By any measure, car accidents are disruptive events. The mildest impact can at least slow down your day and add immeasurable stress to the rest of the day's events—even a fender bender can get us out of sorts. A serious car accident can disrupt your life for weeks, months, even years.
In fact, severe car accident injuries—concussions, skull or spinal fractures, organ damage, neck injuries—can affect you for the rest of your life.
It's those kinds of injuries we want to address in today's blog. Plenty of personal injury lawyers will urge you to call them immediately following a car accident, and for good reason: the strongest evidence you'll need for your case is time-sensitive, so the sooner you gather it, the better. However, does that mean filing a lawsuit as soon as possible is a good idea?
An experienced lawyer would tell you (emphatically) "No." Here's why:
Insurance companies, whether they're paying you a settlement or a court-ordered amount, will calculate your needs based on the evidence at the time. So if you file immediately, you'll receive compensation for your current injuries (backed by medical documents) at the moment you file.
If you later find out that you have a permanent disability that costs you far more than your settlement originally accounted for, you're out of luck. You can't sue your insurance company again for the same accident. It's why accident victims should be suspicious when an insurance company is being seemingly generous early in a case. They probably know your injuries are more costly than you realize.
An attorney will respond to the specific needs of your case, but when it comes to serious injuries, you'll need to adopt a "wait and see" approach. Get as much treatment as possible. Heal from your injuries, follow your doctor's orders, and invest in physical therapy. Your lawyer will document your medical costs, but once you're declared "permanent and stationary," then you get ready to file.
Permanent and stationary essentially means you're as healed as you're going to be with current medical technology. This ensures that any permanent injuries you might have are included in your claim.
Patience, especially when you're facing an uncertain situation, is harsh and difficult. But when it comes to car accidents, it's necessary for your lifelong health and for securing actual justice.
If you end up speaking to an attorney, ask them when they would file your claim and why. The answer could help you find the "right" attorney—someone who will look out for your needs long-term.