Auto collision Injury Symptoms
Words Of Wisdom

Warning signs you were REALLY injured in that car accident

Numbness and tingling after a car accident can be a sign of something very serious! Don’t miss the warning signs!

After getting whiplash, individuals often complain of discomfort in the neck followed by stiffness, tenderness, and pain while moving the neck. In most cases, the pain is stronger a few days after the accident. Individuals who suffered more serious injuries, besides the above mentioned symptoms, complain about pain radiating towards the head and shoulders,  down the arms, and sometimes even to the fingers. Pain radiation is often combined with tingling and numbness in the same areas, loss of strength in the arms and hands, etc. 1 It indicates that there has been an injury of a nerve root, a nerve itself, or that the surrounding tissues (vertebra, ligaments, spinal disc, etc.) are in direct contact with nerve root or nerve and are irritating it. Spinal nerves originate from the spine and their roots are located near the spine, so any spine injury can cause nerve root injury. The most common causes of radiculopathy symptoms after an accident are disc bulges, disc protrusion, overstretching of the nerve root or nerve, contusion of the spinal cord, etc.

Another commonly injured area in car accidents is the lower back. The mechanism of injury is the same as in a whiplash injury (a combination of sudden flexion and extension), but there are also many individuals who suffer a direct blow to the lower back. In those cases, the most commonly injured structures are the lower back muscles, ligaments, nerves, small spine joints, etc. Car accident victims usually complain about lower back pain, stiffness, and tenderness. In the case of more severe injuries, the person will have pain radiation to the buttocks or down the legs, usually in combination with tingling, numbness, loss of strength, etc.

After the accident, an ambulance usually arrives on the scene within a few minutes, and paramedics provide first aid to the individuals involved in a car accident. If the patient complains about pain radiation down the arms or legs, then the spine should be immobilized. Usually a combination of a cervical collar and a long backboard (LBB) are used for spine immobilization, with the main goal being to reduce spine and neck movements in order to lessen the chance of further damage during the transport to the hospital.

After being transported to the nearest emergency room, the patient is fully evaluated. Many people decline to be transfered to the emergency room because they believe they have sustained only minor injuries, and as a result, are fine. However, they usually return to the hospital after a few days after their pain and symptoms worsen.

In most cases, the examiner will examine the patient in the emergency room to try to find red flags which indicate a possible major nerve injury. A good examiner will look at the patient as a whole and not only focus on the injured areas. One of the best protocols for a suspected spinal cord injury is provided by the American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA), which covers whole body examination guidelines and contains a number of tests to use to determine whether there is a spinal cord injury. The examiner should test sensory function, motor strength, and the level and the extent of injury. 2 The examination usually reveals tenderness at the injured site, painful spasm of the paraspinal muscles, and restricted range of motion. The examiner will conduct a number of tests which can detect a possible major injury. The examination is then usually followed by X-rays, which must be ordered by an ER doctor. X-rays are the most common imaging technique used after car accidents, and they are analyzed by radiologist, who tries to find possible signs of injury (broken bones, misalignment of vertebral bodies, changes of normal spinal curves, dislocation of bone, etc.). In most cases, if the X-ray doesn’t show any injury, the patient is released and allowed to go home.

X-rays are a great diagnostic tool for detecting bone injuries like fractures or dislocations. However, they can’t detect soft tissue injuries. MRIs are a lot more sensitive in detecting soft tissue injuries like sprains, strains, ligament tears, contusions, disc bulges, spinal cord injuries, nerve or nerve root injuries, etc. Any patient presenting with the symptoms of a nerve injury (such as tingling, numbness, pain radiation, loss of strength, etc.) should undergo an MRI to detect possible injury, even if their X-rays are normal. 3 

Every hospital should have a protocol in place for trauma patients. Most protocols require pathological findings on an X-ray or CT in order to necessitate a further MRI. But many protocols also require an MRI in case of neurological symptoms. 4

 If the person complains of tingling, numbness, pain radiation to the extremities, or loss of strength in the extremities, he/she should be taken seriously as these symptoms occur in radiculopathy, also known as a pinched nerve. Pinched nerves occur in cases where the nerve or nerve roots are compressed following an injury. 5 Any tissue located near the nerve (such as bone, cartilage, muscles, tendons, ligaments, spinal disc, etc.) can cause compression. One of the most common causes of a pinched nerve after an accident is a herniated disc.

