insurance claim

It Didn't Hurt, But Now It Does: Your Car Accident Injury Recovery Questions Answered

All too often, people are involved in car crashes and don't realize they are injured until several days or even weeks after the crash. The reasons for the delay of symptoms varies from person to person, but there's no doubt that many injuries related to car crashes don't show up until after a delay. Unfortunately, car insurance companies will look at any gaps in treatment as evidence that the claimant was not injured by the subject crash. So what to do if you were hurt in a California car accident, but didn't realize the full extent of your injuries until a few days or weeks after the accident?

Gaps in treatment can end up with the insurance company denying payment of your medical bills. Whenever you're injured due to another's negligence, it is imperative you seek medical treatment immediately.

Gaps in treatment can end up with the insurance company denying payment of your medical bills. Whenever you're injured due to another's negligence, it is imperative you seek medical treatment immediately.

Get Checked By a Doctor

The most important part of recovering from your personal injury is knowing what is hurt and how best to recover from the injury. Although nobody knows your body better than you, a qualified medical doctor can help assess the severity of your injuries and help chart a plan to help you recover. Most general practitioners will be able to discuss what hurts and point you in the right direction, which often includes x-rays and MRIs in order to find out exactly what the extent of your injuries are. The sooner you see a doctor, the better of you will be, both physically and in relation to your claim or lawsuit. Many law firms advise clients to see a doctor no later than within the first week of the car crash, and some injury lawyers refuse to accept clients who have not been to the doctor within a week, so the sooner you go, the better off you'll be.

What If I Don't Have Health Insurance?

Many people delay or forego entirely healthcare after a car crash because they don't have health insurance and they are afraid of the high cost of medical bills. A good law firm that practices personal injury law will be able to point you in the right direction. There are many doctors who will treat you with no payment up front, but will require payment once your injury claim settles. This is called lien-based treatment. In this situation, your attorney, yourself, and the treating medical office, all sign a document that says the doctor will be paid once the injury case settles. Of course, you would need to have an attorney represent you for your car crash for this setup to work for you, but the benefit is you can receive the healthcare you need at no out of pocket costs.

If you don't have health insurance, seeking proper medical treatment can be scary. Talking with a good injury lawyer will set your mind at ease. If you were hurt by someone else's negligence, you have options.

If you don't have health insurance, seeking proper medical treatment can be scary. Talking with a good injury lawyer will set your mind at ease. If you were hurt by someone else's negligence, you have options.

What If I Was Previously Injured?

Sometimes, people who are hurt in car crashes are afraid they won't be able to be reimbursed for their losses because they were previously injured, or they have chronic pain. This is a common situation, and the law provides for a fair outcome. If your previous injury was worsened, or exacerbated, because of the car crash, you are able to recover the money you lost, or owe, due to the accident. That is, if the car crash made it worse, you shouldn't have to pay for the costs of medical care of getting you back to the state of health you were in before the crash. 

Getting back to living life before your car crash isn't easy. Delaying medical treatment often makes the injury worse.

Getting back to living life before your car crash isn't easy. Delaying medical treatment often makes the injury worse.

What If I Have to Travel for Work and Miss Treatment?

Life doesn't just stop just because you were rear ended and hurt. Maybe you have a vacation scheduled, or you travel for work. If you're traveling, you can't be expected to go to your doctors appointments. In this situation, again, you will likely benefit from the counsel and representation of a lawyer who focuses on personal injury cases. A good lawyer will help explain to the other party's attorneys the reason you had to travel, and will likely be able to get you fair compensation for your injury claim. The rule of thumb is you should always seek proper medical treatment for as long as you need, and you should not delay or miss appointments. But if your travel plans require you to be away, a good lawyer can explain this to the insurance company and their lawyers.

Now What?

First things first: get to the doctor! You need to take care of your health following a car crash. If there has been a delay in treatment, you will likely benefit from speaking with a lawyer who has seen cases similar to yours. In most cases, the law firm will review the facts of your case at no cost to you, and most law firms in personal injury work on a contingency fee basis, meaning their fee comes out of the case settlement value. This means you will not have to pay up front, but the fees will be deducted from your settlement. Of course, no good injury law firm would take your case and work for free - if they take your case, they know they can win. In summary, you need to get back to the doctor to treat any injury that was caused by your car accident. Then, you should consult with a lawyer who has seen a situation like yours before. 

 

How Does Lien-Based Medical Treatment Work?

Receiving proper medical treatment after an injury is critical to your physical recovery. If you don't get the right care, the chances that your injury will persist for many months and years is significantly higher. However, with the right treatment after a bad car crash or other type of injury, your chances of a full recovery are much better. But what about the cost of getting the "right" care? Most people don't have the cash or credit to get all the treatment they need, and this applies to people with good health insurance, too. 

Some of the best medical facilities in California accept injury liens.

Some of the best medical facilities in California accept injury liens.

Lien-Based Treatment

Doctors area able to treat you and get paid later - obviously the doctor that treats you and gets a check from your health insurance has to wait a few weeks to get paid. This is one approach to the business of healthcare. Some doctors are willing to provide treatment with the expectation that they will be paid after an injury case settles. The idea is that if you were injured by someone else and there's a lawyer involved who is handling the case and expects to win, the insurance company will eventually be paying on the case. In this situation, the patient signs a lien, meaning that when the case settles, the doctor gets paid before the patient does. For example, if you are injured in a car accident and receive lien-based medical treatment, the sequence goes like this: treatment is received by you, with no out of pocket costs. Then, after your attorney wins the case, or reaches a settlement with the insurance company of the at-fault driver, the money goes into a trust account at the law firm's bank. From there, the attorney must first pay the doctor who has a lien - this contract/lien is in the attorney's file. In this way, the patient is able to get the right medical treatment, and the doctor's office is paid for its services.

