What if I have scars after an accident?
If you’ve been involved in a serious car accident, it is entirely possible that you may have scarring from the accident. Sometimes, the scarring is from a major laceration to the skin. Sometimes, the scarring is caused by abrasions, and in some cases, by the airbags deploying and burning the skin.
If you have scarring from an auto accident, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. Also, make sure you take photos of your scar(s) from many different angles and in many different lighting situations. Sometimes, photos do not do justice to the scar and you should do your best to make sure your photos really convey just how pronounced the scarring is. Remember to take photos of your scarring every week to document the healing process (or in some cases the "lack" of healing). If you are unable to take photos, ask a friend or family member to do so. Take close up shots as well as shots from further away. Shots that are taken too closely may not fairly portray the extent of your scarring. Simply put, your job is to convey the extent of the scarring - not just that you have scarring.
Remember, the insurance company's job from the very beginning is to minimize your claim. If you tell them about scarring, they might assume you simply have a minor "scratch." You need to preserve the evidence and show them just how bad the scarring is. Also, the location of the scar is very important. If the the scar is on a highly visible part of your body like your face, that may affect the evaluation of your claim. Don’t assume that scarring is just is something benign. Don't feel embarrassed to raise the issue. When it comes to personal injury claims, you want to receive compensation for ALL injuries - not just a choice few. You should make it part of your overall claim.
If you have residual scarring, that may affect your case as well. If the scar doesn't completely heal after a few months, you might consider asking a plastic surgeon for an a valuation. The surgeon can tell you whether or not this is a permanent scar and how you could either repair the scar or minimize its appearance. In some cases, there may be nothing you can do about it. However, it might be good to get an evaluation nevertheless because the insurance adjuster may try to marginalize your claim of scarring. The extent of your residual scarring may affect the value of your case as well.
In short, do not ignore your scarring injuries after an accident. Scarring is an injury to you just like anything else. In some cases of permanent scarring, it can be a lifelong reminder of your car accident.
If you’ve had a serious injury from a car accident, then you might be experiencing some nerve pain. If traditional physical therapy and other treatments don’t help, you might need to entertain epidural steroid injections to minimize the pain. Another option is a joint block which involves the injection of a local anesthetic and steroid where your pelvis and spine meet. You have to work closely with a pain management specialist to assist you with these treatments.
Epidural steroid injections decrease inflammation which often helps relieve the pain. It is commonly performed in a doctor's office with a local anesthetic. However, in some cases, you may need to go to a surgical facility with conscious sedation (or in some cases go completely under). The injection helps decrease inflammation and swelling of the spine so the nerves aren't as affected. This reduction of inflammation is caused by injecting a steroid into the epidural space where the pain is located. The pain relief can last from a few days to a few months. If it doesn’t work the first time, your pain management doctor might recommend a second or third round of injections.
Joint blocks helps relieve sciatic pain. It involves an injection of a local anesthetic to the sacroiliac joint. It can take 3 to 5 days to fully take effect. Ultimately, these types of treatments may provide an accident victim who has tried all other conservative treatments several months of relief. However, in some cases where the pain keeps recurring, a doctor may discuss the option of surgery (which is almost always the option of last resort). Every patient is different and so you should work closely with your pain management doctor and other healthcare professionals.
If you've been involved in a serious accident and need assistance or guidance, please call our office at (661) 414-7100 to see if we can help you.
How can I prove my injuries?
When it comes to personal injury cases, you generally have to prove two things. First, you must show that someone was negligent. That doesn't simply mean that an accident happened. Accidents happen all the time, and sometimes, it's no one's fault in particular. Basically, you have to show that someone did something wrong - like blowing through a red light or turning left in front of oncoming traffic. Once you have established fault, then you have to prove that you were injured as a result of that person's negligence. Therefore, just because someone was negligent doesn't mean you have a claim. You must also be injured. Generally speaking, your injury must be appreciable or the insurance company adjuster isn't going to offer you very much.
There is basically a continuum of injuries that can be broken down into several categories:
1) Basic soft tissue injuries (sprain/strain) that heal over time.
2) Soft tissue injuries that don't completely heal, leaving some measure of residual injury.