Symptoms similar to a pinched nerve can be caused by spinal stenosis, which is a narrowing of the spinal canal located inside the spine. This narrowing is usually caused by bone overgrowth. However, it can also be caused by a disc bulge after an accident. Bulged discs will compress the spinal cord or nerve roots and cause symptoms like tingling, numbness, loss of strength, pain radiation down the extremities, and in severe cases, even paralysis. 6

Stretching during the car accident exerts enough force to cause the nerve roots located in the neck or lower back to stretch, resulting in radiculopathy.

It is very important to determine the extent of injury and to locate the site of injury, as treatment methods depend mostly on the type of injury. If the person has the symptoms of a pinched nerve, he/she should visit their physician and ask for a referral to a physical therapy specialist, orthopedic surgeon, or neurologist.

If the specialist suspects that there is even that slightest chance that the patient has a nerve injury, they will most likely ask for an MRI of the injured area. MRIs are great diagnostic tools for detecting  soft tissue injuries, including nerve injuries. They can detect nerve root injuries, spinal disc herniation, ligament or muscle injuries, etc. 7

In the event that you experience numbness, tingling, pain radiation or loss of strength, it can indicate a possible nerve root injury, and you can insist on an MRI.

The MRI findings will have a significant impact on future treatment methods. In the case of no visible nerve injury or minor injury, the patient will undergo an intensive physical therapy treatment. Also, many patients undergo acupuncture or chiropractic treatment after their accidents. These treatments can last for weeks or even months, depending on the severity of injury.

Neurologists often recommend an electromyoneurography (EMNG) study, which can detect even the smallest changes in nerves after the accident. EMNG is also known as a nerve conduction velocity test, and it is used to examine nerve activity. In the event of any nerve problems, there will be changes in the conduction of impulses down the nerve, which are detectable by EMNG.

The timing of treatment plays a very important role in the management of nerve root injuries. Patients who start treatment early have a significantly higher chance of healing than patients who delay in obtaining treatment or who don’t seek or receive any treatment at all. 8

If you don’t treat your nerve injury in time, you will probably have problems related to it (periodic or constant numbness, tingling, etc.) for the rest of your life .

In conclusion, many people suffer major nerve injuries but don’t seek medical attention because they think their symptoms are not that serious. Some of the most common symptoms they may experience are tingling and numbness in their extremities, which occur often after a car accident and can indicate a serious injury. So, if you were involved in a car accident and suffer from numbness or tingling, it is best to visit your doctor for a thorough examination. 

References:

1.            Ioppolo, F. and Rizzo, R. (2014). Epidemiology of Whiplash-Associated Disorders. Whiplash Injuries, pp.13-16.

2.            “Spinal Cord Injuries Clinical Presentation: History And Physical Examination.” Emedicine.medscape.com. N. p., 2018. Web. 6 June 2018.

3.            Radiologic Evaluation of Chronic Neck Pain, Richard H. Daffner,  Am Fam Physician. 2010 Oct 15;82(8):959-964.)

4.            “MRI In Acute Spinal Trauma.” Appliedradiology.com. N. p., 2018. Web. 6 June 2018.  So, if you have loss of strength, tingling or numbness you should insist on MRI.

5.            Cervical Radiculopathy (Pinched Nerve), Ian Rodway,  June 2015, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons).  

6.            “Spinal Cord Injuries Clinical Presentation: History And Physical Examination.” Emedicine.medscape.com. N. p., 2018. Web. 6 June 2018.

7.            Imaging after trauma to the neck, Bernard Wee, John H Reynolds, and Anthony Bleetman, BMJ. 2008 Jan 19; 336(7636): 154–157.doi: 10.1136/bmj.39433.663715.BE

8.            Caridi, John M., Matthias Pumberger, and Alexander P. Hughes. “Cervical Radiculopathy: A Review.” HSS Journal 7.3 (2011): 265-272. Web. 6 June 2018.

