Will The Other Driver’s Insurance Company Have Access To My Past And Present Medical History? Could Any Of That Information Hurt My Personal Injury Case?
If you’re able to resolve the case without the necessity of filing a lawsuit, you have a good chance of avoiding having to put your medical history into evidence. If, on the other hand, it is necessary to file a lawsuit (as is often the case), then your past medical records, particularly those types of injuries that are related to the injury you’re claiming in this case, will probably be available to the other side. There are certain types of medical records that you still may be able to protect, things such as psychological records that really have no relationship to the sort of injuries you’re claiming in the accident or records for injuries that do not have any ongoing residual effects. Those are not likely to be available to the other side, but medical records of a same or similar injury within a close proximity to the date of the incident will, in all likelihood, be available to the other side.
Am I Responsible For Notifying My Insurance Company Or The At-Fault Party’s Insurer Of The Accident And The Injuries?
Usually, it’s your responsibility to notify your own insurance carrier. If the accident was not your fault, there should not be any charge to you. Only if they determine that you are responsible for the situation will it be a chargeable event for your automobile insurance. Your attorney, if you’ve retained one, will make contact with the other party’s insurance carrier.
The other party’s insurance carrier will often attempt to contact you before you retain an attorney, but it’s not a good idea to talk to them because they’re going to try to get more information than they would otherwise be entitled to. If they accept any responsibility, they’ll very rarely offer you anything commensurate with the degree of the injuries you sustained. Most often, even if the other insurance company takes the time to contact you, you’re better off referring them to your attorney.
What Are Some Common Defenses That Insurance Companies Use To Avoid Paying Out On Serious Personal Injury Claims?
The defenses that the insurance companies usually offer are: first, it wasn’t my fault; second, if it was my fault, then you weren’t injured to that extent due to anything that I did; third, if it was my fault and you were injured, then you were not injured to the seriousness of the level that you claim to be. In other words, I didn’t do it, but if I did do it, I didn’t cause your injuries, but if I did cause your injuries they are not as serious as you claim; therefore, I am not paying you what you think it’s worth. That’s typically how insurance companies respond.
How Do You, As The Attorney, Determine When It’s Best For Your Client To Settle In A Car Accident Personal Injury Case?
First, we like to get a sense of whether we have a good handle on the extent of your injuries. That, I think, is the most important criteria to try to figure out because we want to have an idea about what your prognosis will be in the future. Is your medical condition fully resolved? Obviously, we don’t have a crystal ball, so we can’t ever say with certainty that you are not going to have other medical consequences. Nevertheless, we ask your doctors, we look at your medical reports, and we rely on what you have to say to make a determination as to whether this is going to continue to be a problem in the future and, if so, what sort of problem it will be.
Once we’ve made a reasonable determination regarding your prognosis and what the future might look like for you, we try to fashion a resolution. We’ll make a demand based on what we anticipate in your future—future medical bills, future impairments, if any, and future disabilities. Once we get that under control, then we like to make a demand and try to settle your claim.
In some cases, we don’t ever get to that point because you have such a serious and ongoing injury that we don’t have that prognosis. What we try to do at that point is get the medical professionals and life care planners to make a determination as best they can based on what they’ve seen. We then make a demand in response to their hypotheses for the future.
If, from the very outset, it looks as though we are so far apart as to responsibility for the situation and/or as to the extent of your injuries, then my advice would be to not waste any more valuable time. We would move immediately toward a lawsuit and look at the issues as we go along during the court process. Oftentimes, the decision is that we move ahead so we can act efficiently and get your claim resolved quickly with the best results possible.
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