Proper diagnosis matters: It isn't enough to just say you were hurt, or that your life has changed. You need the right doctor with the right training to help you reach a full recovery.

Proper diagnosis matters: It isn't enough to just say you were hurt, or that your life has changed. You need the right doctor with the right training to help you reach a full recovery.

Why Might Lien-Based Treatment Be Good for Injured Patients?

Big HMOs can be difficult to schedule appointments with, especially if your treatment requires many follow-up visits, or a consultation with a specialist. We've all had the experience of waiting for a referral to a specialist and being told that so-and-so doesn't have an open appointment for a few weeks. Well, if you need to see an orthopedic surgeon or neurosurgeon today, but you can't get in for a month, your health lays in the balance during that time. Also, the quality of care can be better with doctors who treat on a lien. Many lien-based medical offices, or doctors offices who accept traditional health insurance, as well as cash payments and lien based payments, are privately owned. These doctors are often highly specialized, meaning they are able to sustain their own businesses without the need to be part of a big HMO system or hospital. 

Because the offices tend to be privately owned, the doctors have more say in who they decide to treat, and who they decide they don't want to treat. This means they can control their schedules better, meaning your chances of getting in for an appointment are better. The payment system is also a big issue for a lot of people injured in car accidents, auto versus pedestrian injuries, and slip and fall injuries. Again, because many people don't just have thousands of dollars set aside in their bank account just in case they are injured in a car accident, most people are not ready for what can be expensive medical care after an accident.

Access to the proper specialists without having to wait months for an appointment is one reason many injured people decide to seek lien-based treatment.

Access to the proper specialists without having to wait months for an appointment is one reason many injured people decide to seek lien-based treatment.

How Does Lien Treatment Affect Your Injury Case?

The bottom line is that if you don't get proper medical treatment for your injuries, you can't expect the insurance company to take your word for it and trust you were injured. No medical treatment means no settlement money to compensate you for your loss. For example, if you were injured in a car accident, but due to financial constraints or scheduling conflicts you weren't able to get the medical care you needed, you can't just expect the at-fault driver's insurance company to take a compassionate route and pay you the same amount for your injury as if you went to the doctor. Thus, even with very bad injuries, without the documentation and proper treatment from a doctor, the insurance company will not pay fair money on your claim.

But what is "fair" money anyways? Well, consider a scenario in which two people have identical injuries from the same crash. One person goes to the doctor, sees the specialists he/she is referred to, and reaches a full recovery after a few months. The doctor's notes document the patient's injury step-by-step, from the first visit until the last. Perhaps this person's case settles for $50,000. Now consider the second person does not go to the doctor, although they have the exact same injuries. This person has nothing to "prove" he/she was injured. They may not get any settlement at all. If they do get a settlement, it will likely be around a couple hundred of dollars, known as "nuisance money." If the second person gets $500, that's a difference of $49,500! The difference is the first person sought appropriate and reasonable medical care, and their injuries are documented by a medical professional. Although the second person had identical injuries, they basically walk away with nothing. 

How Can You Find Lien-Based Treatment?

If you got hurt in a car accident, or got hit on your bicycle, or was injured and it was not your fault, you're likely going to need to see a primary care physician, or other general medical practitioner. This may be at the emergency room, or at urgent care, or at your primary care physician's office. The office may refer you to future treatment, and you can ask if they know of offices for the treatment you require who will accept lien-based care. Also, most personal injury law firms are aware of medical facilities that are willing to treat on a lien. A good injury lawyer will have handled lots of injury cases, and so he or she will have worked on files and made payments on past cases to medical offices and doctors who accept lien-based care.

Many top surgeons accept liens. This is one reason some injured clients decide to have their surgeries performed at a private medical clinic rather than at an HMO

Many top surgeons accept liens. This is one reason some injured clients decide to have their surgeries performed at a private medical clinic rather than at an HMO

What Kind of Treatment Can You Get on a Lien?

Name a kind of medical office or specialty and you can find an office that treats on a lien. In California, there are surgeons, chiropractors, MRI facilities, physical therapy offices, holistic medicine, orthopedic surgeons, pain management, podiatrists - the list is basically endless. This is not to say that every office accepts lien-based care, or even the majority. While lien-based treatment is increasingly popular, the majority of medical offices may not be comfortable with this arrangement. However, if a medical office has provided treatment and then gotten paid promptly by a good injury attorney, they are very likely to accept lien-based treatment. For this reason, a medical office may want to know the name of your attorney and the firm he or she works for. If your attorney is a general attorney who does a bit of everything, but does not focus on personal injury exclusively, it is less likely that the medical office will be willing to treat you on a lien. But, if you are represented by a law firm that focuses its entire practice on injury law, the chances that that medical office will be willing to treat you up front at no cost are much higher.

Get an Attorney With a Good Reputation

Because doctors want to work with attorneys who they know will win the case and pay the doctor's bill, it is important that you seek an attorney who has a lot of experience handling personal injury cases. Consider that with the aid of modern technology, the best attorney for handling your injury claim may not be in your town or even your county! Most law firms these days are able to do a lot of work using email, faxes, and video-chat, such that someone located in San Bernardino, for example, might be best off going with a law firm represented in Orange County or Los Angeles County. At the end of the day, you want an attorney who knows injury law backwards and forwards - the chances that you will find an attorney with that kind of experience just by happenstance that is located in your city or town may not be high. Most attorneys in California will agree that the best thing you can do is find an attorney who focuses on one type of case, and has room in his or her schedule to give your case the attention it deserves.

Still Have Questions?

