returning to work after a car accident

Can Returning to Work Too Soon Hurt Your Personal Injury Claim?

Getting back to normal after a personal injury is a time-consuming process, which is why so many people jump back into regular life before they are truly ready. Unfortunately, forcing yourself back to “normal” too soon can impact your healing and even your personal injury claim. Learn more about how to protect your personal injury claim during this transition.

Have you suffered a personal injury because of someone else’s negligence? You’re not alone. We’re here to help. Call Burns, Cunningham & Mackey at 800-574-4332 to set up a consultation.

Scrutiny from Insurance Companies

When you’re injured by someone else, your claim is typically taken over by their insurance company. This is good, because insurance companies are much more likely to have the money needed to pay out your settlement. It’s also bad, though, because insurance companies spend a lot of resources trying to avoid paying out claims.

After an injury, you can expect everything you do to be scrutinized by the insurance company. They want to find any evidence that you are not as injured as you claim, since this evidence allows them to deny a settlement completely or decrease what they are willing to pay.

This extends to your work habits. If you’re asking for lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering, but you’re back to work weeks earlier than expected, they may push back.

What Happens If You Go Back to Work Too Soon?

This is even more relevant if you go back to work earlier than your doctor explicitly recommends. If your doctor says you’ll be out of work for at least one month and you go back in one week, that isn’t just a sign that your injury is healing better than expected. It’s a sign that you don’t take your recovery seriously, and the insurance company will claim that they shouldn’t have to pay for your medical bills and expenses if you are putting your health at risk.

Of course, this is an unfair assessment—people go to work earlier than recommended because they have bills to pay and other obligations to meet. However, that is how the insurance company will look at your return to work.

Long-Term Health and Financial Effects

Not only can returning to work too early affect your settlement, it can be a serious detriment to your health. When you first return to work, you may feel physically fine and healthy. As you continue to push yourself each day, you could actually be worsening your current injuries or hindering the healing process. This might allow you to get back to work immediately, but the long-term health issues you cause could take you out of the workforce earlier than expected.

Of course, this decision also impacts your personal injury claim. If you go back to work and you suddenly stop making progress on your recovery, the insurance company will ask questions. They’ll wonder if you are hurting your chances at recovery by working, and if so, they may refuse to pay for further treatment. They might claim that they are only responsible for paying for injuries caused by their client, not injuries caused by your insistence on returning to work early.

Avoid These Issues with the Help of an Attorney

We understand that this is a tough position to be in. It is hard to be off of work and not know how your upcoming bills will be paid. However, ignoring your doctor’s advice can hurt you physically and financially. It is important to find a personal injury attorney you trust. We can help you navigate these challenging times, and we’ll fight for a prompt, full, and fair settlement that lets you meet your obligations while still protecting your health.

Contact Burns, Cunningham & Mackey Today

A personal injury can leave you with a pile of medical bills, lost income, property damage, and plenty of stress. That’s why it’s important to connect with a reliable personal injury attorney as soon as possible and start the claims process. At Burns, Cunningham & Mackey, we have extensive experience holding insurance companies accountable and fighting for our clients’ right to a fair settlement. Get started now by calling us at 800-574-4332 or contacting us online.

what is a personal injury journal?

What is a Personal Injury Journal and Why Should I Use One After a Vehicle Accident?

After you’ve suffered an injury caused by someone else’s negligence, you get a lot of advice. Suddenly, everyone and their best friend seems to know the secrets of succeeding in a personal injury claim. However, you only need a few pieces of truly reliable advice to make the most of your claim and protect your right to seek compensation.

Most of it comes down to listening to your attorney and following their advice to the letter. In addition to that, a personal injury journal can be an extremely helpful tool as you prepare for negotiations or for trial. Learn more about personal injury journals, and when you’re ready for more personalized advice regarding your claim, call Burns, Cunningham & Mackey at 251-260-3815.

What Is a Personal Injury Journal?

A personal injury journal is a journal with important information about your personal injury claim. It contains details about the accident you suffered, how it impacts your life on a daily basis, and how your injuries have limited you. When you hear the word “journal,” try not to think of a private journal some people keep. A personal injury journal could well end up in court as evidence, so you do not want to get into private feelings and emotions unless they directly relate to your injury.