3) Very painful injuries that don't require surgery but aren't helped much by physical therapy and/or medication. In some cases, pain management injections are necessary.
4) Bad injuries that don't resolve over time and surgery is recommended - but the injured party chooses to live with the pain and manage it versus having the surgery.
5) Bad injuries where the injured party actually had surgery and healed properly.
6) Bad injuries where the injured party had surgery but will still have residual issues.
So if you are injured, how can you prove it?
1) Take photos of visible injuries. Telling the insurance company about your bruising, cuts, scrapes is good, but showing them the injuries is even better. Also, take photos over time, showing the progress (or lack of progress) of the injury healing.
2) Soft tissue cases (sprain/strain) are very hard to prove because there is nothing to show. You can't point to an image on an xray or other imaging tool. You can't say, "See, there's my injury!" Therefore, your behavior becomes very important. If you are claiming a shoulder injury, don't post videos of yourself doing push-ups on the internet! How the accident affects your daily life activities is the best way to "demonstrate" your injuries to others. The severity of the impact will help others understand your injuries. If there isn't much damage to your car, the insurance company (and most juries) won't give you much for such claims. On the flip side, if your car has moderate to severe damage, others will more easily believe your claim of injury.
3) If you have a tear, disc bulge, or other serious injury from the accident, you will definitely need an MRI or CT scan to prove the injury. Negative findings will be used against you. Positive findings will be viewed with suspicion by insurance adjusters, especially if (a) you are older than 40 years of age, (b) if you have a previous accident, or (c) previous health issues. Folks over 40 years of age often have orthopedic issues simply due to the aging process. Having disc bulges in your neck or back is something common, even for people who have not been in an accident. If you are relatively young, most people won't expect such serious issues. Therefore, if you are 21 years old and have a serious disc bulge in your neck, that would certainly be unusual.
4) Also, if you have significant image findings and/or significant injuries, your past medical records will definitely come into play. The insurance company will want to see your past records to see if there are any similar complaints in your past. I hate to say this but many people try to "pull a fast one" on the insurance companies by claiming injury to body parts when, in fact, they had the same issues before the accident. If you are interested in committing insurance fraud, please DON'T call my office! (Disclaimer: I am NOT encouraging insurance fraud!) By the same token, if your past medical history is devoid of similar complaints, that will play in your favor. Also, if your complaints surfaced immediately after the accident, that is helpful to show proof of injury. If the police report and/or ER records show complaints, that is helpful to your case. In contrast, complaints that surfaces weeks or months after an accident are very difficult to connect to the accident and are often viewed with suspicion.
Proving injuries in a personal injury case is a tricky affair. You have to use objective proof, documentation, photos, circumstantial evidence, corroborating evidence, etc. A helpful personal injury lawyer can guide you and help you understand how to prove your injuries.
VIDEO TRANSCRIPT: Hello everybody, my name is Robert Mansour, and I wanted to make a brief video today about causation. Causation is an important element of personal injury cases. Just because you have an injury doesn't necessarily mean it was from the car accident. Sometimes I have clients who have a lot of pain and we go and we take an MRI or some kind of scan of their back or their neck, and we find a problem. Let's say we find a herniation of the disc or a bulging disc or a tear in the shoulder or something like that.
The question from the opposing side is always going to be well fine, but is that from the accident or perhaps it's from something else. When you have a preexisting problem for example before the accident, it's a 2-edge sword. The defense is going to argue that that's a preexisting problem and the accident has nothing to do with it. The plaintiff is going to argue that the accident aggravated that condition and made it worst. Now its tough to tell of course when it's aggravated, when does it go back to pre-accident level or does it ever go back to pre-accident level.
This is where doctor's testimony is very important. This is where you want to be able to ask the doctor, "Doctor can you say with any certainty that this is from the accident versus something that predates the accident?" Now another thing that you can do sometimes is you can say, "Fine. Maybe I have this problem before the accident, but it was dormant. It was asymptomatic. I didn't have any symptoms." The argument that I would use is I would say, "Ladies and gentleman, my client is standing at the edge of the cliff."
