What you should do for your lawsuit after an accident
Be sure to keep all doctor and therapy appointments and be on time. Every time you visit a doctor, tell the doctor where you have pain, even if you told your doctor many times before because your doctor will record your statements on your medical record for that day. The insurance company will only offer a settlement based upon your medical records. Every missed doctor’s and therapy appointment will damage and devalue your case. Let us know when you are no longer being treated for your injuries so we can order a copy of your medical records.
If you are injured, you must seek medical treatment if you want to be compensated for your injury. Your medical records will be the evidence used to prove your injuries and how much you are entitled to be compensated because of your accident. If you do not have insurance coverage to pay for medical treatment, let us know and we can arrange for you to receive medical treatment without having to pay out-of-pocket If you have been injured in an accident.
Keep a precise record of every out-of-pocket expense that you incur as a result of your accident. Obtain receipts for all expenditures, (i.e., taxis, prescriptions, doctors, etc.) so we can include these expenses in your case. If in doubt about any particular expense, keep a record of it and forward a copy to us.
If you are employed and have lost time from work (you don’t have to be injured while working on the job), you must notify your employer immediately and give your employer a “Notice and Proof of Claim for Disability Benefits” form. You must have your doctor fill out the claim form and then give it back to your employer within 20 days of the accident to file with their disability insurance carrier.
If your accident occurred while you were working for an employer or during paid company time, please let us know immediately. Your medical bills will then be paid by workers’ compensation insurance.
SOCIAL WEBSITES & EMAIL
Many attorneys ask their clients to close their Facebook and other social media accounts. Some attorneys will not agree to represent clients unless they agree to close their accounts. We do not ask our clients to close their Facebook and other social media accounts but we do ask that you do not write about your accident or post photos of your accident on your social accounts.
You MUST NOT delete any Facebook (or other social websites) entries or photos or any e-mails in which you write about your accident. Until your case is finished, you should not use any social website to post any photos or write about your accident. Also, do not write about your accident in any e-mails if you are using a shared computer or a computer or cell phone that’s used for business. You most likely will not have a legal expectation of privacy, even on your home computer, and photos of you can be used to show that your injury is not a serious injury.
An e-mail sent from your private e-mail account through a company server is not privileged and even an email sent from a home computer can be held not to be privileged.
If you are receiving Medicare, Medicaid, SSD, SSI, Social Security, or any other benefits, please let us know immediately so we can protect your benefits when you receive money for your claim. Your settlement money can be put into a trust which will allow you to spend the money and continue to receive public benefits.
If you have Medicare and your lawyer does not find out until your case is settled, it can delay your settlement by 6 months. If you go on Medicare while your case is still open, you should notify us immediately.
Medicare will put a lien on your case but they are only entitled to the money which was paid for your medical treatment. Many accident lawyers just pay the Medicare lien when your case is settled. Some personal injury lawyers have someone in the office to track the liens and separate the non-injury treatment. We use an outside law firm that specializes in tracking and negotiating Medicare liens.
The law firm we use to track and reduce Medicare liens does an amazing job and we frequently settle cases where our client has paid $0 back to Medicare or small amounts such as $1600. We never know what the amount will be but it’s always a lot less than we expected.
If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, you should know that it will severely impact your accident case. If you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you will give up your claim entirely, including any entitlement to payment of future medical expenses. If you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the trustee can still take control of your case and hire a new lawyer to represent you to make sure creditors get paid in full.
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Philip L. Franckel, Esq. is one of the HURT911® Dream Team™ Founding Partners at 1-800-HURT-911® New York; He has a 10 Avvo rating; Avvo Client’s Choice with all 5-star reviews; Avvo Top Contributor; and a former Member of the Board of Directors of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association.
Robert Plevy, Esq. is one of the HURT911® Dream Team™ Founding Partners at 1-800-HURT-911® New York. Rob began his legal career in 1993 as an Assistant Corporation Counsel defending The City of New York against personal injury lawsuits.