Strains and sprains
Words Of Wisdom

Groundbreaking: Strains & sprains are permanent injuries!

Sprains and strains are common in auto-accidents

In general, sprains and strains are one of the most common types of injuries, and they are frequently sustained in car accidents. In both sprains and strains, your soft tissues are injured. In the case of sprains, your ligaments are stretched or torn, and in the case of strains, it is your muscles and tendons. 2

Ligament injuries—ankle sprains and ACL injuries, in particular—are the most common cause of joint pain. 1  

How a sprain or strain occurs

The most common mechanism of injury is overstretching a body part. As the soft tissue stretches, its fibers also stretch until they reach their limit. Once they reach the stretching limit, any movement beyond that point will cause a strain or sprain. Less extensive overstretching will only cause the stretching of ligaments, tendons, or muscles, but more extensive stretching can cause those structures to tear.   

In the case of car accidents, if the driver and passengers are restrained (a.k.a. wearing their seatbelts), the lower leg will be the most common site of injury. 3 Though, the ankles, wrists, and knees are also frequently injured. 4        

The driver’s wrist is usually injured in an auto accident, as they tend to grasp the steering wheel firmer at the moment of impact. Drivers also often sustain ankle injuries, which are caused by the unnatural position of the foot at the moment of impact.

Usually, the person will feel a sudden pain near the injured site. A fairly certain sign of ligament rupture is hearing a popping sound at the moment of injury. 2 Swelling occurs quickly after the injury and can last for several weeks. The swelling is frequently followed by bruising, and range of motion of the injured body part will be limited and painful for quite some time.

Treatment for sprain or strain

Treatment options will depend on the severity of the injury. Most people believe that RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) is the only treatment option for sprains and strains. But surgical intervention and treatment may be necessary for the more severe cases.

In fact, it is a common misconception that sprains and strains are a minor injury that don’t have any long-term consequences. In some cases, this kind of auto accident injury can have an extensive and enduring impact on your health and quality of life.

Though every tendon, ligament, or muscle injury will heal by creating scar tissue, there is unfortunately no treatment option that will fully restore the injured tendon or ligament. 5

Prognosis for sprain or strain

Torn ligaments require at least 6 weeks to as much as 3 months to heal. 6 However, it can take up to a couple years for a scar on the injured ligament to fully mature. Only after the healing process is completed will you know whether the injury has healed well or whether the weakened injured site will fail if heavy pressure or stress is applied. 5 The repaired tissue will remain a weak point and future injuries will increase the chance of a new rupture.

Joint instability related to sprains and strains

Many individuals with previous injuries will experience joint instability—a very serious problem, particularly if the knee, ankle, shoulder, elbow, or wrist are the injured areas. 6

Joint instability causes changes in joint motion and force transmission, which can lead to damage not only of the affected joint but also of other body parts. 5 For example, ankle instability will cause gait changes which will eventually affect the knee joints, hips, and lower back, causing cartilage damage and arthritis.

In the case of joint instability, the person might need to change or reduce their level of activity or seek out a different job, if their current one requires constant weight bearing or sudden changes of direction.

A person with chronic joint instability localized in the lower leg usually experiences pain after standing or walking for a longer period of time. Swelling is also a very common issue. If the person has a problem with an upper extremity joint (shoulder, elbow, or wrist), they will usually complain about pain after repeated motions or weight bearing.

Sprains and strains make you more predisposed for future injury

Under normal circumstances, joint cartilage will wear and tear over the course of a lifetime, and people will have symptoms of osteoarthritis in older age. However, in the case of joint laxity caused by ligament issues, such as instability, the bones will have more space to move freely and the cartilage will suffer a lot more impacts than with any other types of injury. 5 7

Previous ligament injuries will also cause muscle weakness, joint instability, decreased function, and neuromuscular deficits (balance problems, problems with sensations, reduced sense of joint position, etc.). 5

A person with joint instability might require a surgery and repeated physical therapy in order to stabilize the joint and minimize the symptoms.