The Lions Injury Lawyers, P.C. focus entirely on personal injury matters. They don't handle any other types of cases but injury claims. They accept car accident cases, auto versus pedestrian (including auto versus bicycle and skateboard), slip and fall, general negligence, products liability, failure to warn, and premises liability. The Lions are not a settlement mill - they won't just settle your case for pennies on the dollar in order to be able to handle more cases. All cases handled by The Lions are handled by an actual attorney. If you have questions about your case, including whether it is worth it to get an attorney, or whether in the end you'll get more money in your pocket by representing yourself or going with a lawyer, you should talk to a lawyer. Call The Lions and talk to a lawyer, not a salesman.  

Back to where you were before the injury - that's what the law says you're entitled to after you're hurt by someone else's negligence.

Back to where you were before the injury - that's what the law says you're entitled to after you're hurt by someone else's negligence.

Car Accident Injuries & Medical Bills: What Insurance Will (and will not) Pay

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The range of injuries that result from car accidents varies greatly, from minor scuffs and bruises, to catastrophic injuries that require extensive hospitalization, surgery, and other intense medical treatment. If you were injured in a car accident in California, the laws essentially state that you are entitled to be made whole again, or to receive the medical care necessary to bring you back to the same state of health you were in prior to the car crash. The person who hit you is responsible for paying these medical bills, in general, but there are many "loopholes" that make getting full payment of your medical bills paid for difficult or impossible. 

How Does Insurance Evaluate Medical Care?

An injured person is expected to pursue reasonable medical treatment to care for their pains and ailments. What is reasonable? The answer to that question is, of course, subjective and it depends on who you ask. Generally speaking, medical care is considered reasonable by insurance adjusters if it happens at an appropriate time in relation to the car accident, the number of visits are within a normal range, and the cost of the care is within what insurance companies define as "industry standard." Some insurance companies are more strict than others when defining a price point for industry standard, which means they will not pay for treatment over a certain dollar point, regardless of where you live or how soon after your car accident you sought medical treatment. This situation leads many injured people to seek the advice of an injury attorney, even just to review their case and get advice on how to move forward.

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The Cost of Medical Treatment

Some insurance companies look to what Medicare accepts as "normal" pricing for a medical treatment or procedure. Obviously this is the lowest number possible for any given medical care, and the average car accident victim is unlikely to receive any medical treatment at the Medicare price. Does this mean you have to shop around endlessly to find the absolute cheapest medical care to treat your injuries? No. It may mean you'll benefit from the representation of a lawyer who practices car accident law, or an injury law firm that can assist you in finding access to medical care that will get you on your way towards full health. A good lawyer will fight to make sure you get your medical bills paid for and also compensation for pain and suffering.

Sequence Matters in Medical Treatment

Another way in which medical bills are slashed or denied by insurance companies is by the insurance adjuster claiming there was a "gap in treatment," or improper sequencing of care. This means that if you are hurt, you need to get help right away, and then follow the advice of your doctor. If you're injured, you need to first see a qualified doctor, and then follow the regimine the doctor prescribes you until you are better. If you take long breaks in-between treatment, you may find it difficult or impossible to get your bills paid for due to gaps in treatment. Similarly, if you know you require surgery, for example, you can't just delay getting the surgery for months and years. At some point, and it varies case by case, the insurance company will say the surgery is not related to the initial accident, and they will deny liability to pay for the operation. Sequence matters. This means you should seek the opinion of someone able to give an assessment of your injuries or ailments, like the kind of doctor visit you might get at an emergency room, at an urgent care, or through your primary care doctor. Then, you're expected to follow the advice of the doctor. For example, if the doctor says you need 25 visits of chiropractic care, you will be expected to go to a chiropractor and receive that amount of care.

Chiropractic care can be especially tricky when seeking payment for your medical bills from the insurance company of the individual liable for the accident and your injuries. Most insurance companies will balk at paying for more than 25 visits, unless specifically prescribed by a doctor not affiliated with the chiropractor's office. After 25 visits, if you are still injured, you'll be expected to seek additional treatment, something more advanced, such as an MRI, or a visit with a pain management office, or a specialist that deals with the body part(s) you've suffered injury in. 

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Don't Accept Pennies on the Dollar for your Bills

Some people injured in a car crash or other injury that was not their fault feel helpless when the insurance adjuster offers them a couple hundred dollars to pay for large bills. Feeling helpless, they don't know what to do and accept the money, thinking something is better than nothing. This plays perfectly into the insurance companies' strategy: if you offer ten people a very small settlement, at least seven or eight of those people will either go away, or eventually accept it. Dollar for dollar, this is their best bet, and they save the most money by doing this. What the seven or eight people who accept this offer do not know is that if they're offered $500, there is likely at least a couple thousand dollars available to pay for their bills, but they don't know how to get it.

Getting to a "Fair and Reasonable" Settlement for Your Injury

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If you weren't at fault, but you were injured, you deserve compensation to pay for your bills and for your pain and suffering. While the law says you deserve this, and there are tens of thousands of cases where this happens, most people don't know how to go about getting this money, and without the assistance of an experience and trusted injury law firm, you're very unlikely to get the money you deserve for your injury. Experience matters in injury law, and the representation of a good lawyer will, in almost every case, mean the injured person walks away with more money in their pocket and their medical bills paid for, than if they try to negotiate on their own. This has nothing to do with how smart the injured person is or how good a negotiator he or she is. If you don't know what your case is worth, or how the insurance company reviews your file and comes up with a price tag, you will not be able to get to their top offer. Of course, you can threaten to sue, but insurance companies are well represented by good defense law firms, so they are not intimidated by threats of lawsuits from individuals saying they'll go it alone and file the lawsuit. An injury law firm, on the other hand, will not only file a lawsuit on the injured person's behalf, but they'll go about it the right way and will very likely increase the cost of your claim by a lot of money: a lawsuit from a plaintiff represented by a good injury lawyer will get the attention of any insurance company or insurance adjuster.