What to Put in Your Personal Injury Journal

Your personal injury journal should be a clear and detailed account of the accident you suffered and how your injuries progress each day or week. You may want to include:

  • A retelling of the accident. Lay out the details of the accident, leaving out your emotions or biases. List the order of events, the sensations you experienced, who you talked to, and what steps were taken after the accident.
  • Tasks you can and cannot do each day. Jot down a list of what you get done each day and what you have to reschedule because of pain or limited mobility. The details of how an injury impacts your life often get lost over time, and this journal will help you remember those moments.
  • Missed days of work or school. Record each time you have to miss work or school for appointments, therapy, or due to pain.
  • Treatments you receive. Keep track of the medical treatments you receive. It’s helpful to list the medical professionals you spoke with, when your appointment was, what updates they gave you, and what your treatment was.
  • Appointments you attend and how much you have to travel for them. Keep track of appointments and the traveling time/distance for each one.
  • Communication you have related to your injuries. When you speak to your attorney, doctor, or employer about your injury, jot it down in your journal.

How to Track Your Pain

Your journal should also serve as documentation of your pain levels. There are several ways you can do this. If your pain tends to fluctuate significantly throughout the day, you may want to write down your pain level on a scale from 1-10 in the morning, in the afternoon, and at bedtime. If it stays consistent throughout the day, just documenting your pain level once daily is sufficient.

How Often to Write

In the early days after your accident, you may want to write daily. This is when the most significant changes occur and when pain may keep you from remembering things. As you go through your claim, your attorney will advise you on how often to write.

The Benefits of a Personal Injury Journal

A personal injury journal can be incredibly advantageous for your personal injury claim, whether it settles or goes to court. People on the outside of your claim do not see what you go through each day and how your injury affects you. When you’re put on the spot and asked about how your injury impacts you, it’s likely you’ll forget important details as you try to answer succinctly. A personal injury journal details the limitations you have because of your injury and the ways in which you have had to accommodate those limitations. This makes it much harder for the insurance company to deny you fair and full compensation.

Turn to Burns, Cunningham & Mackey for Help Today

Whether you’ve been hurt in a car accident, slip and fall, or other type of incident, the team at Burns, Cunningham & Mackey is here to fight for you. Our extensive experience in personal injury law has helped us secure favorable outcomes for thousands of clients. Learn more about your options now by calling us at 251-260-3815 or filling out our contact form.

the cost of future medical care

What is the Value of Future Medical Care with a Personal Injury Claim?

When a serious injury railroads your future plans and changes your entire life, it’s hard to know what your next step is. If someone else is responsible for your injuries, you have to consider your future needs when pursuing compensation. While a settlement covering current medical expenses might be enough for someone with a mild injury, it is unlikely to be enough to cover your future medical care.

That’s why you need to talk to a personal injury attorney before accepting any sort of settlement offer. Set up a consultation with Burns, Cunningham & Mackey now by calling us at 251-260-3815.

Considering the Kinds of Treatment You Need

Part of figuring out your future medical expenses is thinking about what types of treatment you are likely to need. In some ways, this is a guessing game. No one knows what the future of medical development will bring or how that may change your care plans, so all you can do is get feedback from your care providers and attorney. Your attorney will use varying types of evidence to estimate potential care costs, including treatment plans for patients with similar injuries, doctor input, and current expenses.

Some of the treatments and diagnostic tests you may need in the future include:

  • MRIs, X-rays, CAT scans, and other types of screenings
  • Transportation to and from appointments, especially if you are in a wheelchair
  • Physical and occupational therapy
  • Prosthetic devices and other adaptive equipment
  • Surgery and recovery
  • Mental health treatment
  • Hospital stays

Calculating Lifestyle Expenses

If your injury requires you to completely change your lifestyle, your attorney may use that as a starting point for estimating your future care costs. This is commonly used when patients suffer paralysis, a severe traumatic brain injury, paralysis, or other major injuries. The assumption is that the victim’s care needs are so great that they will no longer be able to live independently, and as such their future medical expenses settlement should cover the broad range of care they are likely to need.

This approach is not typically used if your injury won’t permanently change your level of independence or lifestyle. For example, consider a leg bone that is broken in multiple ways and in multiple locations. This is an extremely complex injury that will undoubtedly require multiple follow-up surgeries, but it will not make you dependent on others for the rest of your life. In this situation, it is more appropriate to look at the specific costs associated with your current and predicted future medical care and come to a settlement amount based on that information.

