How Will COVID-19 Affect My Accident Injury Claim?

How Will COVID-19 Affect My Accident Injury Claim?

how will the coronavirus affect your car accident case in Virginia?

As we head into the second month of the COVID-19 crisis, many people are anxious about how different areas of their life will be impacted. If you have an ongoing accident injury claim, you are likely concerned about court shutdowns and law firm closures. Whether you are handling an existing injury claim, or you’ve been hurt during this time and you want to know your options, find out how COVID-19 could affect your accident injury claim.

Court Closures and Your Current Claim

Courts around the country are closed indefinitely except for emergency proceedings, leaving many in the midst of family, criminal, and personal injury cases concerned about what comes next. If your personal injury claim does have to go to court, it’s likely that you will be waiting quite a bit longer for any resolution to your case. When courts do reopen, judges’ dockets will likely be filled with backlogged cases, and it could take months to work through that backlog and get the court running as normal again.

All that said, it is important to remember one key fact about personal injury claims; very few actually go to court. Going to court adds an element of risk for both parties, and in most situations, both parties benefit by settling the issues outside the courtroom. If your lawyer successfully negotiates a fair settlement on your behalf, the court shutdown could have a minimal impact on your personal injury claim.

How Insurance Companies Will Use This to Their Advantage

Insurance companies are always looking for ways to decrease payouts and boost their bottom lines, and a crisis like COVID-19 gives them an opportunity to do both. Insurance adjusters know you don’t want to go to court, and they know you especially don’t want to go to court when doing so could mean waiting months for a payout.

They may use this information to negotiate more aggressively and hold back on offering more money. They will bluff that they cannot give more and are willing to handle the matter in court, knowing that most people will back down and accept a lowball settlement.

Does this mean you have to buckle and accept a low offer? No. But it does make it all the more important to have an experienced attorney on your side throughout this process. Seasoned attorneys know how insurance companies use situations like this one to help themselves, and they know what it takes to bring them back to the negotiating table.

Remember, it is also bad for insurance companies to have claims sit for months while they wait for a court date. They want to close the claim, write off the amount, and move on. Your attorney can use factors like these that work in your favor to secure a fair settlement.

New Injury Claims

The process may be more challenging for those who suffer injuries during this time and need to seek compensation. Finding a lawyer is the easy part. Even though most law firms have their offices closed, the attorneys themselves are still working from home. You may be able to get your case started with a phone consultation or video conference.

However, personal injury claims rely heavily on medical evidence and treatment to determine the severity of your injury and the expenses related to it. Many medical clinics and hospital departments are closed right now to limit unnecessary exposure to COVID-19 patients and to free up medical staff to help out in the ICU/ER as needed. This may make it difficult to get your injury assessed, and ongoing treatment may be even more challenging to secure. As a result, your case could drag on indefinitely until medical care becomes more widely accessible again.

For the best outcome, work with an experienced injury attorney that has contacts throughout your community. They understand the importance of medical treatments for a PI claim, and they may be able to find doctors who are still providing necessary screenings, assessments, and treatments during this time.

Getting What You Deserve

This process may be longer than you once expected, but don’t lose hope. COVID-19 won’t last forever, and neither will your personal injury case. Despite court closures and other business closures, the legal system is still quite efficient during this time.

As we touched on earlier, while it is always recommended that you work with an attorney for personal injury matters, it is even more important during this time. Trying to handle your own claim could be very costly.

Insurance companies aren’t going to spend time haggling with individual victims when their case count is growing by the minute, so you could be forced to accept a low settlement or lose your chance of receiving any settlement. If you hire an attorney, they know you are serious about your claim and that they should come to the table ready to play fair if they want to close it out.

If you need assistance with a personal injury claim, we are here for you. Reach out to the team at Pack Law Group to discuss your legal needs today.

Should I Go to the Doctor After a Car Accident Even If I Feel Fine?

Should I Go to the Doctor After a Car Accident Even If I Feel Fine?

car accident attorney in bedford va

You’ve been in a car accident, and aside from the anxiety and racing heart rate, maybe you feel fine. Perhaps you just have a couple bruises or minor aches and pains. The thought of going to the doctor may seem like overkill, particularly when you think about the copay and the eventual bill. Despite all of this, you should absolutely still go to the doctor after a car accident.

How a Car Accident Affects Your Physiology

The human body has evolved to protect itself, and those changes all come into play during a stressful event like a car accident. When there is a threat or traumatic event, the body goes into fight-or-flight mode to prepare you to fight the threat or run from it until it gives up. This involves pumping your body full of endorphins, which make you feel energetic, and adrenaline, which masks pain.

This can be extremely dangerous for those who refuse medical care after a car accident. As your mind starts to recover from the trauma of the car accident, the endorphins and adrenaline will subside, slowly uncovering your true pain levels. You could still have very serious injuries if you feel fine or only have mild pain after a car accident. But if you wait too long to get it checked out, you could lose out on legal options.

