Medical expenses can pile up fast after an auto accident. Here’s what to do.
The moments after a traumatic auto accident can be a frantic blur. Once the initial shock wears off, you can find yourself buried under medical bills with no end in sight. Being able to navigate these bills can also have a significant impact on your auto accident insurance settlement, adding additional stress to a time when you should be focused on recovery.
To that end, if you’re injured in an auto accident, follow these steps to regain your footing and ensure that you’re given fair consideration from your insurance company.
Seek Treatment Immediately
The single most important thing for you to do after an auto accident is to seek medical treatment as soon as you can. Even if you don’t feel like you’ve suffered any injuries during your accident, it’s important to visit a doctor or hospital. There’s always a chance that you’ve suffered whiplash or other conditions where symptoms don’t manifest right away. Additionally, it’s possible that the initial shock from the accident is dampening any pain or discomfort from your symptoms, which means you might not fully realize the injuries that you’ve sustained until hours later.
Getting immediate medical attention also provides some valuable context for your insurance claim later. Your doctor will document all of your injuries and will be able to provide this information when you submit your auto accident personal injury claim later. Establishing the injuries you sustained—and the fact that they happened because of your auto accident—is vital in getting the compensation that you deserve from insurance companies.
If you feel fine, it can be tempting to skip a doctor’s trip and save yourself the bills. After all, medical bills can be incredibly daunting—especially if they fall outside the coverage from your medical insurance policy. Even then, it’s vital that you visit a doctor.
Document Your Medical Bills and Send Them to Your Insurance Company
After being injured in a traumatic car crash, the medical bills can start to pile up fast. Although nobody enjoys opening medical bills, make sure to read and itemize each one so that you can send the information along to your insurance company.
Personal injury insurance settlements cost insurance companies money, and it’s therefore in their financial interest to pay for as little treatment as possible. By documenting all of your medical expenses and keeping your insurance company in the loop, you can protect yourself from the possibility that they’ll ignore additional recovery costs such as physical therapy or trauma counseling.
Talk to an Attorney
As noted above, insurance companies lose money when they pay out an auto accident insurance settlement, so you should be prepared for the possibility that they’ll either try to low-ball you, or will try and selectively exclude parts of your treatment from your claim. There are plenty of clerical tools at their disposal for doing this, and it can be daunting trying to argue a case to a company that’s selective about listening.
That’s why hiring an experienced auto accident attorney is a game changer. An attorney will be able to level the playing field if your insurance company is acting out of bad faith. They will also help you explore the best route forward in filing your claim and holding any liable drivers accountable.
It’s difficult to overstate the benefits of having a personal injury lawyer on your side. Personal injury insurance claims are intentionally opaque systems, and having the know-how to navigate them makes a massive difference. Your lawyer will also make sure that any late-onset injuries or further costs of recovery are factored into your settlement, diffusing the possibility of surprise medical bills appearing once your claim has been submitted.
File a Claim
After you’ve spoken with an attorney, it’s time to think about your claim. As Colorado is an “at fault” state, you must file your claim with the insurance provider of the other driver(s). As soon as you’re able, reach out to the insurance company. Be prepared to include information about the crash, including the time, location, and circumstances of the accident. If you did not file a police report at the scene, you can go to a local station and file one, as they will ask you for a police report number when you file.
From there, your insurance company will assign you an adjuster, that will likely follow up with additional questions. Make sure that you have all of your medical bills available if they ask, and ensure that ALL of your medical expenses are being reported in your claim.
It’s entirely possible that the first settlement you’re offered will be inadequate to cover all of your auto accident medical bills. This isn’t a mistake on the insurance company’s part: it’s a tactic to try and get you to settle early so they can avoid paying additional money. Your lawyer will be able to advise you on if you should accept the settlement, and will continue negotiating with the insurance company if it’s inadequate.
The team members at McDivitt Law Firm are no strangers to negotiating with insurance companies. For more than 40 years, we’ve helped the residents of Denver, Colorado Springs, Pueblo, and Aurora manage their auto accident medical bills by fighting tirelessly with insurance companies. We don’t rest until our clients get the settlement that they deserve in order to recover. Contact us today to see how McDivitt makes a difference.