The other party came and push them over the cliff. By doing so, they can't just say, "Oh well, I pushed you over the cliff. That's your problem." If you have a preexisting problem that was asymptomatic but is now symptomatic, that is an argument that you should make in your personal injury case. My name is Robert Mansour and I just wanted to address this issue causation today in this brief video. I hope you found it helpful, and thank you very much for watching.
Call (661) 414-7100 if you've been involved in a serious car accident and need advice. Robert serves Santa Clarita, CA and its communities of Valencia, Saugus, Canyon Country, Newhall, Castaic and Stevenson Ranch. Robert also serves the larger Los Angeles county area.
VIDEO TRANSCRIPT: Hello everyone this is Robert Mansour, and today I wanted to make a brief video about what happens after you have finished treating for your personal injury accident. I get this call all the time, my client's finished treating at their doctor, or they finished their physical therapy, and they call me basically the next day, and they're like, "What next? What's going to happen now?" I try to explain to them that it's going to be a few more weeks before anything really happens, because here's what needs to occur. I need to assemble all the medical records and all the bills from all the different health care providers that they've been to.
Also, if they just finished going to the doctor, and they've just finished going with a physical therapist, those people need some time to generate all the bills, and to generate all the reports that are needed to help present the personal injury claim. It doesn't happen overnight, it takes some time. Then after I get everything I have to review everything. I have to dissect it, I have to see what it all ... How it all comes together, and how it all fits together. Then I have to present the case to the insurance company, and that requires, generally speaking, what's called a demand letter. The demand letter is basically where I present our demand to the insurance company, that we demand to settle the case.
Sometimes you put a number in there, sometimes you don't put a number in there, and then the dialog begins between the insurance company and the attorney's office. Now, keep in mind just because I send a letter to the insurance company doesn't mean the very next day I get a call. Most insurance adjusters have about two hundred files sitting on their desk at any given time. My letter comes in, along with the supporting documents for your case, and it just sits on their desk probably for a good thirty days before they can do anything with it. I tell clients that after they're finished with the doctor and everything, about thirty days later I'm in a position, provided I have everything I need, to present their case. Then about thirty to forty-five days after that we hear from the insurance company.
For the most part, you can count on about sixty days after you're finished treating before you hear anything. Now, invariably I run into some problems, especially if there's a client who has been to a dozen different health care providers. Each of those health care providers has their own billing department, they have their own records department, in some cases there is a collection agency, in some cases some of these departments are out of state, and so they close and open at different times of day than California. In some cases we make phone calls to these places, and they never return our calls. In some cases we're promised records, and I paid for them and I never get them. Just because that's the way that's supposed to go, things don't always unfold as smoothly as I would like.
That gives you a little bit of an idea of what happens after you're finished treating. I present the claim once I have everything that I need to have, the insurance company responds, the negotiations begin. Now, as part of the negotiations I need to make sure that all of your health care providers have been paid. Some of them have not been paid, and we need to make sure that they are. If anything has gone to collections we need to make sure we work with the collection agency. If Medicare is involved or Medi-Cal, or your health care insurance is involved, we need to make sure we keep them in the loop. As you can see there's many different variables that go into settling a case, and it's not just a matter of finishing your treatment and then you get a settlement the next day.
I hope this helps you understand a little bit about what the mechanics are, and if you have any questions you could please call my office or send me an email. Thank you very much.
VIDEO TRANSCRIPT: Hi, my name is Robert Mansour, and today I'm broadcasting to you from my home office in Los Angeles. One of my areas of practice is personal injury, and I want to share a brief story with you regarding how important it is to mention all of your injuries to every single doctor that you go to after a personal injury case. You see, one of the reasons that clients have trouble with their personal injury cases is that they go to one doctor and they mention a couple of injuries. They go to another doctor, they mention different injuries. It makes sense because if you go to an orthopedic doctor you don't want to tell them about necessarily things that are not related to his field.
Let's say, you're having some vision trouble after the accident. You may not mention that to the orthopedic doctor because you figure what does the orthopedist have to do with my vision? Or you might be having trouble with your vision after an accident. Do you go to an eye doctor and you forget to mention the fact that you're having severe shoulder pain or severe hip pain after the accident or you're having your chest wall is hurting you ever time you breathe in? You may not mention that to the eye doctor.
