Who should I talk to about my accident or injury?
Talk to no one except your attorney and doctor. Do not talk to any insurance company representative without asking your attorney first. Insurance companies try to obtain statements in person, by telephone, or by sending out forms. Let your attorney know at once if you are contacted by anyone. This includes any discussion of your injury or case on the Internet. Think before you post pictures or notes on social media showing you engaged in activities. These may be seen by the insurance company and used against you in unintended ways.
What information might insurance companies use related to my case?
In addition to trying to obtain statements and monitoring social media, insurance companies may also obtain Fitbit or other health activity monitoring information and/or engage in traditional surveillance and videotaping showing your daily activities. They may also ask to see any diaries or journals you keep.
How often should I seek medical attention and can I change providers?
You should return to your doctors as often as you need to. Be sure to tell your doctor what your job requirements are, as well as your activities of daily life. If you see a new doctor, tell your attorney as soon as possible.
What is considered lost wages and earnings?
Any time you would have otherwise been at work were it not for your injuries will be counted toward lost wages and earnings. Keep an accurate record of all days lost from work because of your injuries. Mark a calendar at home showing each day out of work and the reason why. Also, call or write to your supervisor if you are going to be out of work.
What information will you need from me?
Obtain and keep duplicate copies of all medical, hospital, and drug bills. You should send copies of these bills to your attorney for our files. Also, keep records of any other expenses you may have in connection with your injuries. If you pay a bill, use a check or obtain and keep receipts. Make and keep a list of the costs incurred in going to your doctor. You will also need to immediately give your attorney the correct names, addresses, and telephone numbers of any and all witnesses.
Can I wait to pay my bills until I know if I’ve won my case?
If the compensation insurance company contests your medical bill, have your own group health insurance carrier or Medicare pay as many hospital and doctor bills under the provisions of your policy as possible. Doctors and hospitals are more cooperative when their bills are paid. You should not expect them to wait until your case is tried or settled to receive payment. You should pay any balance as soon as possible. If workers’ compensation has already assumed the responsibility, let them pay. Inform the doctor or hospital if your injury happened at work or was caused by the fault of another person. In particular, if you have Medicare and workers’ compensation, have the bills sent to workers’ compensation. If they refuse to pay, Medicare becomes the secondary payer.
How often will I speak with my attorney?
Your attorney will probably not contact you until there is something definite to report. Your attorney will typically contact you when your case goes to trial or for conferences. If you have any specific questions about your case, please feel free to write or call the office where a paralegal will be able to promptly address your call. Be sure to keep your attorney advised of any change in your address or telephone number. Unfortunately, trial lawyers are rarely in their offices and, when they are, they usually are in meetings with clients to prepare for trial and are not available to take telephone calls. This means it is hard to get attorneys on the phone. Paralegals and assistants work with attorneys as a team on your files. If you call the office, you will probably speak to them. If you need to speak with your attorney, a call or office appointment will be arranged with you.
Should I tell my employer if I’ve been injured or am ill as a result of my job?
The law requires you to tell your employer immediately upon learning you have been hurt or ill on the job. If you have not done so yet, do it immediately.
What if I get hurt again on the job?
If you should have a new accident or recurrence of your old injury, report it to your supervisor immediately. Get names of witnesses and let your attorneys know right away. A new claim may have to be filed in writing.
My case is still pending and I need money. What do I do?
Despite your attorney’s best efforts, it may be a long time before a decision is made on your case. If you are out of work with no money coming in, you may have to try other sources:
- Apply for sick pay or disability leave from your employer
- If you have a mortgage or loans, you may have disability insurance, which will cover these payments – ask your bank, loan company, or insurance company if you have disability insurance, waiver of premium insurance, etc.
- You may qualify for welfare assistance or food stamps. Don’t be proud. It’s not your fault you are out of work.
- You may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. Ask at the Social Security office or ask your attorney to help you file a claim.
- You may be entitled to VA or Soldiers and Sailors Fund
What’s my first step?
Please call to make an appointment before coming to your attorney’s office to discuss matters.