Recognizing Your Injuries : You will not be compensated for special and general damages unless you can prove your injuries and monetary losses due to an auto accident or other incidents involving negligence. There two types of injuries – those that are immediately visible and others which are called “invisible injuries” since they are not immediately apparent, such as soft tissue injuries.
Visible Injuries.These are injuries that show up on an imaging study such as an x-ray, MRI or CAT scan. This is one way to prove your injuries.
Invisible Injuries. These are injuries that are not evident from an imaging study, but they can still be proven to show damages. These are typically referred to as soft tissue injuries. Soft tissue injuries are sprains, strains or tears of the ligaments, cartilage, muscles and non-bony areas of your body. There are three ways these soft tissue injuries manifest.
Typically, a muscle spasm occurs at or near the site of the soft tissue injury and is a clear indication that there has been an injury.
In some cases there will be swelling at or near the site of the injury, and this is another clear indication of an injury.
A limited range of motion in an injured body area, such as your neck, shoulder(s) or back, are another clear indication of an injury.
Initiating the Personal Injury Process. Once you recognize any signs of an injury, call Seifer, Murken in San Francisco and let us assist you in the process. The process entails contacting the other party’s driver’s or home owner’s insurance company to inform it of the automobile accident or other incident and the injuries you have sustained.
What To Do If the Other Party’s Insurance Company Contacts You. If the other party’s insurance company contacts you following the automobile accident or other incident do not volunteer any information. Sometimes insurance companies want you to provide a statement that it will record. DO NOT GIVE RECORDED STATEMENTS TO THE OTHER PARTY’S INSURANCE COMPANY!
Gathering Information about the Accident or Incident. The process entails obtaining witness statements about how the accident or incident occurred, who might be responsible for it, and whether there are other witnesses to what occurred. The process also involves obtaining all of your medical records and billings. If you are treated with a health care professional for any extended period, the process will include obtaining a written report from the health care professional that details your injuries, pain, discomfort, limitations, prognosis, and any need for future medical treatment. The process additionally involves obtaining a verification of your lost income or wages, if you have lost time from your employment due to your injuries.
Preparing a Demand Letter. After we compile all of this information, we draft a comprehensive demand letter that we send to the insurance company of the person who caused your injuries – or who owns the property or animal which injured you. The demand letter includes the following:
all your medical records and medical billings for the treatment you received for injuries due to the incident;
proof of your wage or income loss;
witness statements favorable to your case;
a settlement offer to resolve your personal injury case.
Settling Your Case. The demand letter may result in a settlement, in which we negotiate a favorable settlement for your damages. This may occur if the insurance company accepts our initial offer, or the company may come back with a counteroffer, and then we can negotiate to obtain the best settlement we can. You can determine if you approve the initial offer or negotiated offer or not. We consult with you and advise you about what type of settlement is likely. If the case resolves with a settlement, there is no further need for action. Most insurance claims cases are resolved in this way.
Filing a Lawsuit. If the case does not result in a settlement, a lawsuit must be filed and your case is then in litigation. Ideally, the case can be settled without a lawsuit, since litigation can be time consuming and frustrating. Often times it is an insurance company’s way to get you to break and give up. (At Seifer, Murken the costs for the lawsuit, including filing fees and expert costs are advanced by the firm, and you will owe the firm nothing unless the firm obtains a recovery for you).