Checklist. Survival Guide. Property Damage

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1 Property Damage Your physical recovery should be your top priority! Get your car out of storage immediately. Insurance companies do not reimburse for these costs. Work with the system to get your car repaired correctly the first time. Document! Document!! Document!!! Take digital photos of all damaged cars, yours and theirs, and the accident scene. Understand the terms total loss and market value. Negotiate in person. Know your consumer rights. If injured, immediately find and hire the best personal injury attorney. 19

2 Understanding Insurance Coverages Know your insurance policies! Be innovative when seeking additional coverage. Prioritize and stack insurance policies. Document! Document!! Document!!!. Investigate and obtain proof of liability early. Ask for HELP!! Identify the key players and give them what they need. Be politely persistent, disciplined and determined. If seriously injured, immediately hire the best personal injury attorney you can. 41

3 Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Always purchase PIP coverage. Start and use your PIP immediately after a collision. Don t hesitate to use your PIP coverage. Learn how to open your PIP claim.. Make sure to get all of your treatment and diagnostic testing before PIP expires. Submit every medical bill to PIP for full payment. Plan your settlement negotiation strategy so that you re not forced to settle out of financial desperation. Never attend a PIP requested medical exam without an attorney. If seriously injured, immediately hire a personal injury law firm. 55

4 The Perils of Handling Your Own Claim Look before you leap self representation isn t for everyone. Honestly assess whether you have the time, temperament and talent for self representation. If you decide to represent yourself, understand that you will be held to the same standards of preparation and professionalism as an attorney. Write out a statement covering how the collision occurred, your injuries, treatment and wage loss, and always stick to it. Quick settlements are rare; prepare to negotiate. All cases require extensive organization and document management. Know when to ask for help. Know the warning signs that earmark your case for negotiation difficulties. Consult with an attorney early to determine your case needs. 83

5 Finding the Right Attorney Understand that personal injury law is a specialty. Only consider an experienced PI attorney to handle your case. Be proactive in your search. Look for a legal team that has a history of winning. Ask about their batting average. Trust your gut instinct when deciding to add an attorney to your team. Only meet with an attorney whose initial interview is free. Engage a firm that requires no money up front. Put in the time and effort in the beginning to establish a good working relationship with your attorney. Hire a law firm with a department dedicated to disseminating medical information to your providers and getting your bills paid promptly. Clarify your expectations and begin relying on your attorney for sound, experienced advice. 109

6 Managing Your Medical Care Survival Guide Managing Your Medical Care Determine if your attending physician will become the lead provider. Build a medical team with your attorney s guidance. Coordinate your treatment and diagnostic testing with your insurance benefits. Make sure all your bills are paid by PIP. Remember that your physical recovery must be your top priority. Be a good patient. If not improving, seek alternate care. Be involved in the management of multiple providers. Participate with your medical team to insure full physical and financial recovery. Ask family and friends for their help and support. Don t consider settlement until you have reached MMI. 133

7 Proving Longlasting Impacts From an Accident Speak up if you think you have suffered an invisible head injury. Know the warning signs of emotional distress and depression. Review the Depression. Emotional injuries require immediate treatment also. Do not delay! If seriously injured add a personal injury attorney to your team early. Document everything as it occurs to make your claim more manageable. Ask your employer for help when documenting the impact of the collision on your ability to work. Communicate the effects of the collision on your personal life. 159

8 Strategies Attorneys Use To Resolve Cases Assist in the collection of all records, bills and photos. Participate in the preparation of witness statements and expert reports. Hire the best P.I. attorney you can find if your claim is too large for you to handle effectively. Work closely with your legal team in developing your demand package. Communicate often and clearly. Know the litigation indicators that will send your case to court. Keep your sense of humor. Make your physical recovery your top priority. Let your legal team stress about the details. Appreciate that settlement is a compromise. 189

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