Schmidt, Sethi & Akmajian Blog

What to do if You are Involved in an Auto Accident--Part II Injuries

Posted by Dev Sethi | Apr 15, 2014 | 0 Comments

If you are involved in a car accident and think you might need a lawyer to help you out, there are many things you can do at the scene of the accident to assist your lawyer in gathering evidence (see Part 1 of this article). This includes taking photos, getting a police report, taking down witness information, and preserving the condition of your vehicle for future inspections. However, if the accident has caused injury to you or a loved one, there are additional steps you need to take. Be Honest with your Police Officer and Get Treatment if it is Offered If you or a loved one has been injured during the incident, now is not the time to act tough and deny injury. Report any and all pain--regardless of how minor--to the police officer when he or she asks. Additionally, if a police officer asks you if you'd like to go to the hospital, it is safer in the long run to accept the offer than to "tough it out." There are several reasons for this. First, many minor injuries can get worse if they aren't treated right away, and many injuries that seem minor at the time they occur can end up being worse than you originally thought. In a legal sense, it is your responsibility to mitigate any injury you suffer in an accident, and failure to do so can be harmful to a subsequent claim for compensation. In other words, if you are injured, it is your duty to do what you can to get the injury treated before it can get any worse. Failure to truthfully tell the investigating officer what is bothering you or rejecting an offer to get it treated can result in permanent injury, slow recovery and mean less money for you in a settlement or jury verdict. See a Doctor as Soon as you Experience any Sign of Injury There are many injuries that can occur after an accident that aren't noticeable right away. For example, you may get into an accident and feel no pain at the time, but experience extreme back or neck pain the next morning when you try to get out of bed. In the event that this occurs, it is extremely important to see a doctor as soon as you begin to experience any symptoms of an injury, including a therapist in the event that the injury has an emotional component. For the same reasons stated above, failure to see a doctor right away can lead to proof that you prolonged your injury and therefore failed in your responsibility to prevent it from getting worse. Go to Follow-ups and Keep Track of the Progress of your Injury It's important that the treatment of your injury doesn't start and end with one visit to the doctor and one diagnosis of what your injury is. Lawyers are very interested in the diagnoses, treatment, and progress of your injury so that they can prove what your injury is, what is required to treat it, and how long it will take to fix. For example, if the first doctor you see is unsure of the extent of your injury,you will want to cooperate and get all the tests recommended by the physician. If the doctor is still uncertain you should consider getting a second opinion from a different doctor or run some more tests; even if your doctor is sure, it never hurts your case to get a second opinion to confirm the first doctor's analysis. If medical treatment is required, this means that you should not only receive the treatment but attend a follow-up visit to see whether the treatment worked, if more treatment or a different treatment is necessary, and what overall progress has been made. Most likely, the insurance company and opposing attorney will try and argue that your injury is misdiagnosed,that you actually are suffering from a prior unrelated injury, that it is not as severe as you have made it out to be, that it won't take as long to treat as you are predicting, and/or that it needs less treatment than what you are receiving or that your injury has taken longer to resolve because you failed to take the medication, go to therapy or otherwise follow your doctor's orders. So always follow all your physician's orders. If the medication doesn't agree with you don't just quit taking it. Go back and see the doctor so he or she can recommend something else. Again, don't "tough it out" and try and live with the pain or recover without the treatment recommended. If the doctor says don't go back to work or avoid certain activities follow his or her advice to the letter.

About the Author

Dev Sethi

Dev Sethi litigates and tries a wide-range of complex injury and death cases throughout Arizona. He has Martindale Hubbell's highest rating, AV, and he is listed in "Best Lawyers." Dev is also recognized as an Arizona Super Lawyer in the area of plaintiff's products liability litigation.Dev has been at the forefront of auto product defect litigation. He played a key role in uncovering the Goodyear Load Range E tire scandal and worked to hold Ford Motor Company responsible for the danger posed by their now notorious 15-passenger vans. Dev is currently representing families in product liability suits against the nation's largest corporations including General Motors, Ford, Pentair Pools and Invacare.


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