The Lions Injury Lawyers, P.C. represents injured clients throughout California. Based in Orange County, CA, The Lions practice only injury law, meaning they focus 100% of their time, energy and effort on winning money for injured people throughout California. No matter if you live in San Diego County, Orange County, Los Angeles County - or somewhere else in California, The Lions will vigorously fight for you and your case. You won't talk to a salesman if you call for a free consultation - you'll discuss your case with an actual attorney, a lawyer who may eventually represent you and help you recover from your injury. Lawyers are ready to discuss your case today, or simply answer your questions.

Documenting Expenses for your Personal Injury Claim

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Costs add up quickly when you're trying to recover from an injury, from co-payments for doctors visits, to prescriptions and travel to and from medical facilities. If you were injured in an accident and it was not your fault, you are entitled to reimbursement for these expenses. Unfortunately, many claimants do not keep track of their expenses (bills), and so the defense insurance company is not obligated to pay for costs that are not appropriately documented. A few tips on how to organize your car accident injury-related bills may help you recover more money for your injury settlement.

Your Claim Comes Down To Documentation

Your injury attorney will be using your medical records and bills to prove the extent and severity of your injury. Your injury lawyer will also be using any bills you have to prove out of pocket expenses, such as receipts for travel expenses, receipts for prescriptions you fill at a pharmacy, and other expenses. If you missed work, for example, you cannot simply tell the at-fault insurance company you missed work and expect them to compensate you for your lost wages. You must provide proof of all lost income via pay stub or other documentation. This can be agitating and difficult, but the more aware you are of the process at the beginning, the better.

Start a File

Many individuals who are hurt in a California car accident are going through the experience for the first time. Unfamiliar with how insurance adjusters evaluate injury claims, they assume the best. This is not wise. Insurance adjusters are well-trained to minimize the amount they will pay for an injury claim. When possible, they will reduce the amount they will pay as low as they can. In order to prove lost income, or out of pocket expenses, you should start a file where you keep all documentation related to your injury. This includes photographs of the scene of the accident, all correspondence from the other driver, bills, medical records, and anything else your injury law firm might need in order to get you the most money for your injury settlement.

California Injury Claims

If you were injured in California, no matter whether it is in Southern California, the Inland Empire, or up north, the state insurance code provides insurance companies several "loopholes" through which they can deny payment. An experienced injury attorney in California will be well versed in the tactics used by insurance companies, and will be able to guide injured clients through the process. You should provide your attorney with all information related to the claim, but you should not provide the at-fault insurance company this information directly. There are many reasons for this, but the way you provide information to the insurance company can drastically affect the leverage you have to settle for a higher amount. 

How To Proceed With Your Injury Claim

First, you will be well served to consult with an experienced injury attorney or injury law firm. Consider all the things you likely do not know about how injury claims work. Also, remember that all insurance companies are for-profit corporations that make billions of dollars a year - their motivation is not to pay all your bills, it is to create a profitable business. Therefore, expect them to pay as little as possible to you to settle your claim. An attorney will give you the best chance of settling for fair value with the at-fault insurance company. Keep all documents and photographs, and do not simply mail them or email them to the at-fault insurance company. First, you should speak with an attorney and get a free consultation. This could literally save you tens of thousands of dollars, and a good attorney may be able to help you receive the best healthcare available without having to pay out of pocket. 

California Injury Attorneys

The Lions Injury Lawyers represent car crash victims throughout the state of California. We represent plaintiffs from San Diego, to Orange County, from Los Angeles, all the way up to San Francisco and beyond. Our office prides itself on achieving fair and reasonable settlements for our clients. If you're unsure where to go from here, an attorney is waiting to take your call and discuss your claim or case. You will never write us a check or have to pay out of pocket - our injury law firm works on a contingency fee basis, meaning there is no up front cost to you, and we take our fee as a percentage of what we win. If we don't win, we don't take any money or bill you. If you were injured in California and are looking to pay for your medical bills and be paid for your pain and suffering, call The Lions Injury Lawyers today for a free consultation.

Going With a "Local" Attorney: Pros and Cons

After a car accident in which you were injured, you may wisely decide to discuss your case with an injury attorney. The benefits of talking about what happened can be great, and there really is no risk - all injury attorneys will gladly discuss your incident free of cost. But before you get on the phone, which law firm or attorney should you call? This blog post will address the pros and cons of going with a "local" attorney.

What To Look For In an Injury Attorney

Consider first that your lawyer will be your advocate, your representative. You want he or she to be familiar with all aspects of injury law where you live. If you live in California, this means the lawyer will be admitted to practice law in California. The laws regarding injuries are the same in California whether you live in San Diego or San Francisco. In this regard, the attorney who's office is down the block from where you live is not more qualified or experienced to handle your car crash if the accident happened locally. More important than geography is experience and expertise in the specific practice of injury law. Thus, if the attorney practices injury law exclusively, he or she may be more likely to be successful in handling your claim than a "generalist" attorney. This is similar to medicine. If you have a specific injury, say to your eye, you could certainly visit your primary care physician, who would be able to help you with your injury, to some extent. However, a doctor specialized in eye injuries, such as an opthamologist, would certainly have the expertise and experience to give you thorough, high-quality care. The law is similar. The more specific an attorney's practice, the more likely they are to be up to speed on that specific area of law. 

Is Local Better?