Value of a sprain or strain on your car accident case

In particular, car accidents resulting in sprains and strains can cause devestating and lasting harm to accident victims. If the other side’s insurance company or attorney is giving your trouble and undervaluing your claim if you have been hurt in a car accident in Virginia resulting from the actions of another driver, you can seek representation from a Virginia car accident lawyer. You may be entitled to compensation for your bodily injuries, physical pain and mental anguish, disfigurement and deformity, inconvenience, medical expenses, earnings lost, and property damage.

Beau Correll is a Winchester, VA attorney who focuses on victims of personal injury. The professionals at Correll Law Firm, PLC are available for a free case evaluation to help you begin pursuing your personal injury case and receiving the compensation you deserve.

References:

1.       Ligament Injury and Healing: A Review of Current Clinical Diagnostics and Therapeutics R.A. Hauser, E.E. Dolan, H.J. Phillips, A.C. Newlin, R.E. Moore and B.A. Woldin

2.       “Sprains And Strains – Symptoms And Causes.” Mayo Clinic. N. p., 2018. Web. 1 June 2018.

3.       Pattimore, Dan et al. “The Nature And Cause Of Lower Limb Injuries In Car Crashes.” SAE Technical Paper Series(1991): n. pag. Web. 1 June 2018.

4.       “Sprains, Strains And Other Soft-Tissue Injuries – Orthoinfo – AAOS.” Orthoinfo.aaos.org. N. p., 2018. Web. 1 June 2018.

5.       Tendon and Ligament: Development, Repair and Disease. Samuel Tozer and Delphine Duprez.

6.       Tricia J. Hubbard and Charlie A. Hicks-Little (2008) Ankle Ligament Healing After an Acute Ankle Sprain: An Evidence-Based Approach. Journal of Athletic Training: Sep/Oct 2008, Vol. 43, No. 5, pp. 523-529.

7.       Hertel, Jay. “Functional Instability Following Lateral Ankle Sprain.” Sports Medicine 29.5 (2000): 361-371. Web. 1 June 2018.

Uncategorized

From Collision To Consultation

Initial Crash

One oft-repeated phrase is, “it’s better read about than experienced for yourself.” Few maxims can better encapsulate what it’s like to be a victim of a car collision.

Like any paradigm shift in someone’s life, it’s often dramatic and sudden. The screeching of wheels, the scream of the unexpected, or the shot of unfamiliar adrenaline.

All such tragic events mark the beginning of a typical personal injury case. For simplicity’s sake, we will discuss a common car accident. This piece explores how a victim of circumstance can take control of their situation, and turn their misfortune into an opportunity to better their case and their chances of reasonable compensation.

Self-Assessment

After the initial shock and twisted metal, victims at the scene may be dazed and confused. Regardless of where you are on the road, examine yourself and passengers for injuries. If there are no visible injuries, do the obvious thing and move your vehicle to a safe location if you are blocking the road.

If anyone is injured, get medical help as soon as possible. Truth be told, calling 911 has the added benefit of documenting the incident for later insurance evaluation purposes. This is because the documentation generated from the call tends to indicate a propensity of a person being truly injured. While it may come across as callused, car accident cases – and other cases involving personal injury – are all about documentation.

Insurance claims representatives will even go so far as to reduce the value of a claim on not going to the emergency room, even if there are later objective findings indicating that an injury occurred. Injuries, such as cervical strain and sprain, tend to appear more than one to two days later after the “shot of adrenaline” wears off. However, it’s the documentation early on that is important.

Interaction With Law Enforcement

If police were summoned by a party contacting 911, documentation will again be generated. It is common that police, in addition to checking for injuries, may cite the at-fault driver for either a crime or a traffic infraction.

Keep in mind that a criminal case is the government (or, in Virginia, the “Commonwealth”) versus the defendant. A criminal case is about seeking justice. On the other hand, a personal injury case is about “being made whole again.”  Until a magic wand is invented, that means the “bad guy” paying some form of compensation.

Before law enforcement makes a general “first look” at liability, they will gather evidence – including statements from other drivers and witnesses, as well as obtaining contact information. This information is crucial for a Virginia auto injury or car accident attorney to later help prepare a case.

