Why Do Insurance Companies Fight Car Accident Cases So Intensely?
Let’s imagine you are in a car accident where you are hit from behind. You suffer an injury, maybe go to the emergency room, and then to therapy for weeks afterwards. There is no doubt the car behind you is at fault, and no doubt that you suffered injury. So why are so many car accident cases hotly challenged by insurance companies? Why are insurance companies so hesitant sometimes to pay anything to a car accident victim?
Personal Injury Protection
The answer lies in the law of personal injury protection (PIP). You may know PIP as the insurance that pays you for medical expenses or lost wages after an accident, regardless of fault. By avoiding having to prove who caused an accident, PIP is designed to be a quick and efficient way for you to obtain insurance benefits to help you recover if you’ve been injured in an accident.
But there’s a hidden trade-off: PIP law also requires, if you are injured in a car accident and you sue the negligent driver, that you not only prove that you have an injury, but that your injury be “permanent and severe.” If not, you can only get actual, out-of-pocket damages—not pain and suffering, inconvenience, emotional trauma, or anything that isn’t a hard, tangible monetary loss.
That means that if you have a minor injury, or even a major one that completely heals, you won’t be awarded significant damages in your accident case against the other driver. The good news is that permanent doesn’t necessarily have to be severe; if you have a lingering pain or small loss of range of motion that is not expected to get better, the injury may be minor, but it is still permanent, and thus you will meet the PIP injury threshold.
The Importance of Medical Treatment
This is where insurance companies contest car accident cases. They may admit that their insured driver caused the accident. They may admit you were injured. They just won’t admit that your injury is permanent or severe enough for you to legally recover any significant damages.
One way to show a jury that you have suffered a permanent injury is by getting medical treatment up to the time your doctor does not anticipate that your condition will improve.
Unfortunately, this is where many car accident cases are lost. Victims, often tired of seeing doctors, needing to get back to work, and not feeling that their pain will ever go away, stop seeking medical treatment.
This creates a problem. If you stop getting treatment, your medical records won’t reflect that you have suffered a permanent injury, and your doctor, if needed to testify, won’t be able to give an opinion you have suffered a permanent injury. This is why it is so important not to stop seeing your medical providers, and for you to follow up with any recommended doctor visits or procedures.
If you are in a car accident, contact Tampa injury law attorneys at the Pawlowski//Mastrilli Law Group for a help and advice about obtaining damages for your injuries.