In short, no. Consider that your attorney will be corresponding with the at-fault driver's insurance company on your injury claim. Your attorney will be your advocate, fighting for your fair and reasonable recover. This is done via letter, over the phone, and if necessary, in court. The vast majority of injury cases in California, no matter where you live, will settle out of court. Your attorney will be discussing your claim with attorneys for the insurance, who may be located anywhere in the country. For example, several large insurance companies have their main offices in Georgia, Arizona, and on the east coast. Their attorneys may or may not be in California. Again, technology allows representatives from all over the country to handle the matter. Thus, whether your attorney lives hours away or down the street, his or her skill in injury law is what matters, not how close you live to the office.

Should I Meet My Attorney In Person?

This may be a surprise to many people, but often times claimants (injured people who hire an attorney) never meet their attorney in person. Why? It is simply not necessary in most cases. How is this possible? Again, technology. Your attorney's office will request all medical documents directly from your doctors. You will provide the office with photographs and any applicable documents related to your California car crash, and your attorney will go from there. There are, of course, some cases where meeting in person with your attorney may be beneficial. Some attorneys utilize Skype or FaceTime, or other live video apps, to make this possible. Your attorney should be willing to meet with you personally, but don't assume you will get a better outcome if you meet with your attorney in person. Your case comes down to the facts - and you attorney's skill in advocating your injury claim. A good injury lawyer will do this regardless of whether you meet in person.

What About Going To Court?

Most car accident cases never go to court. Court is expensive, inefficient, and takes a very long time. In the end, you are not likely, in many cases, to get more money for your injury case if it goes to court. Thus, your injury lawyer will, in many cases, be able to get you just as much money outside of court, either in pre-litigation negotiations, mediation, arbitration, or any setting prior to court. If your case goes to court, your injury attorney will make appearances on your behalf, regardless of where their office is located. Therefore, injured people are usually better off choosing an attorney who handles lots of injury cases, rather than just choosing the lawyer who has an office in town or down the road, or where the accident happened. In most cases, where the attorney's office is physically located is not important. 

The Lions Injury Lawyers represent clients throughout the state of California, from San Diego all the way to the Oregon state line. The Lions Injury Lawyers practices injury law exclusively. Wondering what your case is worth, how to proceed, or what you should be doing after a car crash? Call the Lions Injury Lawyers to discuss your car crash case with an attorney today. 

"Delayed" Car Accident Injuries

The variety of injuries you may suffer if you are involved in a car crash is expansive. There are typical injuries, such as fractures, cuts, whiplash, and neck strain. Some of these appear immediately, such as a broken bone or a laceration (cut). However, some injuries do not appear until several days or weeks after the accident. What then?

See A Doctor

The best advice is always to seek the treatment and evaluation of a qualified medical professional. Often times this means a visit to your primary care provider. However, if your health care provider is like most medical offices, getting an appointment is not easy. For many offices is Los Angeles and Orange County, which are heavy populated areas, it can take weeks and even months to get in to see your doctor. If you are frustrated with the amount of time you have to wait to see a doctor, you are actually appropriately justified in feeling that way: it is critical to your health that you see a doctor after an injury accident, especially when you cannot determine the full extent of your injuries by yourself. 

Go To Urgent Care If Necessary

If you can't get in to see your doctor, or you feel you are being marginalized and turned away with minimal "gloss-over" care at your normal doctor's office, you should go to an Urgent Care facility, even if you have to pay out of pocket. Sometimes, an established injury attorney may be able to sign a lien so you can visit an Urgent Care facility at no out of pocket cost to you. The important this is to see a doctor as soon as possible.

What If Your Injuries Only Appear Later?

"Delayed" onset injuries are common in car accidents. Why? Your body responds to trauma and high-stress environments differently than it would in other circumstances is one reason you may not feel the injury right away. Consider than after a car crash, you may be scared, worried about your vehicle, worried about the safety of your passengers or the driver of the other vehicle - the number of things you have to consider all at once is overwhelming, for anyone. Your brain can only handle so much stress. It is rare, but occasionally people who suffer even severe fractures and lacerations do not notice until hours after the accident because they are preoccupied with handling immediate concerns at the scene of the accident.

When injuries appear that you connect to the crash, you still need to seek medical attention. Your car accident attorney will be well versed in arguing on your behalf. Don't expect the insurance company to pay you for your injury unless it is appropriately documented in your medical records. The only way to do this is to see a doctor as soon as possible.

What Kind Of Injuries Are Often "Delayed?"

There is no definitive list as to which injuries that result from car accidents show up later, but the most common injuries are whiplash, concussions, sprains to the neck and back, and bruising. Every person's body reacts differently, but injuries to the "soft tissue" areas of your body, such as muscles, ligaments, and tendons, can take time to exhibit symptoms, due to the body's endorphin and adrenaline response, which tries to cover up or less pain associated with damaged tissue or bone. 

Will The Insurance Company Pay Your Medical Bills?

The answer depends on how you approach your injury and your injury claim. If you simply submit your medical bills on your own to the at-fault driver's insurance, you do not have a high chance of having your medical bills paid. Why? If you did not seek immediate treatment, they will almost always deny payment, saying there is an inexcusable "gap in treatment." At The Lions Injury Lawyers, we have seen insurance companies deny payment on medical bills that were incurred only two days after a major accident. (Of course, we fought and won, and they ended up paying. But without an attorney, the claimant would have had to pay out of pocket). A good injury attorney will make sure the insurance company pays them. Do not expect them to be paid just because you say the bills are a result of your car accident. Even if the police report says their insured is at fault, and you went to the doctor immediately, insurance companies are notorious for using a very long list of excuses for not paying medical bills.

You're Feeling The Effects of Your Crash - Now What?

