I always tell my clients after our first meeting, “At the end, I want you to be happy with the amount of your settlement. But, you get out of it what you put into it.” What is meant by this phrase is, the client must be compliant with his or her medical treatment.
So many clients start off with a good injury case. The liability is clear. The car was a total loss. Perhaps you went by ambulance to the emergency room. The ER doctor tells you have a bad knee or shoulder injury and to follow up with your primary care doctor right away. But then the client does not promptly follow up with their doctor for much needed treatment. This is called noncompliance. Insurance companies love to see this. They use noncompliance to discount the value of your settlement. When I go to settle a client’s case, I regularly hear the insurance adjuster beating his/her drum saying, “your client was not compliant with his recommended treatment. I am discounting the settlement value based upon the “gaps” in treatment. He must not have been that seriously injured”.
Generally, I see lots of reasons why the client can’t get on track with medical treatment. The problem is, many of my clients have busy work schedules and/or are limited in their resources. They can’t stay home from work and go to doctor visits. Maybe there’s only 1 car in the family. The problem is, the client will not get credit for their pain and suffering unless they attend regular and consistent medical visits. It’s a trap the insurance companies love to prey upon.
In Massachusetts, an injured person must accumulate $2,000.00 or more in medical bills to have a settlement for pain and suffering; barring any bone fractures or permanent injuries. Getting to this mark requires some consistent effort.
Clients need to stay focused if they want the “pot of gold” at the end of the rainbow. Do you recall the theme song from Rocky III, The Eye of the Tiger? It’s the thrill of the fight, rising to the challenge of our rival… if the client can simply stay focused and immediately attend medical appointments and continue going to them, the client will rise to the challenge of our rival insurance company and achieve a nice financial reward at the end of the personal injury case.