Medical Testimony

Medical testimony is a crucial part of getting a fair settlement for a personal injury case. Your attorney may use two types of medical testimony to strengthen your case for future medical expenses. The first is your actual care team. Their knowledge of your injuries and the likely trajectory they’ll follow is invaluable, as it allows them to predict which surgeries or other types of treatment you may need in the future.

The second is recognized experts in the type of injuries you have sustained. They can draw on their knowledge of cases similar to yours to give insight about the type of care you may need in the future, how much care you may need, and how your injuries are likely to impact your life.

While it is unlikely that your personal injury case will make it to court, since most cases are settled before trial preparation begins, using this information makes it extremely difficult for the liable party to deny fair compensation. As a result, you stand a much better chance of getting a full and fair settlement with this level of preparation.

Find Out How Burns, Cunningham & Mackey Can Help You

If you or someone you love has been seriously injured, you deserve a settlement that fairly compensates you for your losses. That starts with the right legal representation. Our team is here to help you fight for the compensation you deserve, from medical bills and lost income to future medical expenses and pain and suffering. Get started now by calling Burns, Cunningham & Mackey at 251-260-3815 or contacting us online.

catastrophic injuries and families

How Catastrophic Injuries Impact Families

Catastrophic injuries are among the worst an individual can suffer, with the obvious exception of fatal injuries. Injuries that fit into this category cause lifelong pain and mobility issues, and often require medical care for the rest of a victim’s life.

However, these accidents don’t just impact the victim. They can affect the victim’s family and loved ones. If you or someone you love has been hurt in a serious accident, let us help. Call Burns, Cunningham & Mackey at 251-260-3815 to learn more about your legal options.

Physical and Mental Health

Catastrophic injuries have an obvious impact on the victim’s physical and mental health. These types of accidents often lead to lifelong issues, from pain that cannot be relieved by pharmaceuticals to limited mobility that requires walking aids or caregivers.

Some injuries can even leave victims at risk of fatal illness; for example, if a victim suffers third-degree burns on a large part of their body, they are susceptible to infections that can quickly become systemic. This type of stress, combined with the knowledge that their life has likely changed forever, is enough to push an individual into serious mental health issues.

These same issues can plague caregivers and family members as well. After an injury this severe, family members are often thrown into the role of care provider. This means helping their loved ones get up, perform activities of daily living, and finish their physical and occupational therapy tasks. For family members without experience in caregiving, this quickly takes a toll on their bodies. It can also negatively affect their mental health as they struggle to meet their own needs while trying to do everything that their loved one needs.

Emotional Effects

The sudden change in relationship between the accident victim and their family members can cause long-lasting emotional pain and suffering. For example, consider a dedicated husband and father injured in a serious crash.

He is accustomed to taking care of his family financially, supporting them through difficult times, and doing the physically demanding chores around the house. If he suddenly loses his income, needs assistance to do everything, and requires outside help for household chores and cleaning, he will likely suffer emotionally as he questions everything that he has built his identity on.

This abrupt change can also leave family members emotionally drained, which is even more challenging if they have to go through this time without the support of their injured family member. With no clear “end date” indicating when or if things will return to normal, family members may feel like they are failing.

Financial Impact

The financial damage of a catastrophic accident is undeniable. Many of these accidents involve property damage, and a totaled car can leave a financially strapped family with no way to get to work. Medical bills are extraordinarily high for these types of accidents, often stretching into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. And unfortunately, there’s no end in sight with severe injuries. The expenses continue to pile up, particularly with victims who need physical therapy, occupational therapy, mobility aides, and therapeutic pain medication.

Beyond that, you must consider the financial loss if the individual was a breadwinner in the family. Disability caps make it impossible for an injured individual to support their family to the same level after an injury, and a personal injury lawsuit may be the only way to get any sort of financial stability.

Even if the victim was not a breadwinner, the sudden loss of their contributions to the family can cause significant financial stress. A homemaker who unexpectedly becomes physically disabled may need to pay for childcare, home cleaning, transportation to and from activities, and much more.

The effects of a catastrophic injury never seem to truly end. The accident itself has a ripple effect that radiates out and impacts every part of the victim’s life as well as the lives of their family members. While a personal injury suit cannot restore the victim’s life to its pre-accident state, it can at least help them find their new normal more quickly and have the financial support they need to do so. If you or someone you love has been hurt in a catastrophic accident, turn to a trusted personal injury lawyer to help you through this time. To schedule a consultation with Burns, Cunningham & Mackey, call us at 251-260-3815 or reach out online