You deserve to be fairly compensated for your injuries. That won't happen easily. The Lions Injury Lawyers know the ins and outs of the insurance industry's approach to injury claims, including the tricks and traps they utilize to minimize the amount of money they will pay you for your claim. Don't get taken advantage of. Even if you don't sign up with our firm, you owe it to yourself to speak with someone who has done this before. (Or, preferably, thousands of times before!) When you call The Lions Injury Lawyers, you'll speak with an attorney, not a salesperson. We are not a legal marketing firm - we don't just sign up clients and sell their files to other law firms. We will fight to get you fair compensation and make sure you don't get taken advantage of by predatory insurance adjusters. Serving all of California, including Orange County, CA, Los Angeles, CA, San Bernardino, CA, San Diego, CA, and the inland empire, we are ready to help you get what you deserve.

Just a "Mild" Brain Injury?

If there's one thing a good injury attorney is accustomed to, it is the defense or insurance companies' insistence on minimizing the significance of an injury. What you may call a broken leg, they will call a "fracture to the lower extremity." Doesn't sound so bad, does it?  But why would an insurance adjuster do this? End of the day, it is all about money. The less severe, the less life-altering the injury, the less money the insurance company will pay for your injury. But how does this play out when your brain is involved?

Unlike with a broken leg, a brain injury can be hard to see, and for all except the most specialized medical professionals, difficult to diagnose and explain. Yet for the injured person, the affects of a brain injury can be devastating. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) is somewhat helpful in explaining what a brain injury is:

"A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury -or TBI-caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. This sudden movement can cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, stretching and damaging the brain cells and creating chemical changes in the brain."

Southern California is home to millions of people, and many are driving to and from work and play throughout the day. With so many people relying on commuting on a daily basis, Southern California, particularly Orange County and Los Angeles County, is home to a large number of car accidents every day. Often times the injured person complains of symptoms commonly associated with car accidents, such as whiplash, soreness in the back and neck, and headaches. The last symptom, which can range from occasional head pain, to all encompassing and debilitating migraine headache, may be a TBI.

How will you know if you are just having a bad headache, or if you suffered a concussion or TBI? A visit with the appropriate medical professional is crucial. Usually, this means visiting your primary care physician, and then getting a referral to see a specialist. Sometimes, it can take a long time to see your primary care doctor. In this case, most law firms in California, especially in LA County and Orange County, are able to sign lien paperwork with certain doctors offices. This means the doctor will treat you, and you won't have to pay out of pocket. When your case closes, a portion of the money will go to pay for the doctor's bills. Because brain injuries can be severe and life-altering, an experience injury attorney will always make sure that access to the right doctor does not keep the client/patient from seeking appropriate care.

What Symptoms Should You Look For?

If you're worried you've experienced a concussion or TBI after a car accident (or any other type of impact that injured you), you should be aware of any of the following symptoms: headache, nausea, vomiting, vertigo (problems with balance), vision problems, fatigue, sensitivity to light and noise, numbness and a dazed or stunned sensation that reoccurs. Additionally, if you feel mentally "foggy" or slowed down, are having a difficulty concentrating and remembering, or are more forgetful and confused than normal, this may indicate that you suffered a brain injury. Emotionally, if you feel more irritable and sad than normal, or are more nervous that normal, you may have suffered a TBI. Finally, if your sleep patterns have altered, such as feeling drowsy when you normally wouldn't, are sleeping more or less than usual, and are having trouble falling asleep, these changes may indicate a brain injury.

What To Do Now?

If you suffer from any of the above-mentioned symptoms, most car accident attorneys will advise their clients to seek medical attention as soon as possible. If access to medical care is a challenge, your call to an injury attorney may make it possible for you to see the right doctor very soon, and not have to pay out of pocket. The Lions Injury Lawyers, P.C. has handled many brain injury cases for clients who have suffered concussions. When the client is unable to get appointments with their normal doctors, The Lions Injury Lawyers, P.C. are willing to sign lien paperwork so that its clients can receive immediate healthcare and not have to pay out of pocket. If you or someone you care about is concerned about a possible brain injury as the result of an accident or car crash, call the Lions Injury Lawyers, P.C. today. You will discuss your case with an attorney who has handled this type of cases, not a salesman. 

Car Accident Injuries - What's a 'Defense Medical Exam?'

If you were injured in a car accident and your case has proceeded to litigation, you may be required to attend what is called an 'independent medical examination,' or 'defense medical exam.' Under the laws of the State of California, a plaintiff can be required to undergo an examination by a doctor or the Defendant's choice.

Why Does The Plaintiff Have To Attend A 'Defense Medical Exam?'

If you were injured and are pursuing your claim against the at-fault party or driver (the defendant), you will of course be required to explain your injuries and provide documentation. The defendant does not have to take your word for it, even if you have hospital records, doctors office records, and other medical records that document your injuries. The law allows the defense or defendant to have an "independent" doctor evaluate the plaintiff. The idea is that the defense gets a chance to have an "objective" doctor evaluate the plaintiff. Most defense attorneys and the insurance companies they represent have strong biases against doctors who treat injury patients on a lien basis, so the "independent" medical examination supposedly levels the playing field. 

There's Nothing "Independent" About It

First thing to remember is that the defense and the insurance company they represent gets to choose the doctor. These doctors are well paid by the law firm/insurance company. When you're getting paid a lot of money by a law firm, with potentially a steady stream of work coming your way, you're likely to make an evaluation that your client (the law firm and insurance company) will like. For this reason, most California injury attorneys refer to these examinations as 'defense medical exams.' They are, after all, the defense's paid doctors making an evaluation of the plaintiff's injuries. Almost without exception, the defense medical examination results in a report that minimizes the plaintiff's injuries in the eyes of the 'independent' doctor.

What Does The Defense Medical Examination Include?