Basically, the illustrations can go on and on, but here's the deal. The insurance company evaluating your case, that personal injury adjuster who is watching your case, they are going to be looking at those records with great detail. They're going to see what did this person complain of, what was this person complaining of at this doctor, what did they complain about at this doctor and here's the short nugget here to the take-away if you will. If something is not in the medical records it's like it never happened. That's right. If something is not in the medical records,s ou the insurance adjuster simply won't consider it.
As a matter of fact, sometimes they will use the discrepancies against you. They will say, “Well, you didn't mention that injury to this doctor, but you mentioned it to this doctor.” You don't understand the difference. Why? Did you just introduce that injury? Your argument will be, “No. I didn't think it was necessary to tell that doctor about that injury.” Again, this will be used against you.
Basically, what you want to do is every time you go to any doctor for any personal injury case, especially if there's an intake form that you need to fill out, take that opportunity to tell the doctor every single thing that bothers you. Start with your hair and move your way all the way down your body. If your hands hurt, your shoulder, your back. By the way, the back is upper, middle and lower.
So you also want to be very specific in your complaints and very illustrative and demonstrative with your complaints. Don't just say, my back hurts. That doesn't really help explain anything. If you say, “I have shooting pain that goes down my back into my leg like sciatica, and it bothers me every 15 minutes and it's like somebody poking me with a pen very, very sharply.” That's a little bit better than just simply saying, my back hurts.
So once again make sure you mention every single injury to every single doctor that you go see after a personal injury case. Also, make sure that you're very specific about your complaints, not just that simply this hurts or this hurts. That doesn't really help anybody appreciate what you're going through.
Thank you very much for watching this brief video. My name is Robert Mansour, and I appreciate you visiting.
If you need help with your personal injury case, please contact my office to schedule a free initial consultation. I will let you know if I can help you or not.
I got a call from a prospective client a couple of days ago. He explained that he got into a serious car accident earlier that day. He was experiencing a great deal of back and neck pain. He called my office and asked, "Should I go to Urgent Care, or will that screw up my case?" Part of me was happy that the client was being careful about his case. After all, there are many things clients do to "screw up" their personal injury case. However, I explained to him, "Look, your health is more important than any personal injury case. If you got hurt and you don't feel right, you should go to Urgent Care and get checked out. Nevermind your case....go get some healthcare because that's much more important."
I told him to get checked out and then consult with an experienced lawyer about his case. However, I reminded him to get his records and billing from the Urgent Care facility because most healthcare facilities that don't work on personal injury matters can give you (and your lawyer) a really hard time when it comes to obtaining the paperwork necessary to present your case. Therefore, the answer to the question is this: "Go to urgent care or any where else if you need treatment right away. Just remember to ask for your records AND bills when you are done with the facility. Then provide the bills and records to your lawyer."
Robert Mansour is a personal injury lawyer handling serious accident cases in Santa Clarita, Valencia, Saugus, Canyon Country, Castaic, Newhall, Stevenson Ranch, Palmdale, Lancaster, and beyond. Call (661) 414-7100.
You should mention all of your injuries to every single doctor you visit after a car accident. The reason is that you want to be consistent with your complaints from the very first visit to the very first doctor. Insurance companies are using software more and more to analyze personal injury cases. If you do not complain about certain injuries to the doctors, it's almost like the injury never occurred. The insurance adjuster simply will not consider the injury if it's not listed. Also if there are inconsistencies, they will be used against you. For example if you complain of neck pain to one doctor then fail to complain of neck pain to another doctor, it may not even be considered - even if you weren't seeing the second doctor for neck pain. You have to be exhaustive in your complaints.
Also, do not simply mention the injuries the currently bother you, but make sure to mention the injuries that bothered you shortly after the accident as well. After all, those injuries resulted from the accident and should not be overlooked. Remember, insurance companies are using software, and if they don't input the correct information, your case may be undervalued. You have to make sure your doctors have your complaints properly documented, not only within the handwritten records generated by the doctor and the doctor's support staff, but it also helps if those complaints are contained in the narrative typed reports.
