If you’ve been injured in a South Dakota accident, the first steps you take can make a big difference in the outcome of your case. Here are ten tips to help you receive fair compensation for your injuries.
1. Seek immediate treatment
Paying attention to your health should be your top priority. This isn’t the time to “tough it out” and hope that you’ll amazingly heal. The best thing you can do for you and your family is to immediately get good medical treatment for your injuries. Getting treatment also shows that you’re taking the process seriously.
2. Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions
Once you seek treatment, follow your healthcare provider’s instructions so that you can make the quickest recovery. If your doctor tells you to go to physical therapy – do it. If you visit a chiropractor – follow the treatment plan. Also, don’t stop treatment the minute you start to feel better – follow your healthcare provider’s instructions and see the treatment through to the end.
3. Don’t rush to settle your claim
You may have already been contacted by an insurance company trying to settle your case. In most cases, it doesn’t help you to settle your claim right away. You may be more seriously hurt than you thought or your medical bills are greater than expected. Settling your case quickly doesn’t allow you to be fully compensated for your damages.
4. Don’t provide a statement to the insurance company
If an insurance company contacts you after the accident, don’t make any statements about the accident, your health, or whether you’ve been seeing any healthcare providers. These statements will likely be recorded. Politely tell the insurance company "thank you." Then tell them that you don’t want to make any statements and that you don’t want any call back. One way to stop these conversations with an insurance company is to hire a lawyer. Your lawyer will stop the insurance company from contacting you.
5. Don’t sign any medical authorization forms at the insurance company’s request.
The insurance company may ask you to sign and return a “medical authorization form.” This form allows the insurance company to get your medical records. Sometimes, these forms are written in a way that allows the insurance company to obtain all of your medical records - not just the records relating to your accident.
6. Start a file for your case
Make sure to keep every document related to your case, including police reports, medical bills, and lost wages.
7. Be completely honest
Always be honest when it comes to dealing with your injury claim. Be honest with your lawyer, your doctor, your therapist, the insurance company, and the opposing lawyer. Nothing can destroy your case quicker than being caught in a lie.
8. Don’t exaggerate your injuries
Don’t play games when it comes to your injuries. Exaggerating your injuries gives the insurance company a reason to be skeptical. Honesty is always the best policy.
9. Know your sources of insurance coverage
In many cases, you can collect from many different insurance policies at the same time. However, many people don’t know where to look for these insurance policies. Your attorney can help you understand whether you can collect from more than one policy.
10. Hire an experienced law firm
Your lawyer will deal with the insurance company and pilot you through the complicated process of personal injury litigation. Studies have shown that you’re far more likely to end up with a fair settlement if you hire a lawyer to help you with your case.