The doctor conducting the exam is instructed to evaluate injuries and make a report. Thus, the doctor will be looking into injuries involved in the claim. The examination cannot include diagnostic tests, or any procedure that is painful or intrusive. Also, the exam cannot be scheduled further than 75 miles from the Plaintiff's residence. The doctor cannot be from a different specialty than those injuries included in the complaint - that is, if the plaintiff is complaining of neck and back injuries, the doctor doing the defense medical examination must be practicing in that area of medicine. A good California injury attorney will be well versed in how to approach the defense medical examination, ensuring that the Plaintiff is not taken advantage of during the defense attorneys' doctor's exam, which could result in a report that could hurt the plaintiff's case. 

The Day of the Defense Examination

If you are required to attend an independent medical examination, don't go alone. You should attend the examination with your injury attorney, or with someone from the injury law firm's staff or choosing. Don't fill out any paperwork. Remember, you're not the doctor's patient. You're there only because the law requires you to attend. Thus, you're not required to fill out any forms. The office will push paperwork on you, but your attorney will dispense of this with ease. Also, remember that the doctor is employed by the other side's attorneys. He or she is not on your side, no matter how friendly or charismatic. Don't answer any questions you don't feel comfortable answering. Some California injury lawyers will allow the plaintiff to make a brief oral accounting of the accident and injuries, while others will not. Remember that the doctor will likely generate a report that downplays the significance and seriousness of your injuries. If you were injured in a car accident, for example, the doctor may say that the injuries were not likely the result of (or caused by) the car accident, but are 'degenerative in nature.' Your injury attorney will have seen this many times before and will know how to respond.

A Few More Things To Remember

The independent medical examination can be very useful for the other side. They may, in the end, have a report that says your injuries weren't caused by their client, or that your injuries are not that bad. If you were injured in a California car accident, for example, you may be well served by seeking the counsel and representation of an attorney whose practice focuses exclusively on injury claims. These attorneys are well versed in the tricks and tactics of defense firms, and are able to respond and protect your rights to recovery. 

The Lions Injury Lawyers, P.C. represent injured clients throughout the state of California. If you were injured and it wasn't your fault, an attorney at The Lions Injury Lawyers, P.C. will gladly evaluate your case and discuss your options. Unlike most car accident law firms in California, you will be speaking with an attorney, not a salesman. Contact The Lions today to discuss any questions you might have. The Lions Injury Lawyers, P.C. maintains its main office in Orange County, California, but represents California plaintiffs in Riverside, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, San Diego - the entire state of California. 

Car Accidents 101: Call The Police?

If you've never been involved in a car accident, you are lucky. You're also probably unsure what to do if that dreaded day comes when you find yourself on the side of the road after an accident. One of the most common questions is whether you are required to call the police after a car accident. The most straightforward answer is no, you are not required by law to call the police after a car accident, although there are obvious circumstances when calling the police will be required, such as a serious accident where someone is injured.

Should You Call The Police?

If you're trying to decide whether to call the police, consider the ways in which a police report or traffic collision report might help you. For example, even if liability is straightforward (or you think it is), it is better to have the scene of the accident diagramed and explained by a uniformed officer than to rely on your memory. Also, even though you think the facts leading up to an accident or crash are beyond dispute, you never know what the other driver or drivers may say once they leave the scene. Unfortunately, many driver who cause accidents lie to their insurance agents because they don't want their insurance rates to rise. A police report will help explain what happened shortly after the accident and before the at-fault driver has the chance to worry about his or her insurance premiums rising.

What If The Police Do Not Arrive?

Sometimes, depending on the time of day, the police or highway patrol may not respond in a timely manner. Unfortunately, this happens during busy times, such as weekend evenings. However, it is still advisable to call the police and formally request that someone come out. A record of your telephone call will be taken, and your injury attorney may be able to get a copy of what was said on the telephone call. If the police or highway patrol never show up, at least you tried, and the copy of the report of you calling the police is likely to work in your favor if things become combative.

How Long Does It Take For Police To Respond?

Depending on where in California your accident happens, police may arrive within a few minutes, to a few hours after the crash. If you are in rural California and are far from a highway patrol vehicle or police station, you may have to wait. Or, if you are in a busy city, but the police are attending to more urgent matters, you may end up waiting too.

What Should I Do When I'm Waiting?

You should make sure you're safely off the roadway and out of harm's way. Do not play detective, but you should take photographs of the vehicles and the surrounding areas. If there are other people watching and you think liability may be an issue, you may want to get the contact information of these people, as they may be witnesses in the future. You should exchange insurance information with the other driver, if you feel it is safe to do so. It is not advisable to engage in lengthy conversation. Unfortunately, you don't know how the other driver will deal with the stress. Get his or her information if you feel safe doing so, and return to your car.

What If The Police Report Is Wrong?

Of the many things police officers and highway patrolman in California do right, writing detailed and accurate car accident reports is not always on the list. In fact, some officers in Orange County and Los Angeles County simply get it wrong - we see their erroneous reports frequently. We give them the benefit of the doubt, but the police report or traffic collision reports they write are sometimes misleading, inconclusive, or simply wrong. An experienced injury attorney will be accustomed to reading a California traffic incident report or a California police report, and will be able to address errors or misleading statements accordingly. And, if you were not at fault, an injury attorney who is good at his trade will be able to prove that you were not at fault. Some plaintiffs who have settled for large amounts of money almost never consulted with an attorney because they were afraid theirs was a lost case due to a faulty police report.

What Happens To A Police Report?

An experienced and successful California car accident attorney will put a police report or traffic collision report to good use. First, the attorney will usually get a copy of the report by submitting a formal request to the appropriate department. Then, his office will use it to argue on your behalf with the insurance company in order clear any disputes over liability. Finally, a good car accident attorney will use the report to show that you were injured and stated the same at the scene of the accident.