If you have suffered a serious car accident and need help with your personal injury case, please call (661) 414-7100 and ask for a free consultation with attorney Robert Mansour. Robert serves Santa Clarita and its communities of Valencia, Saugus, Canyon Country, Newhall, Castaic and Stevenson Ranch.
A client recently visited me after a severe car accident. He was having difficulty raising his arm which he could do without a problem before the accident. He explained his shoulder felt like it was just "hanging there" - something was wrong. He had his shoulder in a sling. His doctor explained he may have suffered a tear to the shoulder from the accident. A subsequent MRI confirmed a tear to his labrum.
Much like the hip joint, the shoulder joint is comprised of a ball and socket joint. However, the socket is generally pretty shallow and therefore is a bit unstable. This means that the bones sometimes need "extra support" to keep the shoulder joint working properly.
Due to the shallow socket, the shoulder joint has a cartilage called a labrum. This cartilage forms a cup at the end of the arm bone. The Labrum essentially makes the shoulder joint more stable, and facilitates a wider range of movements.
The labrum is basically made of thick tissue that can be injured with trauma to the shoulder. Therefore, when involved in a car accident that involves some trauma to the shoulder, it is possible to suffer a labral tear. The labrum also gets weaker with age, making a person more prone to injury.
Symptoms of a labral tear may include an aching sensation in the shoulder, a "catching" sensation of the shoulder with certain movements or pain with specific activities.
If you suspect something is wrong with your shoulder after a serious car accident, bring it to your doctor's attention sooner than later - even if you're not sure. Make sure you document your injury and raise your concerns early, or the insurance company for the responsible party might try to minimize your injury.
If you need help with your personal injury case, give Santa Clarita injury attorney Robert Mansour a call at (661) 414-7100.
There are several factors that may affect the value of a personal injury case. That being said, there is no exact science to the evaluation of any accident case. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you analyze your case. This discussion assumes you were actually injured in an auto accident.
Here are some factors that might influence the evaluation:
1) The severity of the impact and the amount of property damage. If you have to squint to see the damage to your vehicle, you will have an uphill battle getting any sympathy from an insurance company - even if the impact felt huge! In short, if have minimal property damage, most insurance companies won't believe your injury. As a general rule, the more visible property damage you have, the more the insurance company will believe your injury.
2) The severity of the injury. Minor soft tissue sprains and strains don’t impress adjusters or juries. Therefore, if all you have is a minor soft tissue injury, you shouldn't expect a high valuation of your case. Of course, there are "degrees" of soft tissue injuries, but as a general rule, insurance companies are more likely to fight soft tissue cases. The inverse is true - the more serious your injuries (fractures, surgery performed, etc.), the more value your case will usually have. Also, how the accident affected your daily life may be considered by some insurance adjusters.
3) Your age. Simply put, the older you are, the more susceptible you are to injury. Younger people generally have a harder time convincing an adjuster they had appreciable injury. Most insurance companies believe that younger claimants are more resilient and therefore more resistant to injury.
4) Residual injury. If you have injuries that won’t resolve and are projected to last a long time (or indefinitely), it may affect the value of your case. Also, permanent injuries can affect the value of your accident case as will anything requiring surgical intervention. Injuries that appears on xrays, MRIs, CT scans, etc. may also affect the value of your case assuming they are indeed related to the accident. Pre-existing injuries to the same body parts may also affect the insurance company's opinion.
5) The Insurance Company/Adjuster - I hate to say this, but some insurance companies are notoriously stingy. Unless your head popped off your body and rolled down the street, they will almost always give you a hard time. Similarly, the insurance adjuster assigned to your case may factor into the valuation. Simply put, some adjusters are cynical and suspicious folks who think everyone is trying to scam the system while other adjusters can be more reasonable.
There are other factors, but in my experience, these are among the top considerations. If you would like an evaluation of your car accident case, give our office a call at (661) 414-7100.
by Robert Mansour
Robert Mansour is a personal injury lawyer serving Santa Clarita, Valencia,