Three Reasons Why Maritime Injury Cases Can Take a Long Time
It’s common to hear people lament the fact that their personal injury claim is taking a long time. Just about every attorney who has experience in the field will tell you, it’s just a fact of life. Of course, there are some things we can do to expedite matters, and there are some things we simply cannot control. For those who have been seriously injured in a maritime accident, whether a cruise ship accident or a work related injury as a member of a seafaring crew, the dedicated team at our office wants you to understand some of these inherent delays and what you can do about them.
After a serious injury, you may have months or even years of medical care and treatment. In some cases, your physician may be able to tell early on that your injuries are permanent. If so, then at least there is clarity on the issue. Sadly, many people treat for month after month, trying to get better. While this process proceeds, experienced attorneys know that the best option is often to allow the treatment to resolve to a point where the medical outcome is fairly certain and then reasonable negotiations are possible. After all, it’s hard to estimate your total damages if the outcome of your medical treatment is unknown.
Our advice? Keep it simple. As soon as you begin treating with a physician you trust, have a heartfelt conversation about the treatment plan, how long it should take, and your chances of making a full recovery. Keep your attorney informed of any changes, and let that attorney know immediately if you complete treatment.
One of the most frustrating things for any lawyer is knowing your client is suffering and being forced to jump through hoops and wait for responses. Medical providers like doctors and hospitals are sometimes very slow to respond to our requests for medical records. Trust us, we know how to get them, and it upsets us to wait months for records too. But this is a necessary process if we are going to prove your case.
Our advice? Ask your doctor for your own records. See if they will let you have them on a disc. Some doctors will charge for this, but some won’t. Ask them if they would mind expediting them to your attorney. Be super nice and courteous, and remember that these providers often hold the key to your case.
If you have medical providers seeking payment from your case or health insurance plans seeking to assert liens against your recovery, you can expect some delays on the back end (after the case is settled or a verdict is returned). This is because most experienced attorneys will carefully negotiate these liens in order to make sure they are fully resolved and your recovery is maximized. The worst lien holder to negotiate with is usually a group provider offered through your work. The amount of the Medicare lien is established by a statutory formula, but is Medicare is very slow to acknowledge and accept the reduced lien amount.
Our advice? Discuss your health insurance, Medicaid, or Medicare information with your attorney early in the case. If you see that bills are being paid by these insurance carriers, let your attorney know so he or she can have the lien amount when negotiating the resolution of your case.
While there are dozens of other delays we cannot even get into here, the fact remains that the more experience your attorney has with the particular kind of case you are involved in, the better your chances of streamlining things. Maritime injuries are quite different from those that happen on dry land. So, if you’re injured on the water, call Michael F. Guilford, P.A. in Florida today. Consultations are always free, and we are here to help when you need us.