The Lions Injury Lawyers, P.C. represent injured plaintiffs throughout the state of California, including clients in Orange County, Los Angeles County, Riverside County, and San Bernardino County. Consultations with The Lions Injury Lawyers, P.C. are conducted by attorneys, not salesmen. You don't know what you don't know when it comes to dealing with a California car crash, and what you don't know can hurt your ability to recover. Call (949) 329-5000, or fill out this form to discuss your case today.

Your Injury Claim: Understanding Pre-Litigation and Litigation

The different terms to explain the varying stages of a personal injury case can be confusing and misleading. If you're wondering where your case is at present, and when it is likely to conclude, you may have heard the terms 'pre-litigation,' 'settlement,' and 'litigation.' But the difference between these terms may not be clear to you. This blog post will help explain the stages of a typical California injury claim.

Pre-Litigation

After an injured person contacts the at-fault party's insurance, a claim is opened, and the "case" is in the pre-litigation stage. Law firms and injury attorneys refer to your matter as a "case," but that does not mean that your matter is in court. In the pre-litigation stage, the parties exchange information freely and without guidance or regulation from the court. Lawyers are, of course, guided by ethics requirements of the State Bar of California, and insurance companies are required to act within the Insurance Code, but there is not judge or jury presiding over the process. This is important to understand because the claim is not on a timeline, meaning the pre-litigation process might last from as short as a day or a few days, to over a year. That's not to say there is no limit to how long it can last. In California, injured claimants are required to file their claim with the court within two years of the date of the accident. After two years, the claimant cannot claim recovery in court. In short, if you don't file a lawsuit in court within two years, you're not going to be able to recover financially for your loss, no matter how grave your injuries. This is called the Statute of Limitations. Again, in California, the Statute of Limitations is two (2) years. If you remember anything of the rules that govern your case, remember this: you must protect your right to recovery by filing a lawsuit in the appropriate court within two years of your loss.

Settlement

During the pre-litigation stage, the insurance company that insures the at-fault driver (the person who caused the accident) may offer to settle your claim. They may offer you whatever amount they determine is reasonable. There is no judge or jury to determine whether the offer is fair. For example, if you were injured in a car accident and broke your leg, you may have large medical bills, been out of work for some time, and unable to walk for months. But if the driver who hit you was insured by GEICO, you may get a call from a GEICO claims adjuster who says he wants to make it right and offer to settle. He may offer you $5 or $500, and tell you that all you have to do is sign a release and they'll give you a check that same day, no questions asked. Of course, that's a ridiculous amount of money for anyone with that kind of injury to settle for, but there are no parameters within which the insurance companies must offer a specified amount. If you accept, you cannot ask for more money in the future.

Because many people are unaware of how California injury claims work with insurance companies, many claimants assume that the small amount of money (say $500) is to cover immediate expenses, and more money is available in the future. This is not the case. Insurance companies do not incrementally distribute settlement money. Sometimes, they will simply send you a check that says on the bottom something to the effect of "for full and final settlement of his/her injury claim." If you cash the check, you're done: you cannot get more money in the future. Need more treatment? Expecting to have surgery soon? Rehabilitation therapy required? It will not matter, and you cannot recover more money at a later date. For this reason, all claimants should be exceedingly cautious when signing any documents with insurance companies, or cashing any checks. A short consultation with an injury attorney may save you a lot of money!

Settlement means you agree to accept money in exchange for waiving your right to future recovery. That is, the insurance company will give you a check, and by cashing that check, you agree not to sue their insured in court. If at a later date you feel that the amount of the settlement was not enough, you cannot file a lawsuit, and if you do, it is likely to be thrown out of court. If, however, you reach a fair and reasonable settlement within two years of the date of your California car accident, you do not need to file a lawsuit to get your money. A good California personal injury lawyer will make sure the insurance company issues the check and all the required paperwork is acceptable and in your best interest - all of this, of course, before the two year mark.

Litigation

If you are not able to reach a settlement agreement, litigation may be necessary. This means you file a lawsuit against the person who caused your injury. Sometimes this means filing a lawsuit against several different people or entities, such as a driver who was driving a work vehicle at the time of the accident - you would file a lawsuit against the individual and the entity he or she was working for. Filing a case in court can be tricky, and consulting with an injury attorney is highly advisable. 

Once the case is filed, attorneys on both sides will exchange information and paperwork regarding the case. Your case will be put on the court calendar, and a court date for your trial will be chosen. Due to high volume, court dates are often 18 months to over two years out. During that time, your attorney will work towards a fair and reasonable settlement. This means your case may never go to trial. From your perspective as a claimant, you won't have to go to court, and your attorney will handle the necessary paperwork. Nobody wants to go to court - not you, not the attorneys on the other side, and not the person who caused the accident.

Litigation can be costly for all parties involved, and if your case goes to trial, costs can rise quickly. Fortunately for plaintiffs, most injury attorneys cover all costs up front, meaning your case will go forward without you having to pay out of pocket. In the end, the costs come out of your award or settlement, but at least you don't have to pay out of pocket to seek fair compensation for your injury. Once litigation closes, you are likely to receive a check to compensate you for your losses, including payment towards your medical bills and money for your pain and suffering. This is assuming you win. An experience car accident attorney will be able to give you a good evaluation of your case and the likelihood of success.

If you were injured by the negligence of someone else, The Lions Injury Lawyers P.C. are eager to speak with you and discuss your claim. All consultations are free of charge. The Lions Injury Lawyers represent injured persons throughout the state of California, including residents of Orange County, Los Angeles County, San Bernardino and Riverside Counties, and San Diego County. To speak with a lawyer at The Lions Injury Lawyers, call (949) 329-5000, or visit their website at www.TheLionsLawyers.com to fill out information regarding your injury.