More Than Just Broken Bones

Many people believe that an injury doesn’t require care if it doesn’t cause severe pain or if it isn’t immediately visible. For example, few people would refuse medical care for an obviously broken bone. However, the effects of a car accident extend far beyond bone fractures.

Soft tissue injuries are a serious risk in a car crash. A tremendous amount of force is generated and transferred to vehicle occupants during a crash. In many situations, joints, muscles, ligaments, and tendons bear the brunt of this force. These injuries are often not immediately visible, and the pain may start off mild but ramp up as you try to get back to normal life. Whiplash is one of the most common soft tissue injuries to occur during a car accident.

Traumatic Brain Injuries

Car accidents are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries. You may not even be worried about a TBI if you didn’t hit your head on the dashboard or get thrown from the vehicle. However, consider the massive jolt sustained by your body during the car accident as your seat belt yanks you back. When this happens, the brain can hit the inside of the skull and cause a TBI.

Concussions are the most common TBI, and they vary in severity. However, there are many other traumatic brain injuries that occur in car accidents. Without proper diagnosis and treatment, you may not realize you need care until it is too late for a full recovery. Many symptoms of traumatic brain injuries, including nausea, blurry vision, headaches, irritability, and fatigue are easy to attribute to a car accident. You may think you’re just tired, annoyed, and in pain because of the accident when you’re actually suffering a TBI. A doctor can identify these symptoms, order the proper tests, and create a treatment plan.

Taking the Next Step After a Car Accident

Even if you think it’s unnecessary, it doesn’t hurt to go to the doctor after a car accident. If you do have serious injuries, prompt identification and treatment can save your life.

After you have sought medical care, take the next step by reaching out to a personal injury attorney in Bedford. If the other party caused the crash, you may be able to file a personal injury claim and seek compensation for your medical bills, pain and suffering, and other expenses incurred because of the crash.

Let Us Help with Your Car Accident Claim

The team at Pack Law Group is committed to helping each and every client get the compensation they rightfully deserve when they are injured. It’s important to find an attorney you trust as soon as possible so they can start building a case and fighting the insurance company on your behalf. To get started, call 540-586-7225 or reach out to us online.

Preparing for Your Independent Medical Exam (IME) After an Auto Accident

Car accidents can be traumatizing. But what is often even more stressful than the accident itself is the aftermath of the accident. It’s not always clear who’s liable for a crash, against whom to file a claim, or what your damages are worth. As you navigate the claims process after an auto accident, the insurance adjuster may request that you submit to an IME – an independent medical examination.

Consider the following about preparing for an IME, and reach out to our experienced car accident lawyers at the Pack Law Group for personalized attention and assistance:

What Is an Independent Medical Exam? Independent medical exams are most often referenced with regards to workers’ compensation claims, but they can be requested in a variety of injury claim types, including car accident claims. An IME refers to an examination by a non-treating medical provider and is used to obtain an expert opinion about the medical issues in a case. For example, an IME may be used to determine the severity of injuries, the appropriate course of treatment, when the injured party is likely to reach MMI (maximum medical improvement), and the nature and extent of disability.

How to Prepare for an IME Before you submit to an IME, it’s important to know what to expect and to prepare yourself as such. Here are some tips for preparing for your independent medical examination:

  • Be prepared to talk about your injuries. Not only will the doctor perform a physical examination, they’ll also ask you about your injuries and the extent of your disability and pain. Be prepared to provide specific, detailed answers in response to these questions. The more you can tell the doctor about your injuries–and the more clearly–the more information the doctor will be able to provide to the insurance company. Remember to provide information about pain that’s related to daily activities, too. It’s also very important that you are consistent in your answers; inconsistencies or exaggerations may present as mistruths, which can hurt the outcome of your IME.
  • Be honest. As touched on above, hyperbolizing your pain and disabilities will likely hurt your case, not help it. There is nothing wrong with being honest about feeling better in some regards or admitting that a treatment has indeed helped. The important thing is to remain honest and straightforward, and to respond accurately to the questions that you’re asked.
  • Be professional. If you’re in pain, dealing with a disability, and frustrated about the fact that your claim still hasn’t been settled, it can be hard to be professional and friendly with the IME doctor. However, remaining professional is strongly advised. Be sure to arrive at your appointment early, be positive and friendly, and conduct yourself appropriately.

If you have a close friend or family member who is willing to attend the appointment with you, their participation can be a comfort. What’s more, they can serve as a witness to the IME, which may be helpful in verifying information at a later time. Finally, if you have an attorney, consult with your attorney about how to prepare for your IME. There may be preparatory tips specific to your case.

Cautions About Your IME One important thing to keep in mind about an IME is that they are requested by the defendant (i.e. the insurance company), and the defendant is the party who will select the physician. While the physician is supposed to be independent and unbiased, this is probably not going to be the case. Be cautious of this and be careful what you say and how you act.