Keep in mind that the initial police investigation is entirely separate from the civil process, which may, in turn, rely on documentation generated as a result of the crash investigation. Even should an officer believe that a person is at-fault in a collision, the other driver’s insurance company may come to an independent conclusion.

One final point is that calling for help may be legally required in some circumstances. In Virginia, assume that it is required if there is someone that is injured or visible property damage to the vehicles.

Document The Facts For Later

Feel free to be your own detective if you have not yet met with a personal injury lawyer.

Ask for the other driver’s name, address, telephone number, and insurance information. If there are other witnesses to the collision, ask for the same. Take pictures with your cell phone of the accident scene and the driver’s license, if provided.

It is perfectly normal and expected for you to provide your insurance information to the other driver, even if they were at-fault. We highly recommend to clients not to make statements to the other driver’s insurance company. They’re frequently very motivated to assign blame to someone other than their own insured.

Don’t be limited in pictures of property damage of the vehicles. If it’s safe and prudent to do so, take copious amounts of pictures of you and your passenger’s injuries. This includes bruising that may later develop.

By being your own detective, the insurance company for the other driver may not be so quick to turn a blind eye to the blame of their insured. Documenting (if safe and not obstructive) while still at the scene to show the location of the impact, road conditions, and the condition of the vehicles may be critical bits of evidence later that a personal injury attorney can later utilize.

A good law firm will use this evidence to help develop your case into the best it can be under the facts. If you don’t have any of this evidence don’t worry. In most cases a client doesn’t provide this information during initial intake. That said, the more information provided the better.

Seek Medical Treatment

In line with the need to call 911, if necessary, is the simple fact that you need to seek medical treatment if you are hurt in the collision or later develop conditions that didn’t exist the day of the accident.

It is critical that you go to every appointment scheduled with a health provider and do everything that they tell you to do. Top in the playbook of every insurance company is to highlight any and all delays or gaps in treatment and try to use that information to diminish the value of your claim.

This is even true if you don’t have health insurance at the time of the collision. It is highly important that if you don’t have health insurance that you waste no time in getting it. In addition to being legally required at the time of this writing, health insurance may cover tens of thousands (if not millions) of dollars in treatments.

Even if you have the most amazing case, not having health insurance means that the proceeds of any later settlement or trial goes to pay the providers when it could have gone to your pain and suffering that you had to endure as a result of the injuries.

As a slight caveat, under some circumstances the insurance company for the other driver may reduce any settlement offer by the amount paid by insurance. However, this depends on the state and an entirely different analysis. You’ll need to consult with a car accident lawyer in your state to determine if this applies.

Avoid Waiting Until The Last Minute To Seek Necessary Medical Treatment Or Blowing Off Your Appointments If They Are Recommended By A Treating Healthcare Professional

Whether it’s the day after the accident and you were discharged from the Emergency Room or it’s month three of physical therapy or chiropractic care, you need to keep your appointments. We cannot stress this enough.

Car insurance companies for the other driver will even go so far as to unjustly say that you’re faking your injuries. They may resort to this accusation if you stop going to your appointments or blow off treatment all-together before it has run it’s course. Frequently, soft tissue injuries can “flare up” if maintenance treatments do not continue until their natural conclusion.

Once upon a time, it was a socially-acceptable attribute for people to be “tough” and “suck it up” despite pain. That doesn’t appear to be a common thread in today’s negotiations with insurance companies, especially when it comes to auto-injury cases. If you feel a certain way, pursue treatment. We recommend to clients to keep a daily pain and inconvenience journal, so we can see how they are progressing in their treatment.

Lawsuit Time: “Let’s Get It On!”

While this article was limited to what a victim of car accident can do to improve their case prior to their first legal consultation, I would be remiss if I did not include one final bit of information: choose an attorney that isn’t afraid of going to trial. If you don’t get the settlement offer that you are looking for (and is reasonable given prior settlements or verdicts), a knowledgeable Virginia car accident attorney would have no qualms about filing a lawsuit and making a request for appropriate damages to the judge or jury.

