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Ask The Experts – Personal Injury in Auto Collision

Posted on March 2, 2023 by

Ask The Experts – Hagen | Nares, Trial Lawyers

By Kaitlin Fleur Nares, Reunion

Does a Prior Injury Prevent Me From Having A Personal Injury Claim?

We often get asked whether a past injury will prevent someone from pursuing a personal injury claim. The answer is “no.” However, the claim will likely be more complicated because we will need to show either 1) the current injury is completely different from the past injury or 2) that a prior injury was made worse as a result of the crash.

How do we do this? By gathering prior records and comparing symptoms and diagnoses with those in the current treatment notes; by speaking with past and current treating doctors; by comparing imaging scans, etc.

Can You Recover For Mental Anguish From A Motor Vehicle Collision

Mental anguish and other types mental health damages can be sought in a personal injury claim if the claimant/plaintiff has suffered emotional or psychological harm as a result of someone else’s negligence.

Mental health damages can include compensation for the diagnosis and treatment of conditions such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, and other mental health issues.

In order to successfully claim mental health damages in a personal injury claim, the plaintiff must provide evidence that the defendant’s actions directly caused the harm.

Why  Is It So Important To Seek Medical Attention After A Collision?

After a crash, it’s important to seek medical treatment right away if you’re experiencing any pain. Why? Here are some of the main reasons:

  • To find out the extent of your injuries and diagnoses
  • To understand what future treatment you will need
  • To start feeling relief as soon as possible
  • To document when your symptoms started
  • To confirm that your injuries were caused by the crash

Do You Have A Personal Injur Claim If I was Cited But Not At Fault?

Most likely, yes. Liability is the first thing you need to prove in a personal injury case in Colorado.

Hagen Nares attorneys were recently successful in getting a liability determination reversed. A client came to us with severe injuries and stated that he was wrongfully cited for running a red light. During our investigation, we uncovered dashcam footage from another car, which confirmed that the truck driver was the one who ran the red light.

In a crash with debilitating injuries, sometimes the police aren’t able to get everyone’s side of the story at the scene.

How Do Pay Your Medical Bills?

After a crash, it’s important to stay on top of your medical bills during the recovery process. Unfortunately, the at-fault driver’s insurance does NOT pay your bills while your case is pending. This means that the payment of your medical bills is your responsibility to manage and to prevent the bills from going to collections.

Here is some helpful info on ways to do that:

  • Med pay: if you have med pay coverage on your auto policy, these are funds that we help you get right away to use toward outstanding bills, copays, and deductibles.
  • Health insurance: it may seem counterintuitive to give your health insurance info if you were not at fault in the crash. However, you should use your health insurance like you normally would, and make sure ALL your doctors have your health insurance info!
  • Minimum payment plans: some providers will allow you to set up minimum payment plans to avoid outstanding bills from going to collections. Putting the bills on a credit card is another option.
  • Provider or medical liens: some providers and medical funding companies will treat accident victims on a lien basis so you can get the treatment you need right away while your case is pending.

Is A Police Report Necessary After A Collision?

Under Colorado Revised Statute (CRS) 42-4-1606, the driver of any car involved in a crash involving injuries or property damage must immediately report the accident to the nearest police department.

There are also many benefits to calling the police after a crash that may affect your legal case!

  • Police reports are key in establishing the date, time, and location of the crash
  • Police reports can help prove who was at fault for the crash
  • Police reports will usually list witness names and contact information
  •  Police reports will include the officer’s opinions regarding vehicle speeds and causes of the crash (distracted driving, vehicle defects, driver experience, etc.)

What Info Should I get After A Collision?

Injured in a car crash and not sure what to do? Here is a list of important info to gather:

  • Photos of the other driver’s insurance info and driver’s license
  • Photos of the scene and property damage to all cars involved
  • Names and contact info for all witnesses
  • Responding officer’s card, which should have the police case number written on it and the officer’s department, title, and contact information
  • Name of the EMS/ambulance service that arrived on scene
  • Give us a call for a free and confidential case evaluation to find out if you have a case.

What Are Common Concussion Symptoms After A Collision?

Concussion and brain injuries are often overlooked in the ER following a car and truck crash. This is why it’s important to consult with a neurologist or concussion specialist immediately if you experience any of the following common concussion symptoms:

  • headaches, dizziness, and balance issues
  • neck pain and vision issues
  • brain fog, memory loss, trouble with word finding
  • irritability or changes in feeling or expressing emotions
  • trouble sleeping or sleeping too much

Should You Sign A HIPAA Release That The At-Fault Party Gives You?

Don’t sign the HIPAA release! That gives the at-fault driver’s insurance company unrestricted access to ALL your medical records, including sensitive and unrelated information!

Instead, we will gather your records and bills for you and only send the insurance company the related records that they’re entitled to in order to prove your case.

Does the At-Fault Party Have To Disclose Their Policy Limits?

Want to know how much insurance coverage the person who hit you has? The at-fault driver’s insurance company must tell you!

Colorado Law requires the insurance company to provide a claimant with a complete copy of any auto insurance policies and insurance coverage amounts that may cover them as a result of the crash within 30 days of the written request. (CRS 10-3-1117)

Insurance company not doing this? They face a penalty of $100/day until their obligation is fulfilled.

What Can Your Car’s Data Tell You About A Collision?

Depending on the year, make, and model of your car, you may have what’s called an Event Data Recorder (EDR or “black box”) that holds key information.

Following a crash we get engineering experts involved to download the EDR so that we have important information that will allow us to show the at-fault driver’s insurance or a jury how and why the crash happened. This data includes the following  evidence:

  •  Vehicle velocity change
  •  Pre-crash vehicle speed
  •  Steering Input
  •  Longitudinal Acceleration
  •  Whether Seat Belt was used

For more information, contact Kaitlin Fleur Nares, Esq.
(720) 772-8513 (call/text)
(720) 617-6488 (fax)

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