Why Work with an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer? If you are involved in a crash and are in the settlement process, the insurance company responsible for processing your claim may request that you submit to an IME. While this may be standard, the insurance company is likely making this request as a way to gather evidence to diminish the value of your claim. To protect your rights and interests, working with a skilled car accident attorney is recommended. An attorney can gather evidence to support your case, hire expert witnesses, organize your medical evidence, and negotiate your settlement. Of course, an attorney can also represent you in litigation as well. At the office of the Pack Law Group, our experienced Virginia car accident lawyers believe that you deserve a skilled, determined advocate on your side. For help navigating your claim and preparing for an independent medical exam, please call our law office at 540-586-7225, visit our Bedford office in person, or use the contact form on our website to send us a mes

Common Tactics Used by Insurance Companies in Accident Cases

Common Tactics Used by Insurance Companies in Accident Cases


If you are involved in a car accident in Virginia, you have a couple of different options for recovering compensation. First, because Virginia is an “at-fault” state, also known as a tort liability state, you maintain the right to file a claim against the at-fault driver’s liability insurance. (You could also file a lawsuit directly against the at-fault driver.) You also have the option of filing a claim against your own insurance policy if you have certain coverage types, such as uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, or medical expenses and loss of income benefits coverage. But just because you file a claim does not mean that your claim will be paid. Indeed, claims are often denied, or insurance companies offer claimants less than they deserve. One of the most important roles of the insurance adjuster assigned to your case is to save the insurance company money. There are many common tactics used by insurance companies in car accident cases – here are a few of them of which you should be aware–

Investigating You It is definitely the responsibility of an insurance company to perform an investigation into the accident and the injuries that a claimant purports to have – this is certainly reasonable. But as a claim investigation unfolds, one tactic that insurance companies will use to lowball settlement offers, or deny claims altogether, is to investigate the claimants themselves. If it’s a cut-and-dry case and it’s obvious their client was negligent, they are less likely to investigate you. The same is true if your injuries are minor and, therefore, less expensive. Some insurance companies will always do a cursory check on accident victims, while others only want to exert the effort if there are red flags. Any investigation is likely to begin with a social media check. Checking a victim’s social media presence is incredibly easy and costs very little. There are many ways your social media can be used against you in an accident claim. In fact, an insurance adjuster may add you on social media and browse through your posts, or even travel to your home–or hire a detective to do so–to see what you’re up to. For example, if you’ve claimed a broken leg but then are seen performing yard work, or if you claim to have a traumatic brain injury but then post a picture of yourself playing the piano, the insurance company will then have ammunition against you to undermine your claim and state that you are exaggerating your injuries, or that you are “clearly” fully healed. For this reason, be careful about what you do when a claim is pending. And stay off of social media.

More Extensive Injury Investigations More in-depth injury investigations are typically reserved for cases that have lots of red flags or that are likely to be extremely expensive. This is why it’s so important to keep your social media locked down after an accident. Even an innocent post might make the insurance adjuster think you’re engaging in insurance fraud. Do not accept new friend requests, make sure your account can’t be viewed by non-friends, and don’t let people tag you in posts without your approval. An injury investigation might involve a private investigator. If you are being followed by a private investigator, you probably won’t know about it. If you do, they didn’t hire a very good private investigator. The investigator might follow your car around to see how you spend your time and where you go. They will try to take pictures and video of any activity that goes against your injury claim.

Settling Your Claim Quickly Consider a situation in which you’ve been in a serious accident and you are looking at significant losses, both financially and otherwise. When this is the case, receiving a settlement offer from the insurance company can feel like a huge comfort and relief. But be careful – the insurance company may be offering you a quick settlement hoping that those exact emotions–comfort, relief, and wanting to have the process over with–will push you into accepting it. Typically, first-time settlement offers, as well as quick settlement offers, are lowballed. While it can feel difficult to turn down a settlement, especially when you desperately need the cash, doing so is typically within your best interests.

They Make You Think They’re You’re Friend Perhaps the most classic tactic used by an insurance adjuster when assigned to a claim is to convince the claimant that the adjuster is the claimant’s friend. This may be accomplished by acting very friendly, expressing concern, and even making statements about the company’s liability. But don’t be fooled – remember, the primary objective of an insurance adjuster is to save the insurance company money. If the adjuster is being friendly, it’s probably to catch you in something that can then be used against you, such as convincing you to give a recorded statement where you make a specific claim about how fast you were traveling or some error that you committed, pinning liability on your shoulders.

Telling You You Don’t Need a Lawyer If an insurance adjuster ever tells you that you don’t need an attorney, this is a sure sign that just the opposite is true. Lawyers are even valuable in accident claims involving smaller amounts of money, and they are essential in cases of severe injuries and catastrophic losses.

Call Our Virginia Auto Accident Lawyers Today Being involved in a serious accident is shocking and emotional; being a victim of an insurance adjuster’s unscrupulous tactics can be the icing on the cake that pushes you over the edge in terms of feeling frustrated and overwhelmed. At the law office of the Pack Law Group, our Virginia auto accident lawyers understand what you’re going through. When you call our law firm, we will provide you with aggressive legal support and representation and we will always advocate for your best interests. To learn more about our legal services, please reach out to us today to request a free consultation. You can reach us at 540-586-7225, in person, or online.