We all know who is paying for the defense in civil lawsuits: major insurance companies. Despite the catchy jingles that you hear on tv, these players are anything but a good neighbor, ensuring that you are in good hands on a quest to save you money. These behemoths are profit driven monstrosities who seek to pad their bottom lines by doing one thing: denying injured parties just and reasonable compensation. The fact of the matter is that the value of your injury in the eyes of an insurance company is dictated by a computer algorithm that spits out settlement values based upon information input into a computer system by a high-school educated insurance adjuster. It has nothing to do with you as a person. No amount of explaining it in words will do. Plain and simple, your value, your time, your injury, your pain, it’s all a numbers game to the insurance companies and its all based on what is written in your medical records.
Put simply, if your injury is not documented, it does not exist. If you do not seek treatment from a healthcare provider within a reasonable period of time after your accident, or if you fail to treat consistently or perhaps at all, the insurance company evaluating your claim will assume that because your injury clearly was not of the type and magnitude to require repetitive medical attention, it must not have been that bad. It does not matter if you, like the majority of people, are the type to self-treat first and try to simply tough it out. It doesn’t matter if you did in-home stretches while self-medicating with OTC Motrin. If it isn’t on paper, it doesn’t exist. Similarly, if, you are in the course of a treatment plan with a provider, and you simply stop going, miss several appointments, or fail to treat consistently, the insurance carrier will again interpret your actions as the defining benchmark for the value of your claim. Simply put, if it’s not on paper, it has no value.
In our practice, we never recommend that our clients seek treatment that is not necessary, nor do we ever recommend that anyone ever go to a physician when they are clearly free of pain. However, if you are hurt, experiencing any kind of symptoms brought about by the accident you were involved in, it is imperative that you seek treatment, and seek it quickly. You only get one shot at your case. There are no do-overs. If you get hurt, try to handle it on your own, only to have the liable party’s insurance company put forth pennies on the dollar, you will know why. In the world of personal injury litigation, always remember: if it isn’t on paper, it doesn’t exist.
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