If, after negotiation with the insurance company and discussion with my client, we don’t get a settlement offer that is reasonable, then it may be time to file a lawsuit.

Occasionally, it may be advisable to cut the claims representatives out all together and file the lawsuit against the person that hurt you.

If the other driver’s insurance company doesn’t place the right value on your case, a jury of your peers may see that you internalized your pain, choosing not to be a burden on your family and friends, and assess damages a more reasonable way.

Words Of Wisdom

Presenting The Best Case

No one (sane) wants to be in a car accident.  From a mere inconvenience, to a life-shattering years of treatment and recovery, the negligence of another driver can leave a lasting blemish on an innocent person.  

We at Correll Law Firm, PLC want to make sure that you know how to “jump start” your personal injury case to get the financial compensation that you may be entitled to through either settlement or trial.

Car accidents can be very traumatic experiences. The injuries you may sustain in the accident for the rest of your life.

In addition to the physical harm, you may be at-risk for untold financial harm as well.  One heavily-cited Harvard Medical Study found that 62 percent of bankruptcies are due to medical bills.  In the majority of those cases the individuals even had health insurance!

That’s why knowing the ins and outs of a personal injury client’s insurance is crucial as there may be coverages that a person may not be aware of.

There are many ways to make sure that you are covered in the event someone hits you in a car accident in Northern Virginia.  However, in order to maximize recovery, it’s crucial that you “document, document, document” the circumstances of your injury.

We’ll give you some tips on thoroughly documenting your injuries and making sure you support an award for adequate compensation from a car insurance company. 

Many times we ask client’s to help “jump-start” our representation by providing several key items of evidence.  That said, it is the practice of our firm to seek most of the below items for you.

  • A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words.  You won’t believe how important this is to both our understanding and that of the insurance company.   We’ll want pictures of your car’s damage, both from afar and close-up, and road conditions.  As to your damage – your personal injury – we’ll need both before and after photos that are a true and accurate depiction of the harm that was caused by the other driver.  If you are now limited in activities that you could have done before, we want to see that as well.
  • Day To Day Limitations.  We frequently ask clients to document their daily trials and tribulations, which are frequently forgotten months after the accident.  Being accurate is critical. We ask because forgetting bad things that happen is not only part of the coping process; it’s human nature.  
  • Accident Location.  We frequently use mapping tools to visually-depict what happened on the day of the collision.
  • Lost Wages.  Aside from medical expenses, this is one of the most critical items to keep track of following a car accident.  We have had cases be great or not so great based on the ability to document lost wages.
  • Medical Records.  We’ll need releases so we can get into the science and mechanism of your injury.  It’s not enough to say you were injured.  We need to make the case of how it happened even if it may seem obvious to you.  You have to assume the insurance company of the other driver will try to poke holes in your case if medical documentation is not as complete as practical.
  • Medical Billing.  If you are not able to obtain these records when you come to us for a consultation, don’t worry about it.  We’ll take care of it for you.  In addition to treatment records, we’ll want to document your pharmacy records, travel expenses for medical appointments, physical therapy equipment, and insurance treatment deductibles or co-payments.

Call us at 540.535.2005 to schedule a free case evaluation

Correll Law Firm, PLC, serving Northern Virginia, has a solid familiarity of both the auto claims process, the factors to maximize success, and the law related to personal injury claims.  It is important to us that our clients be happy with our representation.  Whether you have the documentation when you come to see us, or we obtain it to advance your case (which is most scenarios), we look forward to meeting you.

Words Of Wisdom

8 Shady Insurance Tactics

Many folks like you, when thinking of the car accident settlement process, feel that insurance company employees are simply going to fairly measure your injuries, then pay you what is “owed.”  

However, it’s not that simple.  Insurance companies make a profit by maximizing the amount of money people pay in premiums and reducing the amount paid out in claims to injured people like you.  It’s their business model and people, like you, can be taken advantage of if they’re unaware.

DID YOU KNOW: It has even been disclosed that the adjusters can get paid BONUSES in reducing payouts!

