It is very important that we work closely together in presenting your case. This sometimes means that we must contact one another on short notice. Therefore, it is very important that you constantly update my office as to your current address and phone numbers. Please let us know beforehand if you plan to leave town on any extended trips.
Sometimes, even though you have an attorney, the at-fault party's insurance company will send people out to talk to you or they will call you on the phone. This is highly improper but they do it anyway. Please be careful not to talk to any representatives of the at-fault driver's insurance company. If you have any doubts about who you are talking to, refer them to me. Never forget, insurance companies are in business to make money by maximizing premium income and minimizing the payment of claims. They are never on your side and can be counted on to put their own interests first. Similarly, please don't sign any documents or releases without allowing us to review them first.
You should seek the employment that your doctor says you are physically able to do. It is important to keep a record of the applications and interviews that are completed. When talking with your employer or applying for employment, you should be up-front and disclose the facts of your injury. Employers who testify that an employee never complained of any physical problems or job application forms that deny medical problems are strong ammunition that defense lawyers use against injured people.
Please let my office know about your job changes or the date that you return to work so that we can keep track of the amount of your lost earnings.
Insurance companies often have private investigators following injured people taking videos of their work or recreational activities or simply how they get in or out of automobiles. Oftentimes this surveillance takes place from a van with darkly tinted windows. Yard work is one of their favorite targets, although it is unfair to claim that one episode of yard work proves that a person had no injury,
insurance companies do this all the time. These videos can be very damaging. It is important that persons with injury claims be honest about their injuries and physical limitations with their physicians. There is certainly nothing wrong with doing what you can do under your doctor's advice however do not do more than he or she advises.
In automobile accident cases, your own PIP insurance pays 80% of your medical bills and can pay 60% of your lost wages. PIP will also pay 80% of your prescriptions and some of your mileage. The PIP insurer does not get paid back from your recovery but on the other hand, you are not allowed to recover for the amounts that have been paid to you by the PIP insurer. If a group insurer or Medicare or Medicaid makes any payments on your behalf, please let us know in writing, give us the name of the carrier and any group or claim numbers. Please understand that these healthcare providers will demand a partial repayment of any benefits out of your settlement or judgment amount.
Your personal injury protection (PIP) and/or MedPay insurance will pay first on your accident-related medical bills. It is important that you submit the unpaid portion of these bills to any individual or group health insurance that you have that might cover these expenses. It is your responsibility to work with your doctors so that they will know of all group insurance benefits for which you might qualify. If you have any questions or concerns, you can call your health insurance company for information.
If at any time, you get the feeling that your physicians are overcharging you or over treating you or are ordering too many expensive tests, please let us know. It is certainly important that you receive necessary care for your injuries, however, your final dollar recovery may be seriously reduced by unreasonably high medical expenses.
When it comes time to settle your case, please advise my office of the name, address and telephone number of any group or health insurance carrier that may have paid some of your bills. We must settle with them as well.
You and your doctors are a team with the goal of diagnosing and treating your injuries. Your part in this effort requires that you report fully, accurately and completely all problems and symptoms that you suffer as a result of the accident. It is your job to tell every doctor about every problem you have on every visit. Even if a problem is not bothering you on the day of your visit, it must be fully reported. It is sometimes helpful to tell your doctor how badly a problem interferes with your daily life and the difficulties and frustrations that you experience.
Do not minimize your problems or be afraid of looking like a "complainer." Your physician cannot adequately diagnose and treat you without complete knowledge of the nature, extent and severity of your problems.
From visit to visit, do not assume that your doctor remembers what you told him last time. Relay every problem you have on every visit to every doctor. It is also important not to discuss your feelings about or the details of your legal representation or the status of your case with the doctor. Discussions about unrelated personal problems might also damage your case.
Of course you should make sure your doctor knows that your injuries and problems were caused by an accident. Describe the accident briefly, including the severity of the trauma you suffered, but don't discuss fault.
Please try to keep all doctors' appointments. If you cannot attend please notify the physician in advance. If you are asked to see a specialist, please let my office know in advance, or if your doctor tells you to return on an "as needed" basis only. Let me know also of each new doctor you intend to see.
Doctors and staff can sometimes be very frustrating and infuriating, but it is of critical importance that you do not confront them. If you have a problem, please call me.
Oftentimes people who have been injured in accidents have had prior medical treatment to a part of their body that was then later injured in the accident. It is very important that all prior treatment to an injured area be disclosed to your physicians. It is just as important that your physicians be advised if your prior problems had ceased bothering you prior to this accident. Please also make clear to the physician how your current problems are different, either in frequency or severity, from any problems you may have had in the past.
If you have problems now for which you have never had any prior treatment, please make that clear to the physician as well.
It certainly is not unusual for injured people to become frustrated and depressed. Oftentimes people seek help from counselors or psychologists. Anything you tell such a psychologist or counselor may be admissible either for you or against you in your case. Please make sure you consult with us before seeing any psychologists or mental health professionals.
Honesty is always the best policy. Too many people have the opinion that persons who look for just compensation because of injuries caused by others are "making up" their injuries or grossly exaggerating their injuries just for money. Anytime an untruth surfaces in an injury case, it only strengthens that belief and makes it even harder to get just compensation.
Indeed, the insurance companies and big business know that they have nothing to fear from the executive branch or the legislative branch of our government based on the vast amounts of political contributions they make every year. Their only fear is of the judicial branch of the government where everyday people like you and me can go to court and make a huge difference. One lawyer and one client can force the world's biggest corporation to face up to its misdeeds and pay up for the wrongs it has done.
Please support our efforts to constantly strengthen our system of justice and make sure that individuals always have full and complete access to the courts. "Tort reform" is simply big business's way of trying to limit their vulnerability to the judicial branch of our government. I request your support in opposing any limits on our judicial system.
William M. Schneikart, Esq.