Like nearly 6 million Americans every year, you were unfortunately involved in an auto accident. The good news, you were prepared in the event of an auto accident before it happened. You also took all the right steps immediately after the accident. Below is what you should be aware of for the days, weeks, months, or years after an auto accident.
Following up after an auto accident usually involves interaction within three areas; your treating doctors, the insurance company, and your attorney. From the time following the auto accident, these three areas intertwine with the amount and type of information needed for each.
Make sure you are following up with your treating doctors. After the auto accident, you probably went to the emergency room to see a doctor. This was the first doctor to diagnose and treat your injuries. If you have not already, follow up after the auto accident with your primary care physician. The benefit of treating with your primary doctor is that she can refer you to any specialist that you may need to treat with for your injuries. No matter what, the most important thing is to continue to treat with your doctors. Go to all the scheduled appointments, attend all the rehabilitation sessions, and visit all the specialists that are needed until you and your doctors believe that your treatment is finished.
Be aware of the risk of closed-head injuries. A closed-head injury is any head injury that does not penetrate the skull. Risks associated with closed-head injuries include loss of oxygen and blood supply to the brain. As I discussed in an earlier blog, there is a small window of time to minimize damage and it is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms and seek medical attention immediately.
After all of the doctor visits and treatments, the insurance company and your lawyer will be seeking documentation. It is the doctor's job to treat you and to take notes about each visit. It is your job to make sure those doctors notes, prescriptions, and diagnoses are received by the insurance company and your lawyer. So when you are visiting with any of your doctors, make sure they are documenting the time you spend together. Everyone knows that doctors handwriting is very hard to read, so it does not hurt to ask your doctor to provide you with type-written notes that are signed by her. Also, if you have physician imposed limitations such as; lifting, walking, sitting, working, etc., make sure that those limitations are documented.
Find guidance through your attorney. Your attorney is there to help you through these difficult situations. Listen to the advice your attorney gives you. In these situations, there are things your attorney will need you to do, and refrain from doing. It will be your job to keep your attorney as up to date as possible on your treatment and injuries that you sustained from the accident. Restrictions will be placed on who you can and cannot talk to. It may even come to the point where you must refrain from speaking with your own insurance company. Following your attorney’s advice will help to resolve a difficult situation in a quicker manner.
Auto accidents are traumatic and terrible events. The goal of most people is to return to living their life the same way they did before the accident. Being prepared before an auto accident; taking the proper steps immediately after an auto accident; and following up with your treating doctors, insurance company, and treating doctors will dramatically help you in returning to your way of life before the accident.