We are frequently seeing cases in which people are taken advantage of.  That said, we want to share with you 8 Shady Tactics they use to reduce paying you what you are owed.

1: They’re looking at your life!

Particularly in cases where we have a client that is severely injured, insurance claims representatives will delve into social media accounts.  They’ll even have you followed and videoed in public.  They may take a few moments of walking to your door without a cane or other assistive device (if a medical professional recommends one) and try to claim you were fine the entire time!

That’s why when we litigate cases we frequently demand any and all surveillance of clients.  During the civil discovery process they usually have to “give up the goods” on what they have on clients. Usually? It’s nothing. 

2. They’ll put up roadblocks

They don’t want you to separate the forest from the trees.

Insurance companies relish in delaying your claim.  They’ll make you get overly-involved in paperwork.  They’ll place all kinds of hoops for you to jump through.  They’ll confuse you and mix in property and personal injury policy limits.  They want to “run that clock” because guess what?  They know that if you play the game long enough you may miss the statute of limitations and you’ll lose your claim forever.

One frequently tactic they use is to only evaluate your claim based on your present injuries.  If you sign that settlement form, you may be “donezo” if you ever develop further pain and discomfort from the original injury.  That’s why it’s important to engage an attorney early.

3. Spying on your Facebook

Always be very cautious what you say on social media because they will misconstrue that, if possible, just like they will on recorded phone calls.

TIP FROM US: Hire an attorney before any discussions with the other person’s insurance company.

4. Inserting tricky clauses into routine documents

We come across this regularly.  If you don’t have an attorney representing you – and even if you do – they will frequently try to get ALL of your medical records, even if it’s not related to the accident.  In those release documents, if you examine the fine-print, you’re agreeing for them to look even YEARS back!  For unrelated things!

They do this because they may want to pin your ailment on a pre-existing condition.  Sometimes they’ll go to great lengths to draw that connection, even if it’s not entirely supported by medical science.

5: Asking Incomplete Questions / Trying to Frame You In The Wrong Light

These insurance adjusters want to blame you whenever they can for the accident.  We urge clients to contact us immediately, rather than playing “their game.”

One of the insurance adjuster “tools of the trade” is to ask incomplete questions to people that don’t have attorneys on recorded phone calls.

We had one case where a bush partially obstructed a client’s view. The client, out of an abundance of caution, pulled into the roadway for a full 30 seconds so any other cars could see him before he pulled out.  After the accident, the other driver’s insurance company denied the claim (initially) by asking on a prerecorded call if the client was to blame for pulling out into a roadway.  The client didn’t see the trickery and said, “Yes!”  However, only when the full facts came out was it clear THEIR DRIVER was at fault.  If a car is in the road for a full 30 seconds, the law recognizes it was the fault of the other driver for being negligent.

That’s but one example out of many.  In summation, don’t play the games of the insurance companies!

6: They blame Colossus.

Most insurance companies use a complex computer program called “Colossus” to evaluate a claim, using various metrics.  Not only are the metrics suspect and not properly assess certain accident-related conditions, but we know many of the limitations of this program.  

The insurance adjuster will usually just blame the computer program for the low settlement number.  Don’t be taken advantage of in this process.

7: Colossus uses a Plaintiff attorney’s “batting average.”

This program, depending on the version, may look at your attorney’s “batting average.”  By that, it looks to whether your attorney is willing to sue if the number is too low.  We take pride in fighting for our clients who wish to pursue this route and are unafraid of taking a case to trial.  We want the maximum amount of recovery for our clients so they can be made whole again.

8: “Do you really need a lawyer?” -Their Insurance Company

Keep in mind what we said before: they want to avoid or reduce payouts.  Lawyers, that know what they are doing, hold the insurance companies accountable.  You need someone that knows the rules of the road to maximize compensation.

Correll Law Firm, PLC (www.correllfirm.com) has experience confronting the insurance companies and fighting for financial recovery of our clients.  If you have been injured in a car accident or the negligence of someone in other ways, call us at (540) 535-2005 for a free case evaluation.

The insurance companies know how to reduce your claim value.  Do you know how to obtain the maximum amount you’re entitled to?