Dr. Giovanelli’s guide to motor vehicle accidents
Before reading anything else, understand that if you've been hit and someone else is at fault, it is extremely important you understand that the at-fault party's insurance will NOT pay your medical bills. You have to pay your medical bills. Later you can sue or negotiate a settlement with them. Your medical costs are one factor that influences your settlement
Why choose us? Dr Giovanelli will ensure you have records that document your injuries. It doesn't matter how much you suffer in the eyes of the opposing insurance company. What matters is how well a doctor can convey your injuries to them or a jury. Many accident victims turn to their primary doctors for their initial injuries. Many primary care doctors do not read x-rays or do orthopedic exams. Instead, they refer out to orthopedic surgeons. Most orthopedic surgeons don't want to be bothered with whiplash cases. Most prefer spending their time dealing with surgical cases, so they refer to physical therapists. By choosing us as your portal of entry of a motor vehicle collision, we will do an extremely thorough history, examination, perform or order all necessary imaging studies including X-ray, MRI, nerve conduction, CT scans etc. Once your injuries are diagnosed, we will either treat you or refer you to an appropriate doctor. We have close affiliations with exceptional medical doctors.
If we do refer you elsewhee for treatment, we will do our best to find a doctor who also treats auto accident cases. This means diagnosing correctly, accepting delayed payments or accident insurance, and then be willing to get involved in the legal wranglings that follow. Many doctors want nothing to do with the legal side of accident cases so you have to be very careful in choosing your healthcare destinations.
Here are some tips if you've been injured:
Do not wait to seek treatment!!! Every day that goes by without being seen will increase the likelihood of residual pain AND hurt your settlement / suit. Many victims wait to see how things pan out after their injury. The first thing the defense attorney will say is, "you must not have been hurt that bad if you waited two weeks to see a doctor." They are right! If you've been injured in a wreck, we will see you after hours if needed. A hot new trend is concierge medicine. Doctors charge a monthly fee for direct access to them. You get it absolutely free with me. Call my cell phone at 770.630.1054. Yes, it is THAT important to get in quickly that I'm floating my private cell number out there.
Do what the doctor says. Missing appointments, failure to adhere to instructions, or failing to receive recommended diagnostic testing will hurt you physically and financially.
Get med pay insurance. If you don't have it, GET IT. Call your agent and get at least $25,000 in med-pay -- $50,000 is better, $100,000 is best. I did carry $25,000 and decided to bump it to $100,000. The cost was only $8.77 a month! It pays 100% of medical care to each occupant of your car without any deductibles or co payments. Med pay does not get reimbursed at the time of settlement and your insurance company cannot raise your rates or cancel you by law in Georgia if another party is at fault. One accident could easily cost you $20,000 in medical bills which would come out of your settlement / suit. The monthly cost of that insurance is probably $5-$15. Many patients say, "I have health insurance. Why should I pay for med-pay?" I often hear this from patients. Medical health insurance may have to be reimbursed and you'll still have to pay co payment, deductibles, or co insurance.. Adding med-pay is the best way to prevent going to the poor-house or having money from being deducted from your settlement / suit. Every penny insurance pays is a penny in your pocket. Med-pay is your best option to keep a settlement from your lawsuit.
If you're not sure if you have Med-Pay, call the 800 phone number on your automobile insurance card. Ask the following: 1) Do I have med-pay? If the answer is yes, ask the following 2) How much do I have in coverage? 3) Tell them you want to file a medical claim. 4) Record your claim number, adjuster name, claims address, phone / fax / email address for the claims adjuster.
If you do not have med-pay and plan to file health insurance, please bring us a copy of your auto accident policy. Health insurance is likely to deny your auto accident claim unless we can provide proof in writing that you do not have med-pay.
Don't talk to the at-fault insurance people or their attorneys. They are not your friends. They are not there to help you. The defense has only one purpose - save their company money. The less they pay you, the better they are at their jobs. Why say a single word that could facilitate that?
I don't have to pay anything. The other insurance company said they would pay of ALL my bills. This is the biggest load of BS in the history of patient care! The same person who tells you that will later claim that every one of your injuries was pre existing. In Georgia, THE OTHER PARTY WILL NOT PAY BILLS AS YOU GO. When someone hits you, you get paid by settling or winning a lawsuit. There is no gray area here. This is why it's vital to carry med-pay. The injured party must take care of their own injuries and settle afterward.
Record keeping is critical. By choosing our office you will get an extremely comprehensive history, consult, and exam. All notes are recorded electronically and in great detail. I used to perform IME's (independent medical exams) for insurance companies. The majority of doctors do not document care as well as us. If your doctor carries around a "travel card" like you have in a health club, that isn't proper documentation.
Getting an attorney. We can refer you to one of many competent attorneys in the metro area. Our office is associated with many fine attorneys to whom we refer. There is one suggestion we would like to offer: Don't choose an attorney just because they are a friend of the family who normally does contract law, real estate law, etc. The attorney you choose to represent you should specialize in personal injury. Never choose an attorney simply because you saw a fancy billboard. A few of them are good, but some are not.
Liens - A lien is a signed contract that says we will not get paid until you sette your case. It's important to understand that a lien is not a contingency document. If something happens where you lose your case, you are still responsible for your bills. Our office will file a lien IF your attorney is willing to sign it AND someone else with coverage is clearly liable. It must be an attorney of whom we approve. What happens if you also need pain management, an MRI, or an orthopedic surgeon? Did you know almost no healthcare facilities will accept a lien in your case? If you allow me the honor of coordinating your care, I am networked with many exceptional surgeons, pain management doctors, orthopedists, and MRI clinics who will either accept a lien or who are afforded financing through our sources. The bottom line is that by choosing us, you may not ever have to worry about money throughout your case.
Uninsured / Underinsured motorist coverage and Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury. An absolute must. I've seen case after case when the victim was struck by an underinsured or uninsured motorist. The state minimum for liability insurance is only $25,000. If you are hurt and need surgery, it won't come close to taking care of you. Uninsured motorist coverage covers you when some cheap idiot doesn't pay attention and puts your life at risk.
Is your chiropractor willing to testify? Patients assume that their orthopedic surgeon will be more than happy to arrive at court and testify about the extent of their injuries. The vast majority will not do it. Most doctors will not even engage in depositions. A novice doctor would be very intimidated by the thought of testifying. We will assist you in every way possible.
My final tip is to buy a Dash Cam. It's a little camera that cost under $100. It records video as you drive. Every month I have patients involved in car accident cases when the liablity is in dispute. The other car maight have a few passengers serving as witnesses while you were by yourself. If they run a red light and hit you, their witnesses may say the light was green. Dash cams can keep other people from screwing you out of what you deserve and ruining your life.
Your first visit:
• Please bring a copy of the police report.
• If you had x-rays, call the facility that performed them and ask if they could burn a CD for you and arrange to pick it up before your first visit.
• Call YOUR OWN car insurance. Ask if you have Med-Pay? If yes, how much coverage? If yes tell them you want to file a MEDICAL claim. Bring us the claim number, adjuster name, phone number, and name of insurance company
• Bring your attorney name of firm, name of attorney, phone, address and fax.
• If you know the limits of liability from the at-fault party, please let us know.
• All the passengers riding in the car should be checked for injuries.
If you cannot secure all the items listed above, please don’t let it delay your first appointment at this office. It's more important to start the documentation process even if it means you can't get the x-rays from the emergency room visit. Procrastination is your enemy. We can get things like police reports and x-rays later if need be.
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