The most important things you can do in a personal injury claim is first making sure that the police are called to the scene of any accident and issue a police report. Secondly, you need to seek prompt medical attention for any injuries no matter how slight, or severe, and make sure that all injuries no matter how slight, or severe are accurately, and completely reported to all healthcare providers.
Most of the time, it is the emergency room providers that you are reporting your medical concerns to. The third most important thing is following up on any medical care after the initial attention has been provided to you. If you do not follow up on any medical care, then your case might fall apart quite quickly. I would say the last most important thing to do is to report the personal injury to your own insurance company for receipt of benefits from the no-fault insurance policy in a consistent fashion with the way you reported the injury to the police and any healthcare providers.
The most common tactics that insurance companies use to avoid paying out on a personal injury insurance claim, is they will say your condition is pre-existing, because you have stated at some time in the past, in medical records that you were injured, or had a similar type of injury prior to the accident. Another common defense that insurance companies use is that the injury you complain of is not connected to this accident. They do this when you do not completely report all of your injuries, or you do not accurately report your injuries immediately after the initial accident, and there are gaps in your medical treatment.
When they bring that defense up with a lack of causal connection between the injuries that you are complaining of, and the accident, and missed treatments, they are trying to prove that your injuries were not related to this accident, or there were no injuries from this accident. Another common defense they will use is that the nature of the accident could not have caused the nature of your injuries. That is commonly stated when the collision between the two vehicles produces what is perceived as minor property damages, yet the passengers or the drivers of the vehicles involved make claims that appear to be proportionately larger than the actual property damage. Probably the last common defense we see in our practice is along the lines that the medical care provider has not provided a sufficient opinion that connects the automobile accident to the injuries claimed. In other words, many of these cases the healthcare providers do not render or have a proper opinion that allows you, and your personal injury claim to connect the physical injuries to the actual accident.
Therefore, you do not have the medical experts to back you in your case, and that can be a difficult issue to overcome. If the healthcare providers you visit do not relate those injuries to the accident, then if the defense does not have their own physician relating those same injuries, it is a difficult defense to overcome.
The most helpful information for filing a claim is a list of all the healthcare providers that you had prior to the accident, and a list of healthcare providers you are now seeking due to the accident. That will allow the attorney to research past medical care, versus post-accident medical care. Other information that the lawyer will often need is the insurance declaration page, which sets forth the policy limits for the vehicle you were driving at the time of the accident, and a complete copy of the insurance policy. These documents will assist the lawyer in knowing how much insurance might be available in the claim, and what types of claims need to be filed.
Most settlements result in the medical bills covered by the insurance companies involved in the settlement, or by the insurance company, that has already paid some of the settlement for all medical bills through the no-fault system. A good lawyer will make sure that the settlement takes care of all medical bills before, or at the time that the money is disbursed. In virtually all of the settlements we have handled, the medical bills are covered by the settlement along with additional compensation beyond that.