Most of us are familiar with the fable of the tortoise and the hare. The speedy hare declares no other animal a match for his speed, only to be challenged to a race by the slow-moving tortoise. The hare sprints from the start line, charges ahead, and in contempt for his opponent, lays down for a nap. All the while, the tortoise continues to slowly press ahead. When the hare awakes, he sees the tortoise near the finish line, and despite his speed, he cannot get there faster than the tortoise. The tortoise wins the race, not because of his speed, but rather his consistency.
In much the same way, a personal injury claim can be resolved successfully through consistency.
So many auto accident victims start their case like the hare: they make an initial doctor visit, contact the insurance companies and make arrangements for the repair of their damaged vehicle. But as time passes, they stop paying close attention. They only awake from their slumber near the expiration of the Statute of Limitations, when they make a mad dash to the finish line, taking whatever they can get from the other party’s insurance company.
That insurance company wants you to be the hare. They want you to start fast; they have a quick and seemingly enticing settlement ready for you to take. The truth is, however, that if we conduct ourselves as the tortoise, we can maximize our claim, regardless of its seriousness.
One example is simply following a medical provider’s recommended course of treatment. A hare looks at the time commitment of additional treatment, or the cost of additional doctor visits and gives up on it. A tortoise investigates payment options like his own auto insurance’s medical payment benefit, or just simply asks the provider if they have alternate payment options. Simply seeking alternate methods to afford the care that the medical provider recommends not only allows you to get the treatment you may need to recover from your injuries, but also provides that much-needed written record to demonstrate that the accident was the direct reason for the pain and treatment you’ve undergone.
A hare sees only his immediate medical needs and costs. A tortoise has the patience to ensure that no additional, and possibly more serious, medical concerns exist. The tortoise also follows through with treatment until formally released from care. Similarly, a hare allows important deadlines to sneak up on him; whereas a tortoise is always looking towards the finish line. By simply being consistent with treatment, by keeping good records, and being mindful of legal deadlines, a tortoise can obtain a more appropriate resolution—while perhaps saving a significant amount of money in the end. Even a case that goes to litigation benefits from a written record that a jury can understand– and which allows the jury to identify with the struggles you went through subsequent to the accident.
The moral of consistency in resolving a personal injury case is not necessarily that every case turns into a million dollar recovery. What it does mean is that whether your injuries are minor (a case of whiplash that caused a few days of discomfort), or more serious (fractures, surgeries, disabilities), you dictate the value of your case, not the insurance company. Your consistency often leads you to receive the most appropriate outcome for your case, whether through settlement with the insurance company or by a verdict in court.
If you or a loved one have been involved in an automobile accident, please contact us to schedule your free consultation with an experienced Virginia personal injury attorney today.