrictions. This information is most easily managed by keeping a medical file on yourself.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury, illness or death, that seems to have been someone else’s fault, call a Chicago accident attorney at 1-866-843-7367. The initial consultation is free of charge. If we agree to handle your injury case, we will work on a contingency fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if, and when, there is a money recovery for you. In many cases, a lawsuit must be filed before an applicable expiration date, known as a statute of limitations. So please call right away to ensure that you do not waive your right to possible compensation.
The information contained on this website is presented by VanDerGinst Law P.C. It is not intended nor should it be construed as professional legal advice. The information is general in nature about the Firm, the scope of services we offer, and our community outreach, it is not legal advice. Please contact us by phone, email, mail, or via this website for inquiries. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please contact a personal injury attorney for a consultation regarding your situation. This website is not intended to solicit clients outside the State of Iowa and/or the State of Illinois.