What to Do If You Are Hospitalized as a Result of an Accident?
When you drive by the scene of a car accident, don’t be surprised to see an ambulance with paramedics providing medical attention to those involved. Between 2010-2011, an average of 3.9 million people went to the emergency room each year for “motor vehicle traffic injuries,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The rate of hospitalization was highest for people ages 16-24, followed by ages 25-44, 0-15, 45-64, and 65 and older. Of all auto accident victims that are hospitalized each year, nearly 43% are transported by ambulance. Further, car accident victims are more likely to undergo x-rays and CT scans than people in the emergency room for other reasons.What to Do If You Are Hospitalized as a Result of an Accident
Unfortunately, many accidents require injured parties to be hospitalized for a period of time to help them recover from their injuries. Whether the hospitalization period is days, weeks, or months, it is important to know what to do if your injuries were caused by the negligent actions of another person, such as drunk driving or texting while driving.
Of course, the main concern should be your or your family member’s well being and to ensure that everything is being done to help the recovery process. However, the injured party may quickly start accumulating medical bills, miss time from work, and could be physically or mentally impaired for the rest of his or her life. With that being said, it is important to be cognizant that if someone caused you to be injured, you may be entitled to compensation for both your tangible and intangible losses.
Below are considerations if you or a loved one has been hospitalized following an auto accident:
- Follow your doctor’s advice: It is always extremely important to listen to the doctor and do what he or she advises. For starters, failure to do so could impede the recovery process and cause you to suffer further injury. In addition, not following instructions could damage your claim against the at-fault party. Many times, non-compliance with medical recommendations leads to more severe injuries and prolongs the healing process.
- Document your injuries: In order to document the extent of your injuries, visual aids can be persuasive. Taking pictures of bruising, scarring, stitches, swelling, and other physical injuries can be useful in documenting the damages done to your body.
- Openly communicate with your doctor: When assessing a new patient, doctors typically ask patients questions regarding the mechanism of the injury, how they are feeling, and any of their symptoms. It is important to be open and honest about how you are feeling. This will allow a doctor to provide his or her best medical care. Depending on the extent of your injury and your symptoms, your doctor may take you off work or provide restrictions until you can make a full recovery. Since lost wages are an element of damages in your car accident case, make sure you keep track of time missed and work excuses provided by the doctor.
- Keep a file: If you are hospitalized as a result of an accident, it is important to begin documenting your accident as soon as it takes place. Write down the names of the insurance companies involved, claim numbers, adjuster information, and receipts for out of pocket losses like prescription expenses.
- Do not sign a medical release with the insurance company or provide a recorded statement without the advice of a lawyer: In all states, drivers should carry insurance to compensate you for their wrongs. If the other driver had no insurance, you may be able to make an uninsured motorist claim. However, beware of insurance adjusters making contact with you following the accident, as they do not owe you the same legal and ethical duties that your lawyer would owe you. For instance, they may try to obtain admissions from you that are damaging to your case. Avoid recorded statements or in-person interviews with any insurance adjusters, employees, or representatives of the other driver or your own carrier before consulting with your own attorney. Our car accident attorneys regularly guide injured victims through recorded statements and the investigative phase of their case.
- Consult legal representation: If you have not already done so, it is highly advisable that you retain legal counsel. A dedicated personal injury attorney will be able to evaluate your claim and guide you through the complexities of your case, from start to finish. As with anything in life, experience trumps most everything. An experienced personal injury lawyer will be able to thoroughly identify the strengths of your case, ensure all proper legal procedures are executed, hire the necessary experts to prove your damages, and negotiate for all elements of compensation to which you may be entitled.
Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz is a large regional personal injury law firm. Each and every day, we fight for the rights of those injured in communities throughout Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri, and Kentucky, including Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville, Chattanooga, Jonesboro, Little Rock, Jackson, Meridian, Tupelo, Columbus, Grenada, Starkville, Oxford, Hayti, and Caruthersville. To speak with a car or truck wreck lawyer today, call us toll-free at 800-529-4004 or complete our online form. We look forward to showing you why NST is the way to go.