After an accident, your health and well-being need to be your top priority. However, it cannot be your only priority. Visiting a chiropractor and speaking with a car accident lawyer soon after an accident can uncover latent injuries, improve your prognosis, and help to protect your legal rights. At Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman, P.C., we help clients in New York and New Jersey navigate these first steps based on our firm’s four decades of experience representing injury victims.
Deciding whether to visit a chiropractor
Chiropractors use alternative treatments like spinal adjustment to align the musculoskeletal system, based on the understanding that proper alignment will allow the body to heal itself. The treatments can reduce pain and help speed healing in the joints, muscles, and connective tissues like ligaments, tendons, cartilage.
Your first stop should be an emergency department if you have an obvious injury like a broken bone or severe lacerations. If your injuries are not an immediate emergency, like sprains, strains, soreness, or bruising, a chiropractor may be a good choice.
Even if you are not aware of any injuries, an early visit, within the first 48 hours after the accident, is important. Like whiplash and other soft-tissue injuries, some injuries are not noticeable right away—but manifest over time. A professional can spot these signs before you notice them, allowing you to treat them sooner and often experience faster and more complete healing.
Keep records of your chiropractic visits
Records from your chiropractor appointments help you in two ways: they document the extent of your injuries and the cost of treatment. Without documentation, you may not be able to recover any compensation.
Some of the documents you should keep and provide to your attorney include:
- Complete billing information – Include the bills from all office visits as well as any other treatment. If you visited the emergency department after the accident, include that bill. If you were transported by an ambulance, keep those bills as well. It helps to gather them as they are generated so that you do not overlook any costs when negotiating a settlement or bringing your damages to a jury.
- Records of treatment – Documentation of your injuries and related treatment can validate your claim. Ideally, your chiropractor will include detailed reports of your complaints like new pain that arises after treatment has begun and diagnostic tests like MRIs. Without these records, the insurance company may claim that your injury was not as serious as claimed.
You should be able to gather many of these records as your treatment continues. However, if you run into problems or are unsure how to obtain them, a car accident attorney can issue formal requests to your medical providers.
Why hire a personal injury lawyer
If you are pursuing an insurance claim, no-fault claim, or a lawsuit, you have the right to represent yourself; a personal injury lawyer is not required, but it is a good idea. Here are some of the benefits of enlisting an experienced lawyer to fight for you.
- Evaluating whether an injury is “serious” – Under no-fault accident laws, you must seek reimbursement for medical expenses from your PIP policy. You cannot file a personal injury lawsuit or recover non-economic damages such as pain and suffering unless your injury qualifies as “serious” under state statute. An attorney can provide a realistic analysis of your paths to financial recovery.
- Communications – It can be stressful to field calls and letters from the other party’s insurance adjuster or lawyer, but when counsel represents you, they will handle that for you.
- Advice and analysis – Having a realistic view of your case’s strengths and weaknesses are critical. A personal injury attorney can provide an objective view of your case and how to proceed.
- Improved compensation – Having an attorney as an advocate makes it more likely that you will receive full compensation for your injuries. An attorney will also look at other factors like tax liability and payoff of liens, which could be a shock if you are unaware of the process.
- Peace of mind – Insurance claims and lawsuits are adversarial. The defendant’s representatives will criticize your evidence and present what, at times, might be misleading counterarguments. In these situations, having an experienced advocate can be comforting and help you win your case.
- Negotiation – Even if you present your strongest case, the other party will aim to settle for as little compensation as possible. They may claim you were to blame or that your injuries are worth less than they are. When you work with a lawyer specializing in accidents, they will put your interests first and fight against misleading arguments by the defense or insurance company.
Fight for the compensation you deserve after a car accident
If you have been injured in a car accident, forces will be working against you. The other party’s insurance may deny liability or the extent of your injuries. Their lawyer may try to pin the blame on you to limit how much they pay. Armed with documentation from a health care provider like a chiropractor and a strong legal advocate will level the playing field.
The car accident attorneys at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman, P.C. are proud to serve clients in and around Rockland County and Bergen County, fighting for full and fair compensation after an accident. Call today to schedule a free, confidential consultation.