“Why isn't my auto accident injury case worth more?”

Personal injury attorneys are asked this all the time.   I recently had a client, let’s call him Will, ask: “My back was killing me for several months, why isn’t my personal injury claim worth more?”

Here is some background on Will’s case.  He was rear ended last year and was rushed to the hospital immediately after the accident.  The seat he was in snapped back and Will thought that he had been knocked out.  His neck and back were both hurting quite a bit.  The emergency room ran up a pretty good bill because they did a CT scan.  Will thought he had a concussion and was dazed.

Will checked out of the ER with soft tissue injuries, some prescriptions for a muscle relaxer, and some pain medicine.  He was also instructed to go to a follow-up doctor if he was still having neck and back pain.

After missing work for a few days, Will decided he could “tough it out” and went back to work, but his neck and back still gave him trouble.  He was in a lot of pain at work and around the house. Two months later, Will’s back is still bothering him, but he’s a tough man and doesn’t bother going to a doctor.  Mind you, the ER doctor had instructed him to go a follow-up doctor if he was still hurting.

Will called me about seven months after the accident.  His neck and back had finally healed and he was curious as to why the insurance company hadn’t called him and offered to settle his personal injury claim.

The case has since settled for a reasonable amount.  At the time though, Will was a little frustrated because he wasn’t able to get compensated for any pain and suffering for the three months that his back was bothering him.

Moral of the story: Go to a doctor if you are hurt! If the pain lingers after initial treatment, don’t try to tough it out; go to the doctor for additional care until the injury is healed.  Insurance companies, understandably, look at personal injury victim’s medical records closely for proof of an injury.